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    Last time, I introduced the idea of employing a software as a service (SaaS) customer communications management (CCM) approach to meet the critical customer experience challenges that lie ahead in the next few years for document professionals. In this post, I'd like to take a deeper dive into two important benefits for the enterprise of such an approach in the context of CCM—data security and scalability.

    Cloud computing deployments continue to grow as organizations seek to take advantage of the quick provisioning, reduced costs, scalability, and other benefits that are possible in a cloud environment. The popularity of the hybrid cloud was confirmed in a recent survey of more than 100 information technology (IT) and business executives by IDG Research Services, which found that 72% have either deployed or plan to deploy hybrid cloud solutions within 12 months.

    Security comes first
    One of the primary considerations for any organization servicing the business to consumer (B2C) space is maintaining the privacy and integrity of their customers' personally identifiable information (PII). Whether an industry is regulated or not, leakage or loss of customer data can have a significant impact on the brand, as it breaks a bond of trust with existing customers and establishes doubt with prospective ones. With the increased cost of new customer acquisition and the negative impact of customer churn, these are significant challenges. The financial impacts can be further felt by regulatory penalties associated with the breach of customer information.

    For organizations wanting to keep customer or other sensitive data behind their firewall, the hybrid cloud model offers a means to get the flexibility of the cloud and the security of keeping data protected on premise. SaaS hybrid cloud CCM solutions can address these concerns if designed so that customer data is only required when digital communications are being generated at an organization's premises or at its trusted print service provider. With this approach, business users can use the cloud component to manage all messaging content and rules and collaborate with one another to preview and approve content for use in production while the executable decision engine software and sensitive data remains within the organization's secure environment.

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    Once content and rules are approved for production by the business users, a set of files containing all approved messaging content and rule instructions can be processed by the decision engine and the organization's composition tools for production.

    Of course, consideration should be given to ensure the hybrid cloud provider aligns with any applicable compliance and regulatory standards and also provides secure connectivity and follows the organization's controls related to the access of customer data.

    Supporting scalability
    A SaaS approach of this kind is also well-suited for high-volume enterprise scale. The SaaS user interface can be designed to incorporate mechanisms for addressing large volumes of messaging content, including touchpoint variation models, shared content libraries, and other mechanisms that promote re-use.

    Additionally, it is possible for these solutions to include numerous database optimizations to ensure that the user interface remains highly responsive, even with large messaging volumes. Scalability can also be achieved with real-time increases in computing horsepower to existing systems as well as the ability to add additional virtual resources with load-balancing and clustering.

    Meeting needs across the organization
    SaaS hybrid cloud CCM solutions are one way to retain private customer data within an organization's (or their service provider’s) firewall while enabling an intuitive, high-scale interface for business users to own and manage messaging content throughout its life cycle. With increased consumer expectation for an omni-channel, real-time customer experience, the flexibility afforded by this approach can help an organization respond with agility to a changing CCM landscape.

    Nick Romano, P. Eng., is Co-Founder and CEO of Prinova, a provider of customer communications management software. He is an expert in the customer communication management space and on the design, successful implementation, and management of high-volume, enterprise-class customer touchpoint messaging strategies. Contact him at Follow Prinova on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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