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Can You Trust the Cloud? A Practical Guide to the Opportunities and Challenges of the Document 3.0 Era
Cloud computing is one of the hot topics of our day. And it deserves all the attention. Why? Because it has the potential to deliver a wide range of innovative services for the management of infrastructure, development platforms, software applications and complex business processes more efficiently and cost-effectively than ever before. It will also speed up the development of intelligent, proactive “next gen” documents, which will improve the productivity of Knowledge Workers around the world.
But several challenges must be addressed before the cloud becomes a widely accepted paradigm for computing. There are concerns about data security, privacy and regulatory compliance. Not to mention ongoing debate around public vs. private vs. hybrid clouds.
Nevertheless, cloud computing has become a dynamic force in the business world. And forward-thinking clients have discovered that the right approach to cloud-based services can help them improve the performance of their service offerings while lowering costs, creating a compelling competitive advantage.
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Today’s business realities:
The customer visits the company’s Web site, participates in an interactive Webcast, then clicks to place an IP voice call to get more information on the topic. The call arrives along with the customer’s file, so the account representative can greet the customer personally and has the information at hand to make an informed recommendation.
The busy executive has a cell phone, laptop, PDA, desktop PC and multiple email accounts, but he quickly accesses and manages messages from all those systems from within one Microsoft Outlook inbox, from anywhere.
Working on several virtual teams, the product manager juggles multiple roles and work locations, but she doesn’t miss any important calls, because she has dictated by day and hour exactly how incoming and outgoing communications should be handled.
In a few short decades, the world has been profoundly changed by communication technologies. Your employees, customers and suppliers have been profoundly changed by this transformation as well.
Chances are, many of them had computer chips in their crib toys, used PCs as toddlers, and became immersed in the Web in grade school. To them, texting, Twitter and teleconferences are as natural as face-to-face encounters. MySpace is real space, while “the office” is a virtual place.
The workplace might be an airplane seat one day, a trade show booth the next, and home or a Wi-Fi hot spot the next day. Business flows across desktop phones, mobile devices, PCs, laptops, Webcams and more. It is voice, video, text, images—and inventive convergences of all of these forms. It is interactive, broadcast, pushed, pulled, following and leading—in ways users expect to be able to choose and control.
We are living in a time when our nation and the world have been shaken by numerous businesses being probed for corporate improprieties such as wrongful accounting methods and records management fraud. It has become an almost current event to pick up the daily newspaper and read of another organization that has been accused of intentionally disposing critical business documents.
As a result, government agencies are developing new regulations for how organizations must manage their business content. These new regulations are compounding existing regulations defined by governing agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Department of Health and Human Safety (DHHS).
Customers, vendors, resellers, partners, and industry consultants in the technology, financial, banking and healthcare industries are coalescing in an effort to wrap their arms around the challenges for creating a 'best practices' approach to meeting regulatory compliance.
Many regulations are still in their infancy and we are seeing shifts in these regulations on almost a daily basis. However, the need to demonstrate regulatory compliance has escalated the need for essential IT solutions tohigh priority for many information technology professionals and corporations. This includes enterprise storage at the back end and Enterprise Content Management (ECM) on the front end, including the critical digital imaging and scanning components of an ECM solution.
A leading retail bank wasted time and money managing its own document infrastructure. Keen to outsource service provision, the bank sought a supplier capable of providing managed services on a global basis. Ricoh proved the perfect partner, implementing the structured programme through which the bank achieved dramatic improvements in operational efficiency.
One of the world’s leading retail banks, Ricoh’s customer has assets of more than 3 trillion and serves nearly 100 million customers worldwide. Customer centricity and operational excellence are key business drivers for the bank. Many non-core support services are outsourced to drive improvements in efficiency and facilitate increased customer focus.
The bank’s document infrastructure was managed at local level. Equipment had been supplied by different vendors under variable terms. Services were internally resourced and the bank was spending vast sums of money on print. Ricoh was engaged to transform the bank’s document infrastructure and provide managed services on a global basis.
Managed Document Services
Ricoh provides an end-to-end service, managing all aspects of the bank’s global document infrastructure from planning to implementation, ongoing support and optimisation. It is a holistic and supportive approach. With print provided as a managed service, the bank has been able to devote more resource to customer-centric activities.
Aligning the bank’s business objectives with its need for versatile and secure technology, Ricoh developed a standardised solution. The new technology has automated document workflows, improving business efficiency. Ricoh supports the document infrastructure, maintaining equipment and optimising services to meet changing needs.
Microsoft in partnership with the Fujitsu Center of Excellence offers this paper as a starting point for understanding how to approach development of a comprehensive cloud computing strategy. The retail enterprise IT environment serves all aspects of business operations including shopper engagement, product delivery and core business operations. To support the varied needs many retailers are embarking on a “hybrid” approach to delivering cloud services. This simply means mixing on premises service delivery with hosted or public service delivery to achieve the definition of an effective cloud computing environment.
Microsoft recognizes several driving forces behind retail cloud computing adoption. While there are many reasons why businesses might consider the cloud, our experience and research has shown 3 prevailing reasons:
- Improved IT and business agility
- Better economics
- Growing user expectations
From an economic point of view cloud computing is defined by how much of the infrastructure is managed by a cloud provider versus being managed by the retailer. The graphic below shows the 4 different approaches (vertical) to cloud computing: Private, IaaS, PaaS and SaaS. The horizontal portion of the graphic shows the layers that make up enterprise solutions and the mix of self-managed versus vendor managed responsibility; as it relates to the cloud approach. This offset is where the economic benefits of scale can be
VMware is increasingly prevalent in today’s business atmosphere. VMware customers need efficient, high performing, and reliable backup systems that are easily integrated into the vSphere environment. With increasing virtual machine (VM) count, keeping backup infrastructure costs under control can be challenging. HP StoreOnce Backup systems provide a disk-based data protection platform, while addressing data growth by applying HPStoreOnce deduplication software for efficient, longer term data retention.
The HP StoreOnce B6200 Backup system, the latest deduplication appliance in the HP StoreOnce product line, provides a unique combination of features, including industry-leading performance (up to 100 TB/hr), high-availability, and highcapacity making the HP StoreOnce B6200 Backup system the industry leader in the enterprise deduplication sector.
HP StoreOnce Catalyst software was developed to dramatically improve the performance, function, and integration of backup applications such as HP Data Protector. HP StoreOnce Catalyst delivers deduplication on an appliance server, media server, or dedicated appliance. Since it uses the same deduplication algorithm globally, data can be moved between Catalyst Stores on different platforms without rehydration. HP StoreOnce Catalyst allows better utilization of advanced, disk-based storage solutions while increasing efficiency and performance.
This document describes the benefits of using HP StoreOnce Backup systems combined with HP StoreOnce Catalyst software and HP Data Protector along with VMware vStorage APIs for Data protection (VADP) and Media agent in VM to backup VMware VMs. This document also recommends backup and recovery implementations.
Transportation Analytics: Driving Efficiency, Reducing Congestion, Getting People Where They Need To Go Faster
Driving efficiency, reducing congestion, getting people where they need to
Transportation—the effective movement of people and things—has long been critical to economies and qualities of life worldwide. Inefficiencies cost money, increase pollution-causing emissions and take time away from people’s lives. The problem is, the supply of transportation infrastructure grows more slowly than demand. Cars can be built more quickly than roads. Cities grow faster than highways can be expanded. Even if there were a limitless supply of money and personnel for road construction, many areas are already built out. That is why the transportation industry is turning to business analytics to find smarter ways to use the resources that exist, reduce congestion, and improve the travel experience. Just think of how monumental the impact would be if every person could get where he or she needed to go, or find a parking spot, five minutes faster each day.
Clearly, organizations that put to use their existing data are the ones that can uncover new ways to operate more efficiently and sustainably, and improve the quality of life for the people they serve.
Understanding the Trends
The transportation industry is no newcomer to the world of business analytics or the collection of data, but, until recently, the data sources were not connected. Transit executives could determine how many people took a bus or train on any given day, but didn’t know anything about the individual rider. Was this a regular route? Did he or she also drive a car on occasion? They didn’t have access to this type of information that could help improve route design or increase ridership levels. Each form of transportation operated within a standalone system, which made it difficult toachieve a big picture view.
Harnessing the Power of the Data Explosion
We live in a world transformed by data. The opportunities available to businesses and their customers for increased levels of engagement and understanding are exponential but at times overwhelming. Organizations struggling to harness this deluge of data can find themselves spending unnecessarily on duplicate mailings to the same household or missing opportunities to engage more cheaply and efficiently online. Customer experience may be hurt by brand inconsistency across channels and internal silos that impede resolution of service issues. And incremental revenue is often left on the table when cross-sell and upsell opportunities are either disconnected or poorly aimed.
For businesses operating in a regulated environment, the challenges of the data explosion are even more complex. Industries like financial services, telecommunications and healthcare must comply with ever increasing regulation, along with privacy and data protection laws that vary from one geography to the next. Disparate standalone databases and fragmented processes for creating and delivering content make managing compliance across a myriad of customer touchpoints both a significant and risky undertaking.
However, for progressive organizations, the pressures of regulatory compliance coupled with the challenges of today’s data overload can actually be a springboard to more effective multichannel communications.
The same single customer view (SCV) with cross-channel integration that enables the operational control and accuracy essential for compliance is also the key to effective, data-driven marketing. The benefits for businesses that execute well can include lower cost, improved revenue and increased customer satisfaction. With increased regulation now mandating standard operating procedures for many companies, some have posed that the ability to deliver an outstanding customer experience within regulatory constraints can actually become an important differentiator.
This will certainly be true in healthcare, where a perfect storm of regulation, pressure to cut costs and the need to control prices is forcing health insurers to look for new ways to interact with their members. And forthe telecom industry, where year-over-year churn can run as high as 30%, the ability to deliver a personalized experience across the consumer lifecycle—activation, billing, problem resolution—becomes critical to decreasing churn.
New Winning Strategies in Insurance
Integrated communications is a key lever for success in the insurance industry. The management of all forms of communications content and information is increasingly being viewed as a strategic business issue.
In fact, recent research indicates that insurers are investing in communications and content management to help drive top line growth*. The scope of what must be integrated continues to expand well beyond paper, and includes electronic and telephone-based content being exchanged through a variety of channels. Obviously, it is still important to run efficient operations and stay compliant, but there is a new level of appreciation for how the quality, availability, accuracy, and completeness of information can significantly impact relationships with customers, prospects, agents and brokers, and third party partners. It goes beyond documents and forms. Fully integrated communications encompasses all types of interactions that an insurance company has with others, especially the customer.
Customers and others expect personalized service delivered in a customized approach with tailored information. The standards for competing have changed and continue to change. Integrated communications is a major factor for building long-term strategic strength. The changing landscape of communications and customer expectations threatens some insurers – but creates new ways to win for those willing and able to grasp the opportunities, with greater rewards for those that act now.