The Approachable Cloud
This guest blog post is written by Geoff McCleary. Goeff is the VP and Group Director of Mobile Innovation at Digitas Health, consulting with key pharmaceutical clients on important marketing & policy issues across a number of fields including social media and emerging channels. In addition to these responsibilities, he is also a leading industry mobile marketing evangelist, advising internal teams and external clients on Mobile Marketing strategy and programs.
Every day I try to take a walk at lunch. Not too much, a mile or two to push my step count up for the day. Enough that my fitness-tracking band may see fit to reward me near the end of the day with a celebratory fanfare of blinking LED lights and a badge on my dashboard for a job well done.
During that walk, I invariably sync my data to my phone, check Facebook, or send out a tweet or two. On a rare occasion I may even check-in at a landmark or store I want to look up later when I have veered too far off course. When I do (pardon the geek moment here) I tend to look up and imagine all the bits and bytes of data zooming overhead into the virtual clouds for me to access later.
It’s tough not to take for granted, especially when it’s baked into so many of the services and apps we use today. With over 60% penetration of smartphones and tablet ownership rising higher every day, the need for multi-screen access is clear. In fact, it’s become such a standard in apps like Facebook, Twitter, Chrome, etc. that I actually take it as a personal affront when a service I use doesn’t provide it.
But that’s the enterprise. I should expect that from major global brands, right? I shouldn’t put that expectation on my client’s brands and properties; that is an enterprise issue. The sheer number of meetings we would need to have to discuss setting that up are prohibitive. Let alone actually deploying it. Right?
But now my client’s customers have an expectation. Provide a little info, enough to login, and now they can share, save, manage and modify content and experiences for convenient viewing when they want, on a screen (or two) of their choosing. Are enterprises turning away customers if they can’t provide this experience to them?
Mobile has brought a lot of changes to the world of brand marketing. Smaller screens — and in the case of tablets, slightly larger smaller screens — and an understanding that customers want to access information whenever they want, on whatever screen they have with them at that time. Not only do they want on-demand multi-screen access, but they want seamless resumable experiences that they can effortlessly continue when they put down one device and pick up another.
Nowhere is this more important than in healthcare. Our customers aren’t buying a product or consuming a good, they are in many cases, trying to save a life. This isn’t a one time visit experience. They seek information across multiple screens, across multiple visits, and they are building a library of information – mentally, digitally and in print. We don’t want to make them work harder; we want them to work more efficiently towards the right solution for their patients.
At any given time, a brand may have a site that supports disease-specific information, a more drug-focused site (both of which will have mobile and tablet versions) as well as an app for patients already using the drug. In addition, the brand will have information for physicians across multiple screens, and may even have an interface for physicians and patients to share information together in the exam room. These screens need to talk, learn and share with each other in preparation for the next visit.
But to do this we need a singular identity and sign-on for each of our participants, we need a system that can associate that identity with all forms of content and past/present/future interactions across multiple properties. We also need the tools that can collect and manage the data generated by all of the unique interactions between these personal and digital constituents and can enable the tools that we need to better understand daily interactions. And we need it for individual brands.
Not some massive infrastructure project that takes years to get off the ground and is a one size fits all solution. Not some custom work for hire solution that requires precise configuration for even a chance at success.
We need something that is implementable and intuitive, that powers engagement and understanding. We need something so powerful and scalable, yet so easy to implement and manage.
We need an approachable cloud.
A cloud that comes out of the box and is ready to deploy with little configuration, a cloud that can be plugged into properties both old and new, a cloud that can work with hundreds of APIs and plugins but can be deployed by a single brand.
The cost of creating something like this in house can be a daunting expense of resources, time and money. Many of the enterprise solutions are rather complex to set up, require significant investment to maintain, and are not easily deployed or integrated with existing client data. And on top of that, none of them understood even the basics of compliance let alone something as complex as healthcare’s HIPAA regulations.
Our partnership with CloudMine has provided Digitas Health with the solution to these challenges and more. CloudMine’s offering has been essential to our realization of an Approachable Cloud, and our ever-evolving multi-screen/mobile cloud strategy and services.