There are four important forces impacting the world of applications today:
Digital engagement is more important than ever. It seems every organization is investing in what Forrester Research calls “Systems of Engagement” yet it is harder than ever to innovate on legacy back-end systems. Today technology buyers go through 70 percent of the purchase process before they even speak to a salesperson. This means websites oftentimes play a bigger role than salespeople in terms of producing revenue. Online retail continues to grow, and B2B commerce is a priority for many companies that relied on their channel to meet their revenue goals. The problems with the HealthCare.gov website illustrate how important online interactions are today.
Mobility and n-tier presentation layers. We don’t need to talk about the importance of mobile applications today. ”Mobile first” is a good rallying cry, but it is limited in that applications need to have desktop, mobile and tablet displays. The line between these three formats has blurred. It’s like the political divisions we see in maps: they don’t exist in reality. Responsive design is one way to solve this. And yet, many systems of engagement will have loosely coupled presentation layers; from RSS feeds to APIs and service oriented architectures. The question around mobile is not if, it is how.
Decision making is moving from CIOs to CMOs. Gartner Research forecasts that in a few years CMOs will spend more on technology than CIOs. Some pundits advocate a new role for modern organizations: the Chief Marketing Technologist that merges both disciplines. Marketing is being held accountable not only for revenue influence but also for overall customer experience and digital engagement. Marketers, advised by modern agencies turned integrators, are making decisions on these platforms. IT departments are playing support roles in many cases, and in others they are left with “traditional” IT while these systems are outsourced.
Digital engagement is becoming more complex. The landscape of digital technologies is becoming a maze; from traditional systems like content management, CRM and marketing automation platforms to new tools that marketers must dominate such as SEO and landing page optimization tools, social listening and engagement, content planning and content marketing. Integration between these systems is challenging to nearly impossible. Research points out 30 percent of all digital marketers are looking to re-platform in any given year – but it is a daunting task.
What does this mean for you?
Recognizing these four changes, Rackspace has created a new team that brings together the experience we have built over the last 14 years supporting the digital engagement platforms for some of the world’s leading brands. This new initiative is called Rackspace Digital. You can think of this initiative like a practice team in a consulting company: it is about expertise and best practices.
It is not really something new for the company. Rackspace has been the leading hosting provider for the top retailers in the US for three years in a row. We host thousands upon thousands of WordPress, Drupal and Magento sites. And we have years of experience working hand and hand with digital agencies and high-end software applications.
What is new, then?
This initiative brings a stronger commitment to supporting digital initiatives. You will be able to work with a dedicated team of specialists that understands content, commerce and mobile platforms. We are investing in reference architectures, guidance and support for commerce platforms like Magento, Oracle (ATG) and Hybris and for content management systems including WordPress, Drupal, Sitecore, Ektron, Adobe Experience Manager and others.
We are making it easier for you to build a test platform, proof of concept or deployment site right from the Cloud Control Panel. It takes a few clicks and just a few minutes to have a production-ready content or commerce site.
Our customers enjoy specialist support and application-specific configuration, monitoring, optimization and troubleshooting. Today we offer Critical Application Service and support with a 100 percent application platform uptime guarantee for Adobe EM and Oracle Commerce, and we are adding more platforms later this year.
An important part of Fanatical Support is access to Rackspace specialists, usually at no extra cost. Anyone interested in building infrastructure for these digital engagement platforms has access to a team that architects, deploys, configures, optimizes and troubleshoots them for a living.
Last but not least, we’re building a stronger commitment to our partners, including software platform partners, system integrators and agencies including Razorfish, Huge, Acquity, Amplify, Digitas, MRM, Gorilla, Sapient Nitro and many more. The goal is to work closer together to assume joint accountability for the success of digital projects for our mutual customers.
This is an exciting day for Rackspace and for you. We are taking Fanatical Support a couple notches up the stack. We are the specialists in hosting for your digital engagement platforms, and we are ready to help you.
Want to learn more about Rackspace Digital? Come see us at SXSW Interactive in Austin (booth No. 601) for a series of in-booth talks and more.