Multi-channel Communication via the Cloud is Essential to Digital Success

To succeed in business, it is crucial that all the information you exchange with customers and suppliers be of the highest quality and always up-to-date. By consolidating business communication and bundling it across all channels, critical processes are executed at faster speeds. Cloud Messaging Services are an ideal solution, as they allow you to send and receive business documents and customer information – as a fax, email or SMS. Users benefit from maximum transmission security and availability, highly scalable transmission capacities as well as utmost transparency. At the same time, valuable information and sensitive data stay where they belong: Safe and secure within your company.

No matter whether it’s about offers, orders, customer or delivery documents, alerts, invoices or transport requests, efficient business processes, as well as smooth and transparent electronic communications, are crucial to the success of any business. Yet, in many companies, the business communication takes place via decentralised infrastructures, inflexible solutions or outdated equipment. In most cases this proves to be cost and maintenance intensive, requires a huge amount of administrative effort and fail-safety are frequently lacking. Furthermore, fax servers have limited capacities, meaning that companies are not able to react accordingly when fax volumes change, especially during peak times, and the reliable and speedy processing of high data volumes is therefore impossible. At times of low demand, by contrast, overcapacity unnecessarily eat into the budget.

Companies increasingly changing over to cloud communications services

In order to accelerate the processes already located in the cloud, companies are now seeing value in moving their business communication to the cloud, such as the fourth largest back in Germany, DZ BANK AG. The bank is using cloud messaging services for its electronic communications to ensure secure, professional email transmission, SMS authentication as well as for fax communication.

[easy-tweet tweet=”Companies are now seeing value in moving their business communication to the cloud” hashtags=”Cloud,Communication”]

Modern providers offer for this reason purpose-built cloud messaging services. These allow companies to bundle and consolidate communication processes across all channels and send data and messages directly from their systems. Certified cloud messaging services enable information to be smoothly transmitted via fax, email, SMS and EDI. Furthermore, they offer the highest levels of fail-safety and transaction security. In contrast to on-premise systems, these services can be individually adapted to meet the most diverse customer requirements. At the same time, they are scalable to ensure that users can always react flexibly to new requirements, while servers and backup infrastructures are substantially unburdened. The exchange of at an international level is greatly simplified by using cloud messaging services. The documents are displayed correctly in all languages, providing global, multi-location activities with optimal levels of control and supervision.

For DZ Bank, having this robust, error-free transmission of sensitive data that met the compliance with regulatory guidelines was a critical factor. When it comes to multichannel communications, the bank’s cloud fax solutions are used in the trading of securities where it is essential that there is legal proof that the documents have been delivered. The emergency plan for the ordering process is also managed by means of a connection to Retarus’ fax infrastructure. In addition, Retarus’ Managed SMS Services ensure the secure and speedy authentication of bank staff in the IT systems. The passwords (tokens) are delivered via SMS to the users directly, within a few seconds. The bank moreover uses the web-based, multichannel messaging platform Retarus WebExpress to notify a huge amount of recipients about important developments in the context of investor or public relations in a timely and secure manner by means of email, fax and SMS.

Process optimisation through direct connection

With a direct connection to infrastructure to the respective service provider, it is not only possible to provide automated direct debit pre-notifications and break down bookings into individual items or transmit time-critical orders, invoices or transport requests quickly and reliably. It is also possible to communicate with end customers, for example via SMS, without much cost or effort in order to notify them of delivery status, provide booking and order confirmations, conduct product recalls or send late payment reminders. This requires no additional investment in hardware, software, maintenance, licenses or telecommunication lines. All that is required is an IP connection with the service provider – at Retarus the connection is completed in no time at all via e.g. the SAP-certified interfaces RFC and BC-SMTP. Documents are then transmitted by email, fax, SMS or EDI directly via the service provider’s infrastructure.

Guaranteed Delivery Rates

Special features, such as Retarus’ “NeverBusy Technology” prevent capacity bottlenecks at times of peak usage, enabling companies to reliably send large fax volumes even to recipients which have smaller-dimensioned fax infrastructures. When sending two fax messages simultaneously to the same number, the line is usually busy, meaning that the transmission needs to be repeated. In practice, despite automated repeat mechanisms many message transmissions fail. However, when using Retarus’ NeverBusy Technology messages that need to be transmitted to the same number are automatically sent shortly after each other. In addition, the transmission status of the documents is automatically reported directly back into the SAP system, ensuring that potential delays are recognised speedily.

[easy-tweet tweet=”Concerns about security are the biggest obstacles preventing cloud services being used ” hashtags=”Security, Cloud”]

Security in focus

Concerns about security remain the biggest obstacles preventing cloud services from being used even more commonly. According to the German Association for Information Technology, Telecommunications and New Media (BITKOM), 60 percent of the companies surveyed in BITKOM’s Cloud Monitor report stated that they fear unauthorised access to sensitive business information. Approximately 40 percent are concerned about losing data, while about 35 percent have legal reservations regarding the cloud. However, cloud services are actually not any less secure than an in-house infrastructure. On the contrary, an increasing number of service providers are consciously investing in the security of their products even contractually guaranteeing it in service level agreements (SLA). Companies which choose to use cloud messaging services should, therefore, make sure that they are well informed about the respective service provider.

Sector specific maximum security is was essential for DZ Bank when selecting its communications provider. Among others, the guidelines set by the German financial regulator BaFin (Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht) such as MaRisk (Minimum Requirements for Risk Management) security and compliance reasons, it was also important for DZ BANK to have contractually binding assurance that processing takes place at Retarus’ own data centres located in Germany.

Local data processing according to applicable laws

The location of the data centres and the transparency offered by the various services should play an important role in deciding in favour of a particular service provider. This is essential, as many international service providers save the data that has been entrusted to them in the cloud, without specifying exactly where the data is located. But especially for internationally active companies, it is essential that they are able to comply with the regulations applicable in the countries where their branch offices are located. To ensure better risk assessment and minimise danger the provider should, therefore, offer its customers complete control over the processing of their data. Reputable service providers give their customers the choice to decide for themselves where and according to which laws and regulations their data is handled. Retarus’ customers, for instance, can gain binding assurance whether their data is processed in Retarus’ data centres in Europe, Asia or the US. Specific data processing requirements of branch offices in different countries can be easily agreed upon in one single contract.

Secure business communications via SNC

It is equally important to protect business-critical or personal data which is exchanged with colleagues, customers and suppliers from unauthorised access. By using Secure Network Communications (SNC) companies can efficiently secure the communication coming out of their SAP systems. For many enterprises – particularly those in the finance sector – this is actually a mandatory requirement for all SAP connections with external systems. That’s why messaging service providers specialising in SAP systems furthermore support connections via SNC. As a part of the SAP Netweaver system architecture, the software layer facilitates the use of strong authentication as well as encryption, making it a reliable alternative to VPN. While firewall specialists are usually required when setting up conventional VPN connections, SAP specialists can install SNC independently.

Transparency thanks to pay-per-use model

In the best case, the provider will additionally offer a web-based, intuitive-to-use administration portal, which provides customers unlimited control over the processing of their data. The portal should make reports and analyses available, which allow a detailed overview of the company’s communications and the services performed by the provider at all times. In this way, it is possible to quickly detect erroneous addresses and consequently improve the quality of the master data. The rising costs should ideally be precisely assigned to specific cost centres, while cost and efforts should always be determined by the current demand. In this way, companies are free to focus on their core competencies, still being able to react flexibly to new requirements.

Conor McGrath is responsible for fostering and expanding business relationships in the UK and Ireland, as well as intensifying the cooperation with existing customers. Prior to joining Retarus he was responsible, amongst other things, for new international business as Vice President Sales Transformation at Nomura Bank International Plc. Prior to that, Conor held various leadership positions over many years at British Telecom. His career experience also includes positions at ITC companies such as Siemens, Fujitsu and Northern Telecom.

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