Experienced homeowners are fully aware houses must be built on strong foundations. While decorative shutters or a slate roof may provide curb appeal, both are inconsequential if the supporting infrastructure isn’t properly constructed. The same can be said for the digital façade companies put in place to win and retain customers. Premier digital customer experiences are those fully supported by highly reliable, secure, and high performing infrastructures.

As companies become increasingly reliant on flexible and agile IT systems, a digital transformation is sweeping the industry. Technology is now the true differentiator between anticipating and meeting customer needs – and failing to respond and losing market share. Reflected by the burgeoning ecosystem of digital tools and technologies, there are countless avenues to foster customer relationships – from mobile eCommerce and social media to real-time relationship management and eMarketing. And each one is absolutely critical to bolster the eCommerce experience.

Gartner Group predicts nearly 80 percent of all businesses will become or prepare to become fully digital by 2020. This means creating entirely new business designs that maximize the fully connected and integrated nature of business functions in the digital era. But the transition to an IT infrastructure capable of powering valuable digital customer experiences isn’t an easy one. That’s unfortunate considering businesses are estimated to lose about $41 billion annually due to poor customer service. That’s why so many are re-examining the state of core systems – from the foundational infrastructure to backup and recovery –  in an effort to align for digital success.

Even before selecting the best eCommerce and web content management platforms, digital success  begins with reliability and availability – as all critical applications must remain highly available and at peak performance. A suitable infrastructure prioritizes requirements of critical workloads, recognizes data security and compliance needs, and utilizes the most appropriate hybrid IT architecture for adequate security and rapid access. High performance and responsive scalability is just as critical – ensuring environments can quickly scale as demand spikes (such as during the holiday season). If a component of the environment goes down, a foundational back-up and recovery strategy and infrastructure can prevent data loss and guarantee service restoration with minimal lag.

Given the ever-present and changing threats of hackers and data vulnerability, no eCommerce strategy is complete without adequate security and compliance. Digital marketers and IT organizations are required to balance the implementation of adequate data security precautions while providing a fluid and enjoyable customer experience. The next-generation security infrastructure encompasses threat protection, as well as malware mitigation, dynamic firewalls and filtering.

But getting started on this journey isn’t easy. Burdened with outdated legacy systems, many just aren’t prepared to take the first step. For this reason, many organizations are teaming with partners capable of aligning for the future. There’s significant value in joining forces with a single provider with expertise to conceptualize, host, manage and scale both eCommerce and next-generation content management solutions.

With comprehensive application and infrastructure services like Cloud-Enabled Managed Hosting, companies can eliminate the high capital investment of infrastructure, while accelerating the time-to-market of eCommerce and web property innovations. By offloading management of the application and infrastructure layers, IT organizations can help drive innovation and be more responsive to strategic business deliverables.

Managed Security Services ensure resiliency of the environment with real-time monitoring and threat protection of the network, applications, and infrastructure layers. This dramatically minimizes both downtime and costly remediation of damage caused by complex security attacks and data breaches. In addition, it’s essential to leverage a certified environment that enables compliance with regulations relevant to your industry and types of data you manage (i.e. PCI DSS, HIPAA).

The digital façade is only as good as the foundation upon which your business is built. As the digital transformation continues to take place, a trusted partner can arm you with the tools necessary to make the journey. How strong is YOUR foundation? CenturyLink can lay the groundwork for success.

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