American cloud-based technology provider LivePerson announced on Thursday morning its intention to open two datacentres in Australia, motivated by the desire of its customer base to keep data onshore.
A primary datacentre located in Sydney will serve as a hub for APAC customers, including Australia's big four banks, Telstra, Qantas, and Medibank; whilst a second datacentre in Melbourne will provide back-up and redundancy.
LivePerson APAC regional director Steven Fitzjohn told ZDNet the motivation to open the Australian datacentres was driven by the company's existing customer base.
"There's no law saying you have to have your data hosted locally, but for example, in the financial services sector, it's very sensitive and there was quite a push to host it locally," Fitzjohn said. "We invest in the highest level of data security to ensure that client and consumer data is stored responsibly."
As a lot of companies rely on their reputation, Fitzjohn said disclosure on behalf of the brand has a big part to play.
"If a brand can disclose its data is being stored onshore, it gives comfort to the consumer; privacy is very important," he said.
LivePerson now has a total of six datacentre facilities across the globe. Its other facilities are located in London, Amsterdam, and the United States.
Fitzjohn said whilst the Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, National Australia Bank, and ANZ Banking Group are in the same product and services space, he has found each one has a different "customer-focused" path.
"Generally speaking, they want to assist consumers with their digital journeys, be that on a local app, or website. Really, it's about understanding what problems consumers are having and then allowing them to stay within the digital channel, rather than forcing them to pick up a phone and change the channel where they've then got to explain to a staff member what the problems are.
"If you can allow consumers to address those problems while they're in the digital channel, it is a much better experience."
Fitzjohn said the intention is to help a company use its staff capacity more efficiently, using chat and other additional digital channels to have staff handling three or four consumers concurrently, rather than just one via phone.
"A company's limitation is its capacity of staff, they're able to help more customers with the staff they have, and reduce their costs as well," he said. "The side effect of that, though, is it's changing the dynamic as to how staff is used in the context."
Fitzjohn said LivePerson performed a survey and found 90 percent of the time consumers want to communicate with businesses in the same way they do with friends and family, using SMS, Facebook, or any other digital means.
"There's a big lag here, and suppliers are struggling to offer this type of channel to their consumers."
With a growing APAC customer base, Fitzjohn hopes having a local datacentre will bolster LivePerson's reach into state and federal government sectors, highlighting Australia's "booming" digital economy as another driving force behind extending infrastructure investment in the region.
"With figures from a recent Deloitte report valuing Australia's digital economy at $AU79 billion -- or 5.1 percent of Australia's total gross domestic product -- we believe the market is ripe for this kind of investment," he said.
In October last year, LivePerson was ranked eight on the Skyhigh list of top 20 cloud services used by enterprises. The NASDAQ-listed company was beaten by Microsoft 365, Salesforce, and Cisco WebEx, with Amazon Web Services taking the top spot.