The Need for Customer Experience is Based on Science Not Myth

The need for customer experience to improve is not a myth. In fact, here’s why. Noted psychology researcher and writer Mihaly Csíkszentmihályi observed in 1998 that people who perform seamless, sequence-based activities on a regular basis are happier than people who don’t[i]. He coined the term “flow” to describe this behavior. With the advent of CoIT, we’ve actually imposed a new set of demands on our customer’s brains. But instead of offering a series of smoothly sequential flows, websites and mobile applications are characterized by lag, downtime, and restarts. And at the same time customer’s flow-oriented brains simply aren’t wired to deal with poor digital experience interactions. Science has shown the business need for great customer experiences is a fact, not a myth.

And it can be tempting to label customers picky and impatient. But there’s a wealth of research on what happens to customers at a neurological level when they are forced to deal with slow or interrupted processes.[i] Their impatience is an indelible part of their human circuitry. Brands must recognize that customers’ hardwiring of the brain’s and their neurological desire for flow and easy of use as part of the cost of doing business. Companies must come to terms with the economic imperative of the customer experience or drive customers to their competitors because of their poor focus on customer experiences.

Fast websites and mobile experience create happier users. Those happier users are more likely to follow “calls to action” to register, download, subscribe, request information, or purchase. Unhappy users, which could include those who experience a mere two-second slowdown in how a web page loads, make almost two percent fewer queries, three point seven-five percent click less often, and report being significantly less satisfied with their overall experience[i]. Worse, they tell their friends about their negative experience. With the word-of-mouth social networks provide, brands need to heed the seriousness of differentiating their brand’s customer experience or be left in the dust.

Response Times have been consistent for 45 years. Based on neuroscience, the facts about human perception and response times have been consistent for more than forty-five years[i]. In fact, these numbers are hard-wired in human brains. And they are consistent regardless of the type of device, application, or connection a customer is using. In fact, that’s key to where customer expectations come from thus important to capitalize on. And what’s critical is determining where a brand’ web / mobile sites compare to customer expectations as well as benchmarking against CoIT applications or competitors or even non-competitors who have a great customer experience.

Response Time Has Not changed Much. In Robert B. Miller’s 1968 paper, “Response Time in Man-Computer Conversational Transactions[ii]“, found people have always been most comfortable, most efficient and most productive with response times of less than two seconds. Since 2006, what has changed slightly is the average online shopper expects pages to load in four seconds or less. Today, forty-nine percent expect page load times of two seconds or less, and eighteen percent expect pages to load instantly[iii]. And while optimizing every aspect of a brand’s digital assets to meet an “instant” expectation is a laudable goal, organizations simply may not have initially budgeted the resources to achieve these goals. Digital experience maturity, however, provides teams the ability to identify the interaction points in the digital customer journey most sensitive to improvement so they can maximize return on performance investment and include this in the budget and resource planning activities. Here’s the results of the Walmart study on page load times and conversion rates:

Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 10.11.29 AM

Businesses can keep arguing that customer experience doesn’t matter, it’s a touchy-feely construct or get it directly affects the bottom-line and start by designing and measuring customer experience performance management. For more on this see my report, here.

@drnatalie petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst

Covering Customer-Facing Applications


[ii]Robert B. Miller’s 1968 paper, “Response Time in Man-Computer Conversational Transactions,



[i]Dual-task interference in simple tasks: Data and theory. Pashler, Harold Psychological Bulletin, Vol. 116(2), Sep 1994, 220-244.

[i] The Concept of Flow: Handbook of Positive Psychology, Nakamura, J. and Csikszentmihayi, M. 2002.


Dr. Natalie’s Research Agenda and Published Research

If you are wondering what I have been up to lately, I thought I would put all the research I have published  into one place. Here’s a list of Dr. Natalie’s completed and published research and soon to be published content! It ranges from IOT, Analytics, Big Data, Customer Experience, Leadership, Organizational Change Management, Storytelling, Collaboration, Digital Transformation, Social Selling, Social Media, the Cloud, Marketing, Sales, SaaS, IaaS, PaaS, DaaS, AI, Machine Learning, Innovation, Social Networks, Social Media Monitoring, Mobile, Customer Service and Customer Success Management….and a few things in-between…

IOT (The Internet of Things), Innovation, AI, Machine Learning, Analytics and the Cloud

• The Algorithm of You: How IoT Transforms and Differentiates Customer Experience: Using the Internet of Things to Boost Revenue and Deliver a Brand’s Personalized Promise

• Digital Disruption: The Blind Spot That Could Sink Your IoT and CX Initiatives

• The Internet of Things Improves Customer Experience in Retail Supply Chain

• The As-a-Service Economy: CX and IOT Mean You Have to Deliver Great Experiences- Upcoming

• Customer Experience IOT in the Automotive Industry-Upcoming


Digital Transformation: Customer Engagement, CRM, Innovation, Customer Experience, Customer Service, The Cloud and Analytics

• ROI Of Customer Service & Customer Experience

• How to Measure Customer Experience: Performance Management Maturity-Upcoming

• Case Study: Elaine Turner® Brand and Oracle Commerce, Marketing and Customer Service-Upcoming

• The Need for Inspiring Leaders to Orchestrate Customer Experience Initiatives-Upcoming

• Experience Management: How to Deliver Integrated Customer Experiences

• How Rackspace Creates the Next-Generation Customer Experience

• The ROI Of Agile Customer Care: Reduce Training and Easy To Add Channels

• Digital Imperatives for Omni-Channel Retail Customer Experiences

• Nine Pillar Of Successful Self-Service for Digital Customer Engagement

• 6 Pillars of e-commerce Customer Engagement

• 9 C’s of Customer Engagement – Delivery and Communication Styles: Channels, Content and Cadence

• 9 C’s of Customer Engagement – People Centric Values: External & Internal Culture, Community, Credibility

• 9 C’s of Customer Engagement – Right Time Drivers: Context, Catalysts, Currency

• How Delta Uses Microsoft Dynamics and Avanade to Create Next-Generation Customer Experiences

• How Microsoft Dynamics CRM Improves Productivity at Trek Bicycle

• Delta Uses Microsoft to Transform Flight Operations and the Customer Experience

• New Belgium Brewing Creates Great Customer Experiences Using Microsoft Dynamics

• Beyond Journey Maps, Delivering Mass Personalization at Scale

• The State of Customer Service and Support Evolves 


Social Media, Customer Service, CRM, Analytics, Innovation and the Cloud

• How General Motors Using Social Media To Listen To Customers and Sell Cars and Deliver Service

• The ROI of Online Communities: Online Communities Provide Value Beyond Call Deflection

• Why Top Marketers Create Branded Social Networks for Customer Engagement

• The State of Customer Service and Support Evolves 

• ROI of Social Customer Service- Upcoming

• The Customer Service Playbook for Integration of Traditional, Digital, Social and Mobile Customer Service Strategies and Technologies-Upcoming

• Mobile Customer Service-Upcoming


Digital Marketing, Analytics, Innovation and the Cloud

• Should the Chief Marketing Officer Oversee the Whole Customer Experience?

• Data-Driven Marketing Campaign Optimization

• VentureBeat: Should the CMO Run the Whole Customer Experience?

• Executive Brief: Can Brands Keep Their Promise?

• Oracle Moves Its Focus from the CIO to the CMO

• How to Staff the Team for Effective Content Marketing

• The State of Marketing 

• Marketing Funnels Are Dead, What’s Next?


Digital and Social Sales; Commerce, Innovation, Analytics and the Cloud

• How Sales Leaders and Sales Reps Can Create a Social Selling Organization: Convert Average Sales Teams into Top Performers Using Social Networks

• Five Approaches to Drive Customer Loyalty in a Digital World

• The Modern Sales Experience

• Continuity of Customer Experiences Drives the Future of Commerce


Customer Success Management, Analytics, Innovation and the Cloud

• The State of Customer Success Management

• Gainsight: Customer Success Management for a Post-Sale, On-Demand, Attention Economy

• ServiceSource: Customer Success Management for a Post-Sale, On-Demand, Attention Economy

• Bluenose: Customer Success Management for a Post-Sale, On-Demand, Attention Economy

• Totango: Customer Success Management for a Post-Sale, On-Demand, Attention Economy


If you are interested in learning about any of these reports or research, a speech or webinar on any of these or related topics, please reach out to me here!

@DrNatalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Covering Innovative, Customer-Facing Applications that Create Great Customer Experiences








I’m Judging the SuperNova Awards: Make Sure to Submit Your Case Study

I’m judging the 2016 Constellation SuperNova Awards! Every year the Constellation SuperNova Awards recognize individuals for their leadership in digital business. Nominate yourself or someone you know before August 8, 2016.

About the SuperNova Awards
The SuperNova Awards honor leaders that demonstrate excellence in the application and adoption of new and emerging technologies. In its sixth year, the Constellation SuperNova Awards will recognize individuals who demonstrate leadership in nine categories:
•  Internet of Things – A network of smart objects enables smart services. (sensors, smart ‘things’, device to purchase, artificial intelligence)
•  Data to Decisions – Using data to make informed business decisions. (big data, predictive analytics)
•  Digital Marketing Transformation – Personalized, data-driven digital marketing.
•  Future of Work: Social Business – The technologies enabling teams to work together efficiently. (enterprise social networks, collaboration, digital assistants)
•  Future of Work: Human Capital Management – Enabling your organization to utilize your workforce as an asset.  (talent management, benefits, HR core)
•  Matrix Commerce – Commerce responds to changing realities from the supply chain to the storefront. (digital retail, supply chain, payments, ‘ubiquitous-channel’ retail)
•  Next Generation Customer Experience – Customers in the digital age demand seamless service throughout all lifecycle stages and across all channels.  (crm, customer experience)
•  Safety and Privacy – Strategies to secure sensitive data (blockchain, digital identity, authentication)
•  Technology Optimization & Innovation – Innovative methods to balance innovation and IT budgets. (innovation in the cloud, ENSW cost savings, cloud ERP, efficient app production)
The SuperNova Awards are seeking leaders and teams who have innovatively applied disruptive technolgies to their business models as a means of adapting to the rapidly-changing digital business environment. If you have what it takes to compete in the SuperNova Awards submit your application today:
If you are doing something really interesting, make sure to send in your case study! It’s your time to be recognized for your hard work!
@DrNatalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research
Covering Customer Facing Applications that Drive Awesome Customer Experience

From The Field: Adobe Conference 2016: Data as a Disrupter Report

Data as a Disrupter: The Adobe Summit was fantastic. The opening keynotes gave us insight into some of the new products and innovations. What’s clear is that digital disruption means taking all the data that can be collected about customers, using that voice of the customer data and making better business decisions. The idea of “know me,” “respect me,” and “speak in one voice” all create the experience.

Disrupting the Enterprise Adobe Summit know and respect me speak in one voice

The keynotes were all about fearless and breaking what you thought you knew and to reconstruct the truth about your products and services by using data as a digital disputer. Data is a way to connect to your audience, experiment with new content, stop doing the things that don’t work, appreciate your segments and the changing set list, being able to do all of this yourself and working pretty darn close to real-time, if not real-time. Be FEARLESS. This is not something easy for corporate cultures. It takes guts and being fearless. And Adobe announced the ability to help you learn the skills (if you don’t have them yet) to be able to data to work for you.

Develop mad skills

data as a disruptor







The Adobe Platform offers businesses the ability to connect the front and back offices, so key to making the customer experience actually work.

Adobe Platform

connecting the front and back office adobe summit

How Is The Data Being Applied? We got to listen to several company’s stories of digital transformation. Mattel, REI, Delta, Cirque Du Soleil, Comedy Central and Dunkin’ Donuts to mention just a few.  Here’s some highlights:

Mattel realized the world of play was changing as digital has become part of play. As a result, they had the guts to look at how they were doing business and discern what was working and what was not. This is very brave and not the norm in most corporate cultures, but it is certainly the key to the future of success. My fear is most companies will become dinosaurs and become extinct before they realize this is the roadmap to future business success.

The conference showed how Adobe is helping brands differentiate by driving excellent customer experiences. This has never been more important than ever.

@DrNatalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Covering Customer-Facing Applications that Drive Awesome Customer Experiences and Revenue




SOASTA Ushers in New Era of Innovation in Digital Performance Management

SOASTA, a leader in performance analytics, announced the Winter 2016 release of its Digital Performance Management (DPM) Platform. The new release introduces a series of enhancements and services to help digital businesses meet the growing demand for the ultimate measure of performance – the customer experience.

“We’re in the era of Digital Performance Management, and it requires a new mind set, with new solutions designed to deliver great user experiences. Companies that fail to keep up with the demands of online consumers will deliver lousy customer experiences and, as a result, will not thrive,” warned SOASTA CEO Tom Lounibos. “Websites and mobile applications need to be improved and optimized constantly, and that requires modern-day DPM technologies and skills.”

This product announcement is part of a broader SOASTA strategy that to empowers digital businesses by giving them the contextual intelligence they need to maximize performance and revenue – in real time and at scale. Digital Performance Management is the evolutionary next step from traditional Application Performance Management (APM). Fueled by the DevOps philosophy and Agile methodology, DPM is a data-centric approach to performance management in which web and mobile applications are continuously measured, tested and optimized to deliver the best possible user experience and business outcome.

The SOASTA DPM platform enables continuous measurement and improvement of digital performance – starting with an understanding of real users and combining that with the ability to predict and prevent performance and functionality issues before they occur. SOASTA’s DPM platform is designed to offer monitoring, testing and optimization capabilities to ensure continuous delivery of peak performance.

“We are significantly enhancing the SOASTA DPM platform, extending the capabilities of the number one cloud testing platform in the world with this release,” said Lounibos. “It perfectly illustrates our ‘monitor-test-optimize’ approach to continuous performance management and maximizing digital performance and, accordingly, revenue.”

The SOASTA platform consists of five key technologies – mPulse, CloudTest, TouchTest, Digital Operations Center (DOC) and Data Science Workbench – working in concert to provide continuous performance delivery. Enhancements to two of these technologies, mPulse and CloudTest, are the highlights of the Winter 2016 release.

mPulse real user monitoring (RUM) collects and analyzes 100% of the front-end performance data from every web and mobile user and correlates this data with critical business metrics – all in real time. As a result, the site owner always has a clear view of what’s working, what isn’t, and what to do next.

CloudTest provides a powerful, flexible and affordable platform for continuous load testing – including real-time analytics, a visual test creation environment, dynamic test- grid provisioning and the ability to pause and restart tests in production.

“With this new release, we are delivering better DevOps, improved agility and optimal business performance,” Lounibos explained, “with a greater emphasis on ease of onboarding, implementation and use.”

The new SOASTA mPulse enhancements make Big Data insights easy to visualize, access and share. mPulse democratizes insights about aggregated end user experiences, making performance analytics available to all. Instead of siloing information within groups, SOASTA mPulse with embedded Data Science Workbench reports help enterprises isolate issues, triage performance problems, and make decisions based on a better understanding of the customer.

The most notable benefits of the Winter 2016 release are DevOps productivity enhancements, with unlimited alerts to easy “exception management,” fully integrated with popular tools such as PagerDuty and Slack. This enables DevOps teams to better manage workflows and respond to and resolve incidents faster, while dramatically improving productivity.

The SOASTA CloudTest load and performance testing technology now extends its support of continuous performance testing with SOASTA’s patented cloud provisioning system, accessible from continuous integration environments. The release delivers several significant new capabilities, including:

• Native service level agreement (SLA) support for comparing results against baseline quality requirements
• Faster provisioning and support for SOASTA partners, including AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google and Rackspace
• Integration with popular Continuous Integration (CI) automation tools such as Jenkins, Atlassian Bamboo and Microsoft Visual Studio • • • Online and the ability to script starting and stopping load generators in the SOASTA cloud for “hands-off” performance testing

“SOASTA’s approach to DPM allows us to continuously measure and improve our digital experience. The integration between these tools helps us see how our real users are doing and take action before issues arise,” said James Erb, UI consultant and Sephora mobile technology director. “We have found ways to improve client-side performance time by over 20% as a result of having SOASTA’s solution in place.”

“Effective analytics across mobile, web and other environments are essential to optimizing performance and enabling successful DevOps execution,” said Melinda Ballou, program director for IDC’s Application Lifecycle Management & Executive Strategies Service. “Automation and insight across a broad portfolio such as SOASTA’s – coupled with appropriate process and organizational strategies – are key to visibility and support for digital transformation with quality software delivery.

SOASTA DPM Platform is available immediately with offerings that include SOASTA CloudTest™ for integrated load testing, SOASTA mPulse™ for real user monitoring, SOASTA TouchTest™ for mobile performance and functional test automation, SOASTA Data Science Workbench for advanced performance analytics, SOASTA DOC™ for unified presentation of all aspects of digital performance, and installation and consulting services. For more information about the SOASTA DPM Platform, please visit:

@drnatalie petouhoff
covering customer experience and performance management


Honorees Announced for the 2016 Marketing Hall of Femme!

Direct Marketing News is honored to announce the 2016 Honorees to the Marketing Hall of Femme! These incredible women have storied careers, take risks, and push the industry and their companies forward with their edgy marketing strategies. On April 8, 2016, we’re celebrating all of their outstanding achievements and more.

New this year, the event features a Leadership Summit in addition to the Awards Luncheon. Attendees will meet the 2016 Leading Ladies, hear the first-person narratives behind their success stories, and attend educational sessions that explore the challenging yet rewarding roles of female leaders in the marketing industry today.

Introducing 2016’s most influential women in marketing:

marketing2 marketing marketing3

Learn more about the inspirational event that is the Marketing Hall of Femme:
Click here to read about previous years’ honorees and keynote speakers, view video interviews, and more.

My POV: Of course it would be to say that we need more women in technology. That’s it. I will keep it simple. And to congratulation all the amazing women named here and that work in the world of technology every day! You are my heros.

@DrNatalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research
Covering Cloud and IoT That Drive Better Business Results and Awesome Customer Experiences

Adobe and Google Partner to Create a Better Mobile Experience

What is the mission of Adobe?  To change the world through digital experiences.  The pace of change in how consumers engage with content is accelerating. So their mission is more relevant than it has ever been before. Consumers expect to connect with content immediately no matter where they are or what they are doing. In the personal, always-connected mobile world we now live in, the inability to deliver the right experience to the right person at the right time directly impacts engagement and the consumer relationship.

Why Did Adobe Partner with Google? Adobe has partnered with Google, alongside many others in the technology and publishing industries to support the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) Project and help solve the problems that are adversely affecting the mobile web experience –  namely the slow speed at which content loads and understanding audience engagement with mobile content. AMP will enable content to load instantaneously and provide a better mobile web experience for all.

What will Adobe Analytics Be Able to Measure? It will be able to measure the reach and impact of AMP experiences for publishers, while providing blazing fast speed for mobile web user experiences. For publishers, Adobe Analytics has become a fundamental part of understanding audiences, creating loyal viewers, and monetizing content, and Adobe is committed to making sure that publishers have access to the best data possible. A better mobile user experience means more browsing and content discovery for users, and quality revenue streams for publishers.  Additionally, Adobe Analytics will enable publishers to link up AMPs with their existing web data for deeper cross-channel audience understanding, and integrate this insight directly with the rest of Adobe Marketing Cloud for content and advertising optimization.

Adobe Analytics customers interested in getting started, you can download their How to Guide now: Adobe Analytics for Accelerated Mobile Pages Project

@Drnatalie petouhoff, VP and Analyst, Constellation Research Covering Customer-Facing Application



The Year of On-demand, Personalized Shopping: The Cloud and IOT Abound

What’s Happening in the World of Shopping and Customer Experiences? At the National Retail Federation Annual Convention in New York City, Microsoft made announcements with GameStop, Hardee’s, TGI Fridays, Panasonic, HP and FreedomPay, and NCR on efforts to modernize shopping experiences.

How Does IoT, The Cloud and Customer Experience Come Together? Microsoft believes this will be the year when modern shopping experiences come to life. Where retailers create instant, personalized experiences for shoppers on their smartphone, online and in stores. It will be the year that customers return to stores because technology is engaging them in new ways, making them want to buy more and come back. Microsoft shared for the first time several retail innovations using its technology, including a smart shelf and a tablet-enabled shopping cart, and showed how retailers can gather better store analytics. Microsoft also announced how Pandora and Ashley Furniture are working with technology to create more engaging experiences for employees, helping them be more collaborative and support faster product innovation.

Engaging Customers During the Shopping Experience is Essential for Today’s Retailers. GameStop announced it is working with Microsoft to create an interactive, informative and entertaining shopping experience in an immersive environment. In the near future, when customers walk into one of the GameStop pilot stores, they will be connected to the services enabled by the Microsoft Cloud, allowing them to browse product choices, share their shopping cart with salesperson’s tablet running an assisted selling application, and even browse products interactively on a big screen Ultra High Definition TV where they can view video game trailers with pristine clarity. When a customer downloads and opts into the GameStop app on their smartphone, they will be able to interact in a whole new way with GameStop marketplace through the use of Azure. Ultimately, the customer and the salesperson can push the desired products to the point of sale (POS) system for order processing and payment.

What’s Another Great Example of How Microsoft is Working With Retailers to Improve Customer Engagement and Customer Experience? One example is Hardee’s new way to make ordering a meal fast and fun. Hardee’s is currently deploying self-ordering kiosks for ordering meals, using Windows 8 devices. These in-store kiosks are being tested currently in 30 restaurants with plans to extend that test to additional restaurants soon. Each kiosk allows customers to review the menu and order food and lets managers run sales and shift reports, while dramatically reducing wait times. Check out the video and read more here.

Another Example is TGI Fridays Who Has Plans to Transform the Way People Order Food by Equipping Servers with 8-inch Tablets Armed with Payment Sleeves. With the Fridays’ Service Style technology the customer’s order is processed right at the table, the device also helps manage the waiting list and queue. The solution helps ensure orders are correct, reduces training time, and streamlines waitlists.

Modern Points of Sale Connect Retailers and Customers in New Ways.  As the shopping experience becomes more modern, so does the POS. Modern POS devices are allowing retailers to better understand their customers, provide more customized service, and help them achieve compliance with new security measures being implemented in 2015.  In partnership with Panasonic, HP and FreedomPay Microsoft is demonstrating how the modern POS can create personalized retail experiences, in real-time, through smart and secure devices. With new security regulations on the horizon, retailers need to upgrade their POS devices, not only to ensure their customer data is safe, but to also be able to provide a more personalized and seamless experience at check-out. Read more about modern POS devices here.

Innovation that helps retailers understand buying behavior and customers make informed decisions.  One of the challenges in retail is to create an in-store experience that engages customers in unique ways, entices them to come in to stores, and keep them coming back. Creating those connections creates better experiences and ultimately increases sales. With the help of a Kinect sensor, AVAretail’s SmartShelf technology allows every interaction of a shelf in a store to be monitored and recorded in real-time, providing insight into which products are most selected and picked up by customers. Another form of technology, Path Tracker, gives retailers real-time detection and analysis of a customer’s shopping path.  This provides counts of people in the store, areas visited, dwell time and shopping path, acting as a heat map of where customers are spending the most time in the store.

The NEC Biometric interface with Kinect Camera System Provides Demographic and Face Recognition Services to a Kinectically Enabled Application. Retailers can use this information for analysis and for providing the customer with a more personal selling experience. MediaCart will change the shopping cart as we know it. Adding a location-aware tablet to the cart allows a retailer to present a personal and relevant shopping experience to its customer.  This allows context sensitive ads and promotions when in front of various products along with a barcode scanning capability for price lookups and basket totals.

Retailers Are Predicting Consumer Behavior With Machine Learning. As technology advances, consumers have more tools at their disposal during the buying process. This trend seems to be growing exponentially, especially as the Internet of Things (IoT) matures. This is both an opportunity and a challenge for retailers looking to capitalize on a whole new base of consumers. Competitive pressure, combined with ubiquitous connectivity, smart devices and an intelligent cloud platform is causing a shift to a new retail reality. Food delivery company JJ Food Service uses machine learning to make product recommendations as customers are shopping for food. This provides insights, saves on costs, and ensures their customers have the food they need, when they need it.

Customer Behavior Can Be Predicted. Auckland, New Zealand-based VMob runs a mobile engagement platform on Microsoft Azure which predicts likely customer behavior based on historic and live data streams. The platform currently delivers personalized content to millions of consumers around the world, including customers of McDonald’s across several European markets. The VMob platform collects real time data from multiple sources including mobile devices, wearables, location temperature sensors, WiFi transmitters, beacons, digital signage, and POS systems to personalize engagement with the customer. The VMob platform uses Azure Machine Learning to harness the Internet of Things to predict future customer behavior – transforming live and historical data streams into actionable insights McDonald’s can employ to individualize its marketing efforts. See more information about VMob’s work here.

You Want to Reach Your Customers Where They Are. For retailers to succeed, they need to reach their customers where they are.  Because of this, we are pleased to be announcing Sitecore Commerce, powered by Microsoft Dynamics. This solution integrates the experience management capabilities of the Sitecore Experience Platform with the omni-channel commerce capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail. The result is a product that allows enterprises to bridge the gap between in-store and digital experiences. We are also announcing a combined effort with Toshiba to form the Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions with Microsoft Dynamics to help retailers deliver leading customer experiences through true omni-channel customer engagements. This effort includes Toshiba delivering software and implementation services on the Dynamics platform as well as plans for the global availability of a combined solution – TCxGravity powered by Microsoft Dynamics – specifically tailored to deliver omni-channel transformation on the customer’s terms, helping it provide seamless brand experiences to build lasting loyalty.

What’s The Future of Retail? Retailers are changing the game through connected stores, empowered employees, digital engagement and ambient intelligence all geared toward delighting the modern shopper. By gathering and ingesting insight from myriad data sources, retailers can create a comprehensive understanding of each customer, its store’s inventory and the capabilities of its business to seamlessly match people with the products and services they desire.

The end result of these technologies and services, and of Microsoft’s work with retailers, is an increased focus on solutions that help grow sales and profits, increase customer satisfaction and loyalty, bring products to market faster, and create a more effective business.

If you want more information, visit the Retail NewsroomThe Windows for Your Business Blog, and The Dynamics Blog.

MyPOV: I Love to shop and I love technology. So this is gonna be a great year! I can’t wait to see how cloud computing, IoT and customer experience emerge as the top competitive advantage to lead conversion rates, higher revenues and awesome customer experiences!

@DrNatalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research
Covering Cloud and IoT That Drive Better Business Results and Awesome Customer Experiences in Retail Environments

Doing Something Really Interesting in IOT Customer Experience or Cloud Customer Service? Apply for a SuperNova Award!

The SuperNova Awards honor leaders that demonstrate excellence in the application and adoption of new and emerging technologies. This is the sixth year of the Constellation SuperNova Awards. Are you using IoT to create great, new customer experiences. Has the move to the cloud made your customer service more agile and the customer’s experience much better? If so, let us know. We want to hear your stories of using and developing:

  • IoT
    • IoT and creating awesome Customer Experiences
    • IoT and creating awesome Customer Service (Field Service)
    • IoT, the Customer Experience and its affects on Customer’s and Businesses Security/ Privacy
    • Using IoT to deliver smarter Marketing
  • Cloud
    • Using the Marketing Cloud to Increase Conversion, Targeting, Relevancy…
    • Using Customer Service Cloud to Service Customers Reactively, Proactively and Drive Marketing
    • Using the Customer Experience Cloud To Drive Awesome Customer Experiences
    • Using the Sales Cloud to Grow Win Ratios…

We will be recognizing nine individuals who demonstrate true leadership in digital business through their application of new and emerging technologies. We’re searching for leaders and teams who used disruptive technolgies to transform their organizations. Special recognition will be given to projects that seek to redefine how the enterprise uses technology on a large scale.

Are you really on the leading, bleeding edge? Then we are looking for you! If you are not on the edge, you are taking up too much room! We’re searching for the boldest, most transformative technology projects out there. If you or someone you know has what it takes to compete in the SuperNova Awards, fill out the application here

What’s the Timeline look like? I kinda hate to publish this, because everyone looks at it and thinks- Oh August – I have plenty of time! Don’t kid yourself. It takes time to not only do a great project but also document it! So don’t wait to the last minute… If you are up to something special, start jotting down your project info so you won’t be late with application submission!!! And make sure you have data to show your results!

  • February 8, 2016 application process begins.
  • August 8, 2016 last day for submissions.
  • September 7, 2016 finalists announced and invited to Connected Enterprise.
  • September 12, 2016 voting opens to the public
  • September 21, 2016 polls close
  • October 27, 2016 Winners announced, SuperNova Awards Gala Dinner at Connected Enterprise 

Why bother? There’s lots of Rewards! Besides getting to hang out with me :-) and a ton of other really outstanding and amazing leaders, and get to hear what the top companies in the world are doing, you’ll also get…

Wondering Who Are the Judges?

The judges are technology thought leaders, analysts, and journalists selected for their futurist mindset and ability to separate substance from hype. The SuperNova Award Judges carefully evaluate each SuperNova Award application against a rigorous set of criteria. Judges will identify individuals who demonstrate true leadership in the application and adoption of new and emerging technologies.  Want to catch a judge’s eye? Judges look for projects whose elements can be replicated in other enterprises. Want to know more about the awards and judges? You can learn more about the SuperNova Award Judges.

What Types of Projects or Inititatives Can Be Submitted? Here’s a list of the categories:

  •  Internet of Things – A network of smart objects enables smart services. (examples: sensors, smart ‘things’, device to purchase)
  •  Data to Decisions – Using data to make informed business decisions. (examples: big data, predictive analytics) 
  •  Digital Marketing Transformation – Personalized, data-driven digital marketing. 
  •  Future of Work: Social Business – The technologies enabling teams to work together efficiently. (examples: enterprise social networks, collaboration)
  •  Future of Work: Human Capital Management – Enabling your organization to utilize your workforce as an asset. (examples: talent management)
  •  Matrix Commerce – Commerce responds to changing realities from the supply chain to the storefront. (examples: digital retail, supply chain, payments, omni-channel retail)
  •  Next Generation Customer Experience – Customers in the digital age demand seamless service throughout all lifecycle stages and across all channels. (examples: crm, customer experience)
  •  Safety and Privacy – Strategies to secure sensitive data (examples: digital identity, information security, authentication)
  •  Technology Optimization & Innovation – Innovative methods to balance innovation and IT budgets. (examples: innovation in the cloud, ENSW cost savings, cloud ERP, efficient app production)

Who Won Last Year? I knew you would ask that, so here’s that info below. And they were all outstanding. Let’s see if you can beat what they did last year! We are really looking for the super stars. And you know who you are!

CoIT & The New C-Suite

Martin Brodbeck: CTO, Sterling Backcheck


Data to Decisions

Alda Mizaku: Lead Bus Solutions Analyst, Mercy


Digital Marketing Transformation

Naveen Gunti: Senior Director of e-Commerce Technology and Operations, Tumi Holdings, Inc.


Future of Work – Human Capital Management

Asha Aravindakshan: Operations Director, Global Talent, Ashoka


Future of Work – Social Business

Steve Nava: Senior Director Field Service, Americas, Luminex

*************************************************************Matrix Commerce

Jordan Kivelstadt: CEO, Free Flow Wines


Next Generation Customer Experience

Dan Wallis: Director of KP OnCall, Kaiser Permanente


Technology Optimization & Innovation

Dr. David Bray: Chief Information Officer , Federal Communications Commissions

Erica Stevens: VP of Supply Chain and Information Technology, Dylan’s Candy Bar

So there’s your bar. It’s been set high, but I know you can top it! Go for it! Can’t wait to see you at  SuperNova Awards Gala Dinner at Connected Enterprise!!
@DrNatalie, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research
Covering Customer-facing Applications That Make Amazing Customer Experiences

High Online Spend Expected for Valentine’s Day: Adobe Introduces Retail Innovations for Marketing Cloud and A Report on Holiday Shopping Trends

At the NRF Retail’s BIG Show, Adobe introduced several solution innovations for the Adobe Marketing Cloud that help retailers unify data, rich content, and campaign management into one platform. The new retail innovations include:

  • Data-driven remarketing: For the first time (via Adobe Analytics integration with Adobe Campaign), retailers can connect both consumers’ behavior online and contextual data to create and send a user-defined remarketing trigger such as an email, push notification or SMS to increase the likelihood of purchase.
  • Personalized push notifications: Mobile push notifications are now supported with robust analytics for delivering intuitive & personalized messages. With Adobe Mobile Core Services and Adobe Analytics, retailers can create rich audience segments and engage consumers based on factors such as shopping behavior and user preferences.
  • Shoppable media experiences for ‘you’: First introduced at last year’s NRF conference, Adobe Experience Manager’s shoppable media experiences now integrates with Adobe Target to enable retailers to test and target interactive content in real-time to drive conversions across mobile, social, and in-store.
  • Digital-meets-physical shopping: Adobe is extending its Adobe Experience Manager Screens capabilities to shoppable media, enabling retailers to reach consumers at home, on-the-go, in-store or wherever digital content proliferates.

In addition to these retail capabilities, Adobe also released a new Adobe Digital Index report, recapping holiday shopping trends:

  • A record $83B was spent online this holiday season (Nov – Dec 2015)
  • Online sales the week prior to Christmas saw tremendous growth
    • Last minute shoppers increasingly looked to e-commerce to purchase their gifts in 2015 vs shopping at local retailers, resulting in a spike of online shopping 56%+ YoY
    • The Holiday season made up 28% of annual online sales
  • Smartphones dominated online shopping, overtaking tablets
  • Highest discounts from display and social
  • High online spend expected for Valentine’s Day

The drive for the best marketing cloud continues, as vendors increase the capabilities and offerings. It’s important for a brand to evaluate what they currently have and decide what they need to reach their business goals.

@DrNatalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Covering Customer-facing Applications That Drive Better Business Results