Has The Age of George Jetson IoT Time Come? Alex Was the Star of CES

Alexa Voice Service (AVS) is the software that allows owners to control compatible devices with their voice. From the various  reports it was estimated there were 700–1,100 Alexa-controllable products at CES. And the Amazon / Alexa logo was everywhere at CES.

Is the Age of George Jetson here? In a smart home, everything from the the HVAC to the TV to window shades can be controlled. However it’s not easy to really have a whole house of Artificial Intelligence (AI) controlled devices. Why? Many of the IoT-enabled devices don’t talk to other devices if they are made by different manufacturers. Opps! The IoT world awaits THE killer app, like Apple Homekit or Google Home. We are still waiting for them to provide all encompassing, unified smart “home.”

The Amazon Echo is a hands-free speaker controlled with your voice. It connects to the Alexa Voice Service to provide information, news, play music, report on sports scores, deliver weather reports… The uses for AVS and Alexa are limited only by your imagination.

When something is connected to Alexa, the device instantly becomes pseudo-interoperable. Interoperable technology is not an evolutionarily stable strategy for most IoT manufacturers. Interoperability is the ability of different information technology systems and software applications to communicate, exchange data, and use the information that has been exchanged to do something.

What CES showed us is that voice control seems to be the unifying app for IoT. And Alexa is the biggest name in voice control. Smart devices are generally controlled with apps. If there is an app to control the smart device, the app allows AVS to directly control the smart device. So you could say, “Alexa, tell Crestron I’d like to turn the lights on in the bedroom” (for your Crestron) or “Alexa, I would like to turn the heat on the downstairs thermostat to 70 degrees” (for your Iris Smart Home System). It’s easy to see the value of voice control in so many ordinary situations. What’s interesting about AVS is that even though Crestron and Iris have nothing to do with one another, you can control them both with your voice.

Alexa has finely tuned automatic speech recognition (ASR) and natural language understanding (NLU) engines that recognize and respond to voice requests instantly. Alexa is always getting smarter with new capabilities and services through machine learning, regular API updates, feature launches, and custom skills from the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK.) The AVS API  is a programming language agnostic service that makes it easy to integrate Alexa into your devices, services, and applications. And it’s free.

And you can create meaningful user experiences for an endless variety of use cases with Alexa Voice Service (AVS); Amazon’s intelligent voice recognition and natural language understanding service. AVS includes a full range of features, including smart home control, streaming music content, news, timers… and can be added to any connected device that has a microphone and speaker.

But while Alexa has a head start, Google Home, an Echo competitor, is very likely to quickly catch up. Google Home though, works with a completely different set of protocols and has different “awake” words. These are command words that make it pay attention and carry out the request. It seems that we may need to learn to speak to different systems in different ways – perhaps we’ll need lessons in Alexa speak and Google speak as well as and Siri and Cortana speak!

So is the Age of George Jetson here yet? Sort of. What will be interesting is to see if there is a start-up that will pull all of this together so that us regular humans don’t need to become AI experts to connect and use the technology.

Dr. Natalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Covering customer-facing applications

 

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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

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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 

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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

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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?

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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

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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

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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: https://www.constellationr.com/events/supernova/2016
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
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Internet of Things (IoT), Customer Behaviors and Increasing Digital Demand Signals Major Insurance Industry Disruption

How Does IOT and Customer Behaviors Affect The Insurance Technology Companies?

The World Insurance Report 2016 (WIR), released  by Capgemini, identifies multiple threats pushing the insurance industry toward massive disruption. The continued evolution of the Internet of Things (IoT), combined with changing behaviors and preferences from Gen Y1 customers, is driving the urgent need for insurers to undergo significant transformation or risk falling behind emerging competitors such as FinTechs.

What Did the Capgemini Voice of the Customer Survey Find?

Capgemini’s Voice of the Customer Survey, (which covered) more than 15,500 insurance customers worldwide, found that Gen Y customers are much less likely to have positive experiences with their insurers compared to other age groups, despite communicating with them more frequently. Gen Y customers have more interactions with their insurer across all communication channels, particularly digital ones. They interact with insurers up to 2.5 times more on social media than other customers and over two times more via mobile.

Gen Y Has Higher Expectations of Digital Experiences Than Older Generations Those interactions, however, are resulting in positive customer experience levels that are nearly 20 percentage points lower than those of customers in other age brackets, suggesting that Gen Y customers have higher expectations for the standard of digital channels than their older peers. Given that more than one-quarter of all customers plan to purchase or renew their insurance through digital channels in the next 12 months, customer experience levels among Gen Y customers is particularly concerning for the industry. In addition, nearly one-quarter of Gen Y customers say they would be likely to buy insurance from non-traditional technology-led providers, highlighting the threat from emerging competitors to the customer base of traditional insurers.

A Note From The Executives: John Mullen, Corporate Vice President and Global Insurance Leader for Capgemini said, “By not providing adequate engagement for digitally-advanced customers, carriers run the risk of pushing them toward a growing population of market entrants and non-traditional technology-driven competitors. Gen Y is clearly indicating that they do business differently and those insurers who respond to them on their terms will have a clear competitive advantage.”

IoT Poses Additional Threats As More Devices Get Connected to the Insurance Business Models

A more fundamental threat, or enabler, to the future of insurers is the coming wave of connected technologies, in the form of such innovations as smart home ecosystems, wearable devices and machine-enabled drones, robots, and cars. These IoT technologies are expected to transform traditional insurance business models, including everything from the way insurers connect with their customers to their fundamental assessment and management of risk. Yet despite this threat, insurers are significantly underestimating the degree to which connected technologies will be broadly adopted. Only 16 percent of insurers think customers will embrace driverless cars, for example, while 23 percent of customers express interest.

Gen X is More Likely To Adopt Connected Devices

More significant than age, affluence2 is the most compelling factor in determining customer uptake of IoT technologies. More than 45 percent of affluent Gen X3 customers are likely to adopt connected devices, smart ecosystems and wearables, compared to only 30 percent to 35 percent of younger, non-affluent Gen Y customers. Customers that are both Gen Y and affluent are the most likely to adopt connected technologies (50 percent). However, affluent customers are also more likely to purchase insurance from non-traditional technology-led firms. Nearly 31 percent of affluent customers globally say they are likely to purchase insurance from technology firms, a percentage that increases to 47 percent for affluent Gen Y customers.

IoT Is Expected to Have a Big Impact on Redefining Risk in the Insurance Business. In addition to its impact on customer connections, IoT is expected to have an even bigger impact on the core tenets of the insurance business. In a connected world, data provided by connected devices, smart ecosystems and wearables will increase risk transparency, a dynamic that will likely lead to new business models, especially in pricing and risk control. Risk ownership will also shift with connected technologies, as responsibility for actions, for example in the case of driverless cars, moves from car owner to car manufacturer. Finally and most important, IoT looms large in managing the level of risk exposure due to safer environments. This will shift premiums significantly, threatening some carriers, but providing opportunities for those who can understand the emerging risks that are inherent as the rate of technology change becomes more pervasive in the lives of people and commerce.

What Should Insurers Do? Insurers must start preparing themselves for the transformation of the insurance business. The report advises insurers to build strong but agile foundations in the short term. In the medium term, they must sharpen their value propositions through strategic alliances and data-driven insights. Long-term strategies must focus on transforming the business to stay ahead of emerging risk profiles, new interaction models, changing customer behaviors and IoT’s expected disruption of risk selection, pricing, and loss prevention.

“While already experiencing digital disruption, the insurance industry needs to brace itself for the massive, inevitable disruption brought on by Gen Y and the Internet of Things,” said Vincent Bastid, Secretary General, Efma. “Those insurers who make it a top priority to improve their ability to manage and leverage data and risk will be the most prepared.”

The World Insurance Report 2016 features data from more than 15,000 insurance customers globally through Capgemini’s Voice of the Customer survey and exclusive Customer Experience Index (CEI), as well as findings from more than 150 insurance executive interviews. The report’s research covers 30 markets across North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific representing 93 percent of the global insurance market in terms of premium income.

For more information visit www.worldinsurancereport.com

The report will be presented at the Insurance Summit in Milan on June 9-10, 2016. To register to attend the event, please visit: www.efma.com/insurance16.

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IoT Leadership Forum Helps Customers Digitally Transform Their Business

Is IoT Relevant to Today’s Companies? Today’s enterprises span a spectrum of engagement when it comes to the Internet of Things (IoT). Some are beginning an exploration around IoT, some are actively implementing new capabilities to build for the future and some are well along in their deployments with expansive plans for transforming their business. Wherever an enterprise is with their use of IoT, they can benefit from expert insight to help them accomplish their goals.

How Can Companies Learn About IoT, Cloud Computing and Creating Awesome Customer Experiences? For large enterprise customers with complex environments, IoT implementations bring both challenges and an abundance of opportunities to transform their business. To help customers on their journey, we began hosting the Azure IoT Leadership Forum on our Redmond campus last May. The forum is part of their broader approach to partnering with customers on IoT, and is a great place to both learn from Microsoft experts and hear from other leading companies on how to realize the value of IoT.

Who Attends These Forums? At the second IoT Leadership Forum they  welcomed significant leaders in the IoT space. More than a dozen Azure IoT customers from several industries attended the two-day session to learn from special guests and the executive team. Participants included 3M, Caterpillar, Honeywell, Johnson Controls, Mitsubishi Electric, Rockwell Automation, Rolls Royce, Sandvik, Schlumberger, Schneider Electric, ThyssenKrupp, Weir Group and Grundfos.

What Were The Sessions About? The sessions covered numerous topics but shared a common goal: Helping customers with best practices in making IoT solutions a reality, looking past the hype and learning from right-sized examples. They spoke about the new Azure IoT Suite and how it dramatically accelerates time to value in IoT. Tim Mallalieu described how the Azure Customer Advisory Team (AzureCAT) takes a hands-on approach to helping companies in their IoT journeys and offered best practice advice. There were also expert consultants, including Geoffrey Moore Consulting, The Boston Consulting Group and The York Group. Kurt DelBene who joined the sessions along with other Microsoft execs, all of whom shared insights and lessons learned in IoT.

What is the Most Prevalent Theme in the IoT Forums? Throughout the event, one of the most prevalent themes that emerged was the disruptive role IoT is playing in business already. Whether it is dramatic increases in operational efficiencies, big reductions in costs or enabling entirely new business models, it’s clear that organizations across industries must “disrupt or be disrupted” as IoT technology continues to create new waves of innovation.

Though each customer who participated is in a different phase of its own IoT journey, they all shared a common goal of unlocking new business value through this exciting new technology wave. As entire industries use IoT to transform themselves, they will continue to provide collaborative two-day sessions to arm customers with the best-in-class technology, deep insights and best practices to help them succeed.

Where Can You Learn More? Check out the IoT home page to learn more about Microsoft’s vision and how IoT is already transforming business for their customers.

@DrNatalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research
Covering Cloud and IoT That Drive Better Business Results and Awesome Customer Experiences
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The Secret to Success in IoT: Microsoft Partner ICONICS Shares It’s IoT Cloud Experiences

What is the Internet of Things (IoT)? The Internet of Things (IoT) is a hot topic these days. Unlike many overhyped technology visions over the years, IoT has the underpinnings today to start happening throughout the developed world. Sensors everywhere. Ubiquitous mobile wireless communications. Powerful data analytics. Graphic visualization tools.

Although the Internet of Things (IoT) often refers to connected devices in a personal or industrial setting, it also has the potential to unlock vast opportunities in many cities today, from energy management in civic buildings to traffic monitoring to public services. But that wealth of possibilities can be overwhelming to local governments, as public agencies try to find ways to get started with IoT while making the most of limited resources. The CityNext blog has some  advice from guest blogger Melissa Topp of Microsoft partner ICONICS: Don’t try to do it all at once. Instead, pick one thing and spend time getting it right before expanding your Cloud IOT program.

So Pick Your Best Bet And Get Started on IoT! ICONICS works with Microsoft to deliver cutting-edge tools for infrastructure, mobility and analytics, on a Microsoft Azure cloud platform that reduces capital investment and dramatically expands data storage and processing capabilities. In her post, Topp explains how a recent smart energy management project for Peirce Elementary School in Arlington, Mass., illustrates the keys to success for cities’ IoT Cloud deployments. By starting with a single project — in this case, cutting summer operating costs in a school building — then focusing on that problem until they had it right, and finally expanding their program in phases, the school’s administrators were able to discover and resolve equipment problems and lower energy costs. Topp’s experience is a good reminder to businesses in any industry that IoT deployments don’t have to be massive and overwhelming to make an impact.

Want To learn More About How Microsoft IoT Helps Cities and Businesses? Here’s a link to understand how this can happen and while you are taking a look at this consider how, when a city changes how it does things, how does that affect the experience of the customer of that city? It’s huge!

IoT Can Be Daunting for City Governments. After all, with just one of Google’s self-driving cars gathering 750 MB of sensor data every second of driving time, the amount of data that a fully wired city would generate in a second would have to be in the petabytes. What’s more, cities would have to figure out where to put all that data. It’d be a bigger problem than Boston had finding places to put all its snow during last winter’s relentless blizzards! But it doesn’t have to be daunting. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Think of IoT as the same thing. Don’t try to do everything. Just pick one aspect of your business where it will have a real impact to revenue generation, cost savings, and the customer experience.

Wired (IoT) Cities Drive Better Experiences. Nonetheless, cities around the world are “wiring up,” as the many Microsoft CityNext customer stories can attest. Among those cities are also many ICONICS customers. They’re successfully transforming themselves through greater operational visibility and efficiencies using our HMI/SCADA, mobility, and analytics tools for cutting-edge energy and sustainability solutions.

In working with hundreds of cities worldwide, we’ve found that their successful deployments typically have three common hallmarks that we might call “secrets” of their success.

  • First, they chose one place to start, many with a specific need in their municipal utilities, water treatment facilities, transportation systems, or schools.
  • Second, they focused their limited resources and energies on that starting point to ensure it worked, taking as many lessons as they could from it.
  • Third, they didn’t try to solve everything at once, but rolled out their deployments in phases.

What is An Example of a City That Has Gone Down The IoT Path? Arlington, Massachusetts, a town of 43,000 people six miles northwest of Boston, started with the need of its public schools to consolidate summer operations into one building, Peirce Elementary School. To help save air-conditioning costs, the district bought a new chiller, but it also sought energy management software. After evaluating competitors’ offerings, it chose ICONICS Facility AnalytiX hosted on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform. Using Azure eliminated the need for any upfront capital expenditures in IT infrastructure.

Facility AnalytiX uses advanced Fault Detection and Diagnostics (FDD) technology. FDD works via customizable fault rules that weigh the probability of equipment failure. It then alerts staff to actions they can take when faults occur.

IoT Focus Helps Save Time and Money. When equipment fails, the software analyzes current and historical information (along with symptom/cause relationships), executes predictive algorithms, and provides a list of possible causes sorted by probability. This information is securely available to all key stakeholders from desktops, browsers and smart devices such as Microsoft Surface tablets. FDD helped the district cut the time its HVAC contractors spend searching for malfunctions by as much as 20 percent.

The Facility AnalytiX software also showed that the chiller was unnecessarily turning itself on and off every five minutes. This cost the district energy and would potentially reduce the chiller’s lifespan, as constant cycling would put more wear on the equipment. The software helped the district save 20 percent of its energy consumption the first winter after installation.

When You Implement IoT, Phase it in With Fast, Easy Cloud Scalability. With the success of Arlington’s deployment of smart energy-management software in that single elementary school, the town is already working to adopt it to another school. And government buildings are likely candidates for additional deployments. In other words, it found one place to start; focused its resources on making it work; and is taking a phased approach.

With Microsoft Azure, adding those buildings to Arlington’s Facility AnalytiX operations dashboard is fast, easy, and economical. That’s because, by simply connecting to existing HVAC equipment, sensors, and SCADA network hookups, Azure can spin up another instance of Facility AnalytiX with just a series of mouse clicks.

Arlington is just one of many examples from the ICONICS customer base of a city that is implementing IoT — sometimes without actually realizing it — to improve operational visibility and lower costs. As the town adds more buildings to its smart-energy network, those benefits will continue to grow.

With Microsoft Azure, it won’t need to add any IT infrastructure that requires money, maintenance, repairs, and upgrades. In effect, Microsoft Azure is a standby IT resource for Arlington, just waiting to be tapped whenever new demands arise.

Want to Learn More About Cities, Clouds and IoT? For more ICONICS IoT customer stories or to learn more about ICONICS products and solutions, visit www.iconics.com/IoT. Learn more about ICONICS’ smart city solutions on Twitter. Follow Microsoft CityNext on Twitter for news, trends, and smart city solutions.

@DrNatalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Covering Cloud, IOT and Customer Experiences
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ServiceSource®: Customer Success Management for a Post-Sale, On-Demand, Attention Economy (Part 1)

I’m in the process of writing profiles of vendors in the customer success management industry. These vendor profiles are a tool for buyers to evaluate their customer success management options before selecting a vendor. In addition to an overview of the vendor, these documents identify key differentiators, product offerings, and provide a short list guide for buyers.  The first vendor I profiled is ServiceSource®. Stay tuned, as more profiles will be published in the weeks to come.

Customer Success Management: ServiceSource® provides B2B companies with technology-enabled services, cloud software and best-practice processes to improve customer success, drive revenue growth and decrease churn from existing customers. It began as a managed services firm and evolved by adding a software platform. ServiceSource had $272.2 million in revenue in 2014.

salessourceWhat Does ServiceSource Do? ServiceSource’s solutions help companies manage the end-to-end customer revenue lifecycle, including onboarding and adoption, upsell and cross-sell, retention and renewals. With more than 15 years of experience focusing on customer success and revenue growth, ServiceSource has the depth of expertise companies need to manage their revenue lifecycle. With deployments across 40 languages and 150 countries and a recurring revenue technology platform, ServiceSource manages billions of dollars of recurring revenue for clients annually.

Why Customer Success Management Important Today: Today’s cloud businesses have unprecedented visibility and data on customers that can be harnessed with a customer success management platform. This opens up new opportunities and smarter ways to connect and engage with customers to maximize revenue and to determine what customers need and want so they remain loyal and provide high customer lifetime values.

An Overview of Customer Success Management: Before the opt-in economy, many businesses were focused on the initial sale. A great deal of money was spent advertising and marketing to potential prospects, enticing them to convert from a lead to a sale. However, little attention was paid to the after-sale experience and financial longevity of the client, even though poor customer experiences and churn still exist today after decades of research showing that after-sales service directly affects the financial stability of a company. In fact, it never made sense for companies to spend millions, or in some cases, billions of dollars in advertising, marketing and sales to then drive the customer to a competitor when the after-sales service experience is horrible. Yet poor after-sales service occurs every single day in many, many companies.

Before, During and After the Sale: Customer Success Management (CSM) is based on the ability to deliver a consistent customer experience process – before, during, and in particular, after the sale – which results in maximized customer lifetime value and enhanced revenue that leads to increased margins and profits. A shift to CSM happened because we live in a continuous, opt-in economy, where the value of customers is determined by how long they stay customers and if they continue to increase their purchase amounts over time. Because of our opt-in economy, companies must prepare themselves to deliver great, continuous and consistent customer experiences.

This seismic shift to a post-sale, on demand, attention economy transforms the value exchange among customers, partners, suppliers, and brands. And as organizations move to digital business models, CSM plays a critical role in enabling brands and organizations to keep and deliver their brand promise as well as enhance their bottom line.

What’s the Best Option for Your Company? When choosing the best option for CSM software for your organization, the choice will depend on the business goals of CSM initiatives, the degree to which CSM has been integrated into your culture and how well employees have adopted this mindset. It may be that some organizations will be further along the adoption cycle, while others will need internal champions to encourage and enforce the use of customer success software, processes and best practices.

Data to Decisions Drives the Democratization of Insight: The CSM field has been spurred on by the need to provide after-sales service intelligence that can be turned into actionable insights and decisions. Holistic, data-driven decisions require a multi-disciplinary approach that incorporates performance monitoring with traditional business intelligence technologies.

A multitude of data sources can be transformed into information streams guided by business process. As context is applied to information streams, patterns emerge that provide nuggets of insight. That insight then drives the ability to take action and make better decisions. This shift to using insight not only can serve high-margin, “luxury” brands, but also should be considered for all businesses through an investment in CSM. By transforming business models to include processes that immediately turn data into decisions, brands and organizations gain the ability to provide great, loyalty inspiring experiences that reduce churn and increase revenue.

Make sure to stay tuned for the next part of the mutli-part study!

Check out my vendor profile of ServiceSource®. An excerpt of the profile including the table of contents is available to download.

DOWNLOAD EXCERPT 

@drnatalie

VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research, Covering Customer Success Management, IOT, Analytics and Customer-facing Applications that Deliver Enhanced, Trust-building Customer Experiences via Customer Service, Sales and Marketing

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Salesforce Transforms Big Data Into Customer Success with the Salesforce Analytics Cloud

The Big Data bug has Just About Bit Everyone. Salesforce announced their Analytics Cloud ecosystem will include: Google, Cloudera, Hortonworks, New Relic, Informatica and Trifacta. It’s true there is more data that ever before. But the ksalesforce analytics cloud natalie petouhoffey with data is to not let it turn into a data lake. It’s great that Salesforce recognizes the need to beef up their analytics could, but the data still needs to go from data to actionable, real-time, right-time in-jounery customer experiences to provide the data employees (think call center agents or sales people or marketers) need to create amazing experiences.

Salesforce’s Analytics Cloud is Powered by the Wave Platform, and will bring together a  dynamic user experience, indexed search and a powerful computing engine to explore any data source. Designed from the ground up to be open, more than 80 partners have now joined the Analytics Cloud ecosystem to extend analytics for every conceivable use case and enable data-driven companies to connect with customers in a whole new way. That’s a lot of partners and a lot of APIs.

Is the Tech Landscape Becoming Too Complicated? My fear for business users is that the landscape of technology is becoming so complex – with thousands of choices for varying needs, that business users will get lost in the mirage of chooses. (Maybe that’s where being friendly with IT will help.) If the businesses users do get overwhelmed, they will likely get halted in choosing something. That’s never good for software vendors when that happens, as it makes for long sales cycles or comments like, “Hhhmmm looks interesting, we’ll get back to you.” That is usually a polite way of saying no. Or at least “no” for now and for a while.

Salesforce’s goal was to empower the business user with more data. For examples, so that sales, service, marketing and other business professionals can discover correlations and patterns across any combination of transactional data—such as CRM, ERP, finance, and HR systems—and unstructured or semi-structured big data sets, all from within the Analytics Cloud. Each of the announced partners brings something to the table:

      Google offers a set of cloud big data services to ingest, process, store and analyze billions of rows and quickly run advanced queries without having to manage any infrastructure. Using Salesforce Wave for Big Data, a marketing manager can analyze the correlations between customer profiles in Salesforce and actual customer engagement data from the Google Cloud Platform—such as purchases, clickstream and mobile app usageto optimize marketing spend and increase customer acquisition.

      Cloudera enables companies to deploy an enterprise data hub, a secure analytics platform powered by Apache Hadoop, to store, process and analyze any data type at scale. Now a marketing executive will be able to identify patterns between a product usage log from Cloudera alongside CRM demographics to target the right customers for a loyalty campaign.

●      Hortonworks provides an enterprise-grade data management platform based on 100 percent Apache Core that enables companies to use the power of Hadoop-drive analytics to optimize the performance of Hadoop cluster. Now a retail bank associate can explore massive amounts of operational, transactional and balance data to understand local economic trends to provide better banking services and counsel to each customer.

      New Relic delivers a software analytics platform that provides real-time insights on the performance of a company’s Web and mobile apps. As a result, companies can better understand how customers are engaging with their digital brand, including clickstreams, mobile activity, end-user experiences and transactions. Now correlations between customers’ behavior on a retail mobile app and history of customer purchases can be visualized together to enable a sales rep to improve cross-selling strategies.

My POV: The  EMC Digital Universe study*, “The Digital Universe of Opportunities: Rich Data and the Increasing Value of the Internet of Things,” the digital universe is doubling in size every two years and will multiply 10-fold between 2013 and 2020 – from 4.4 trillion gigabytes to 44 trillion gigabytes. That’s a lot of data. And while it is true, the large amount of data is the OPPORTUNITY for companies to reinvent themselves through data analytics, the question is will they? While legacy analytics software was never designed to manage the volume, variety or velocity of big data, I don’t think that was the only issue why companies didn’t change the customer experience.

BIG DATA Needs to Accompany Organizational Change: Changes to the customer experience required a change in mindset at the senior executive levels as well as throughout the organization. It’s not for the faint of heart. It’s really about organizational change management. Dang- I wish I could come up with a new word for that. It’s got baggage. So while one is doing their “regular” job, they have to take on what’s needed to transform their business. It’s a tall order and a valiant one at that. I just hope that we don’t “buy-in” to the big data craze, like companies did with ERP and CRM and then not really go the extra miles it takes (people with the right skills to turn data into actionable, in journey insight,  strategy, process, and then actually doing something) to make the big data realization a reality that does change the customer experience. Something needs to. Something needs to prevent the data lake from overflowing. (and yes it’s available on the iPhone and other mobile devices to come….)

@Drnatalie VP and Principal Analyst, Covering Marketing, Sales and Service to Make Amazing Experiences.

*http://www.emc.com/about/news/press/2014/20140409-01.htm

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ThinkBig and Teradata Partner for Data Consulting

With all the data and all the opportunity, it’s really necessary to have someone focus on getting most out of that data. Otherwise, as other’s have coined, you end up with a data lake – a bunch of data but not in context and not useable in providing great, continuos customer experiences. And at the end of the day, what companies need is to have the data actually to help them run their business better. So the announcement today solves some of these issues, i.e.,  Think Big, a Teradata (NYSE: TDC) company, announced the immediate expansion of its big data consulting business.

They have announced a dashboard engine to be able to have drill down capability and get to the insights using ingestion patterns and infrastructure. Think Big embraces a range of vendor-neutral, open source options and recommends the best combination to complement existing, proven technologies based on each customer’s unique business needs.

Think Big assists clients, across industries, to gain measurable business value from big data through implementation and integration of open-source technologies such as Apache™ Hadoop®, Apache Spark™, and NoSQL databases (i.e. Apache HBase™, Apache Cassandra™, and MongoDB).

Hadoop and its fast growing ecosystem of open source projects have quickly become first-class technology assets, regardless of the organization’s size or geography,” said Rick Farnell, co-founder and senior vice president International, Think Big, a Teradata company. “Think Big’s international expansion will allow us to effectively share our expertise and support our customers. To support its growth, Think Big is aggressively recruiting talented individuals to fill a variety of positions in sales, data engineering, data science and project management.”

Will be very interesting to see how the partnership evolves and the case studies that result. Remember – send your clients to the enter into the Super Nova Awards to be considered. It’s a great honor and Constellation Research is looking for innovators who are disrupting business models and using data to do that. Especially in click-stream data.

@drnatalie

VP and Principle Analyst, Constellation Research

Covering Marketing, Sales and Customer Service to Provide Great Customer Experiences

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Will the Internet of Things Change When the FTC Changes the Internet Into A Public Utility? AT&T and Verizon May File Lawsuits

We in the tech world have been focused on the Internet of Things and how everything is connected or will be. What will be interesting to see is how the Internet of Things may change if the FTC changes the Internet to a Public Utility. The story in Venture Beat talks about the how the FTC,  Federal Communications Commissionchairman Tom Wheeler is going to release a new regulatory approach affecting the Internet. The change is set to be effective Feb 26. The source from Venture Beat suggests that after the Title II reclassification becomes official, AT&T and Verizon will file lawsuits almost immediately.

The reclassification of the Internet as a public utility-like telecommunications service as defined by Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. The Title II reclassification will apply to both wired and wireless broadband.

The bill is sponsored by a several Republicans — Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and has almost no support from congressional Democrats. The Republicans will need a certain critical mass of Democratic support to make the bill progress and to apply pressure on the president to sign it. And from what we’ve seen in Washington D. C. the ability for the two parties to collaborate on anything is pretty iffy.

The reason the FCC was forced to create a new “Open Internet” regulatory plan was because Verizon sued the commission over its legal standing to regulate network neutrality — and won. In the Venture Beat article it said that Hank Hultquist, AT&T’s VP of federal regulatory set the tone for his brand’s positioning on the change in a blog post. He says that AT&T’s position that the broadband service it sells is actually an “information service” and not a telecommunication service as described in Title II. It also says that the FCC simply has no authority to reclassify broadband without first completing a complete study of the existing marketplace. When the FCC has to defend reclassification before an appellate court, it will have to grapple with these and other arguments,” Hultquist wrote.

The reclassification to Title II will give the commission the legal framework and the authority to enforce network neutrality rules on Internet service providers (ISPs) like Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast. The commission will be able to make sure no carrier gives priority to one Internet content provider’s data packets over those from another.

Those that are for the change for a Title II reclassification believe the move is necessary to permit the FCC to collect universal service fees on data service and to implement privacy regulations. The threat of the lawsuits, and prospect of months or years of legal wrangling, is making many people nervous. It will be interesting to see what happens. The Internet of Things has suddenly become the Internet of Controversy. Hopefully it won’t spoil the plans of all the people and tech companies that have built their dreams on the idea of the Internet of Things.

@drnatalie
VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

 

 

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