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Analytics minus data

The use of analytics is critical in mapping consumer behaviours, but there is a key underlying question which is often not addressed: are marketers leaving important data out? DANNY DREW, Managing Director of Avaya South Africa goes on to explain.

The digitisation of business has spread the ‘customer experience’ (CX) right across organisations. Managing and understanding customers is no longer confined to frontline sales and contact centre staff, but requires constant attention from all employees in order to meet diverse expectations from increasingly-demanding consumers who have unprecedented options at hand.

Marketers, in particular, have become a prominent force in shaping and executing their company’s ‘s CX vision, with many now bearing significant responsibility for customer satisfaction throughout the entire sales cycle. However, the diversification of marketing has placed significant pressure on marketers who are, in many cases, relying on the same budgets and tools they were working with five years ago, if not earlier.

Fortunately, investment in marketing technology (martech) – specifically digital marketing analytics, lead management and multi-channel campaign management – to drive customer experience is increasing. While less than half of organisations use a combination of all three at present, analyst firm Gartner indicates more than 70 per cent of marketers intend to deploy the trio in unison.

The use of analytics from web, social media and CRM applications is critical in mapping consumer behaviours to individualise content and consequently generate meaningful funnels to CX. But there is a key underlying question which is often not addressed: are marketers looking in all the right places, or is important data being left out?

In reality, collecting, collating and analysing data from the three aforementioned sources is relatively simple as consumer interactions through these channels can be easily recorded and segmented. What’s more difficult, and therefore commonly neglected, is data generated in the contact centre. You know those disclaimers that contact centre agents read out about recording the call for quality and training purposes? While those are used as a fundamental component in the professional development of staff, the data collected in them is infrequently analysed or mapped, meaning CX is left fragmented due to the lack of available data.

When Avaya transformed its services delivery model to allow clients to create experiences that aligns to the needs of our clients, we recognised that it needed to be supplemented by an analytics engine capable of generating value from the data garnered through that platform. This would make marketers who were using our customisable tools prepared to proactively and reactively develop strategies based on real customer needs rather than guesswork. Using ‘Oceanalytics’, marketers can create insights and reports using preset or uniquely-developed templates that represented content from all channels. This information can be easily fed across the entire organisation so that contact centre agents were prepared to provide a seamless CX across any channel, and maintain a positive relationship with the customer while switching channels.

CX relies on omni-channel engagement where data is aggregated, contextualised and analysed holistically. This enables marketers – and their colleagues – to gain a broad-picture understanding of unique consumer requirements, and therefore tailor all engagements. Without incorporating data from all channels, organisations will rely on a level of assumption, allowing a disconnect between what customers want and what is being delivered. This jeopardises the relationship with the customer, and ultimately inhibits the effectiveness of marketing initiatives, therefore hurting the bottom line.

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Veeam passes $1bn, prepares for cloud’s ‘Act II’

The leader in cloud data management reveals how it will harness the next growth phase of the data revolution, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

Veeam Software, the quiet leader in backup solutions for cloud data management,has announced that it has passed $1-billion in revenues, and is preparing for the next phase of sustained growth in the sector.

Now, it is unveiling what it calls Act II, following five years of rapid growth through modernisation of the data centre. At the VeeamON 2019conferencein Miami this week, company co-founder Ratmir Timashev declared that the opportunities in this new era, focused on managing data for the hybrid cloud, would drive the next phase of growth.

“Veeam created the VMware backup market and has dominated it as the leader for the last decade,” said Timashev, who is also executive vice president for sales and marketing at the organisation. “This was Veeam’s Act I and I am delighted that we have surpassed the $1 billion mark; in 2013 I predicted we’d achieve this in less than six years. 

“However, the market is now changing. Backup is still critical, but customers are now building hybrid clouds with AWS, Azure, IBM and Google, and they need more than just backup. To succeed in this changing environment, Veeam has had to adapt. Veeam, with its 60,000-plus channel and service provider partners and the broadest ecosystem of technology partners, including Cisco, HPE, NetApp, Nutanix and Pure Storage, is best positioned to dominate the new cloud data management in our Act II.”

Veeam has been the leading provider of backup, recovery and replication solutions for more than a decade, and is growing rapidly at a time when other players in the backup market are struggling to innovate on demand.

“Backup is not sexy and they made a pretty successful company out of something that others seem to be screwing up,” said Roy Illsley, Distinguished Analyst at Ovum, speaking in Miami after the VeeamOn conference. “Others have not invested much in new products and they don’t solve key challenges that most organisations want solved. Theyre resting on their laurels and are stuck in the physical world of backup instead of embracing the cloud.”

Illsley readily buys into the Veeam tagline. “It just works”. 

“They are very good at marketing but are also a good engineering comany that does produce the goods. Their big strength, that it just works, is a reliable feature they have built into their product portfolio.”

Veeam said in statement from the event that, while it had initially focused on server virtualisation for VMware environments, in recent years it had expanded this core offering. It was now delivering integration with multiple hypervisors, physical servers and endpoints, along with public and software-as-a-service workloads, while partnering with leading cloud, storage, server, hyperconverged (HCI) and application vendors.

This week, it  announced a new “with Veeam”program, which brings in enterprise storage and hyperconverged (HCI) vendors to provide customers with comprehensive secondary storage solutions that combine Veeam software with industry-leading infrastructure systems. Companies like ExaGrid and Nutanix have already announced partnerships.

Timashev said: “From day one, we have focused on partnerships to deliver customer value. Working with our storage and cloud partners, we are delivering choice, flexibility and value to customers of all sizes.”

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‘Energy scavenging’ gets funding

As the drive towards a 5G future gathers momentum, the University of Surrey’s research into technology that could power countless internet enabled devices – including those needed for autonomous cars – has won over £1M from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and industry partners.

Surrey’s Advanced Technology Institute (ATI) has been working on triboelectric nanogenerators (TENG), an energy harvesting technology capable of ‘scavenging’ energy from movements such as human motion, machine vibration, wind and vehicle movements to power small electronic components. 

TENG energy harvesting is based on a combination of electrostatic charging and electrostatic induction, providing high output, peak efficiency and low-cost solutions for small scale electronic devices. It’s thought such devices will be vital for the smart sensors needed to enable driverless cars to work safely, wearable electronics, health sensors in ‘smart hospitals’ and robotics in ‘smart factories.’ 

The ATI will be partnered on this development project with the Georgia Institute of Technology, QinetiQ, MAS Holdings, National Physical Laboratory, Soochow University and Jaguar Land Rover. 

Professor Ravi Silva, Director of the ATI and the principal investigator of the TENG project, said: “TENG technology is ideal to power the next generation of electronic devices due to its small footprint and capacity to integrate into systems we use every day. Here at the ATI, we are constantly looking to develop such advanced technologies leading towards our quest to realise worldwide “free energy”.

“TENGs are an ideal candidate to power the autonomous electronic systems for Internet of Things applications and wearable electronic devices. We believe this research grant will allow us to further the design of optimized energy harvesters.”

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