Panel Session: The Role of Software in Managing the Digital Customer Journey

By Natalie Kerns in Posted Oct 21, 2016

Siemer Summit panel

I sat in on a panel at Siemer Summit entitled, ‘The Role of Software in Managing the Digital Customer Journey.’ Paul Weiskopf with Domo, Marina Kalika with Nuance and Calvin Lui with Unified all agreed that data is crucial for connecting intelligently with consumers, and that software companies need to think about how they’re going to ingest and normalize this data for their customers.

The moderator opened with these thoughts:

Whether you know it or not, you’re being marketed to every single day. Brands and retailers are using data and leveraging software to make more informed decisions about how to market to you, how to convert you as a customer, and make you reacquire you come back and buy more.

When you look at the collection of customer interactions, data and feedback, it can go across multiple channels. A lot of brands are trying to tie that data together. How does TouchCommerce do that?

Marina Kalika - Whenever a customer is doing research on the website, or they’re using customer support, or they’re trying to buy, that data is being collected. They collect all the data, all of the transcripts from the live chat or virtual assistant, and provide all of those insights back to the brand to learn about the consumer. Consequently, we’re able to deliver an engagement experience that’s relevant to them.

There is a rise of big data, visualization, and machine learning. How does DOMO leverage data to help CEOs make more informed decisions?

Paul Weiskopf- DOMO has seen a tremendous growth of data. The speed of decision making in businesses in slowing down.The percentage of decisions made at companies by gut choice is still at 90%. That’s despite empirical evidence that says that companies that leverage multiple data sources outperform their peers.
DOMO makes it possible for executives to understand in real time performance versus goals, and take actions that can optimize business goals. That’s enabled by a platform that connects natively to over 450 data sources that really span all functional areas of the business - marketing, sales, clients, HR, supply chain, and other solutions.

Have you seen customers leverage the bots or AI that’s integrated in Touch Commerce?

Marina Kalika - We definitely do. We say that AI is human support. In our business, we’re doing customer engagement across all channels - stores, advertising, web, mobile, social. We enable our customers to use virtual assistants to start the conversation, but always know that we need a combination of AI and human support. By using AI and chatbox, the simple questions can be answered, and the support people can stay focused on more complex conversations and questions.

Omni channel retailers struggle with online to offline. What kind of data information does an exec need in order to manage the multiple locations, multiple channels and how do you integrate all of that data together in a unified view?

PW: Take marketing, executives, for instance. For them, the context is generally around the optimization of marketing effectiveness across online and offline. The reality is that the underlying data for just the marketing execution sit each in separate silos. There are many solutions do a good job of pulling all of that together, but that’s only part of the picture. You need to financial information, information around if you have field sales, travel expenses associated with it. We enable an easy mapping and combination of data pulled from all of your relevant data systems to create an integrated view to understand performance versus goals.

When I talk to CMOs, they constantly tell me that when they’re building out a marketing stack, helping them increase the effectiveness of their marketing dollars and make better decisions. One of the things they say is that this data is siloed, and none of them talk to each other. In trying to make decisions quickly, effectively and holistically, how do marketers solve for that, when at the end of the day they’re just trying to optimize for the consumer?

Calvin Lui- You’re seeing this massive trend in tech investment from marketers themselves. Marketing depts are now influencing half of the IT investments within an enterprise. The hard part is historically you didn’t have all of this data thats available. And the data that was available was very hard to connect together. So even when you say I want to use data to make decisions, it difficult to do so not just from within an internal enterprise, but with third party data.

The first step is to ingest all of that data together by using the latest technology to pull data from other systems of record. For example at Unified, we have no interest in ever being a CRM platform or eComm engine, but want to pull data in and ingest it in an easy way.

Think about social publishers. Facebook is generating 10X the amount of data on a daily basis than the NY stock exchange. That’s a lot of data. And they change their API endpoints of how they present that, and we have to keep up with that to ingest that data. Then mix it  together by normalizing and building BI on top of that. FB has a different ad metric format etc different than Twitter, then Snapchat, then Pinterest. You have to normalize that data. So even before you get to the problem of visualization and AI, you have to be able to ingest this data. 650B is spent on marketing, a third of which will be spent on the technology used to ingest and normalize this data.

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There’s more data than ever before. With that comes opportunity and responsibility for organizations: The opportunity to leverage data and software effectively to better understand customer preferences, and the responsibility to serve up personalized experiences to cut through the noise and capture our attention.

AI, data scientists, visualization tools and dashboards help make sense of this data in a holistic way, but as Calvin pointed out, the first step is the ingestion of data. With the proliferation of data sources and APIs, the task of consuming and maintaining these APIs becomes extremely difficult.

With 400+ native connectors, I see DOMO leading the charge for developing software that breaks down these silos natively from within their app. They’re not asking their customers to purchase an ESB tool or to write to DOMOs API - they’re owning this responsibility. And because of that, they have dominated their industry and set the standard for others to follow. We believe that all software vendors have the responsibility to not only develop tools to make sense of data, but to make it easy for their customers to pull in data from any of other other applications they use to run their business - CRM, marketing, help desk, finance, eCommerce, etc.

Our vision is to enable SaaS companies to build connectors to the ecosystems of apps used by their customers, keep up with the maintenance of the existing APIs, and be poised to connect with the next set as data and APIs continue to proliferate.