Millennials Want to Give You Their Data

In an interesting article, E-consultancy recently highlighted the famous 2011 Wall Street Journal article “Why software is eating the world’.

Six years on from that article, we have seen how digital technology has driven a huge shift in our daily lives with a proliferation of data, online customer service, customised experiences, bigger expectations, machine learning, artificial intelligence and increased automation to name just a few.

Every one of these elements depends on data or as e-consultancy nicely puts it “torrents of data”.

Once upon a time, consumers were reluctant to share their details with brands for fear of bombardment and junk messages. Direct marketing was a dirty task, advertising on TV was not to be trusted and only ads that made you laugh or cry resonated.

Yet here we are in a digital world where consumers can now see the value in you knowing a bit more about them. Cookies are no longer a thing you eat, but a way for companies to help you get more out of your online journey. Most of us prefer messages that are relevant and timely and to have those, we accept that brands need to know more about us.

FACT about sharing information.

As consumers, we are driving digital transformation and we are accommodating the businesses who are shaping their offerings to meet that demand. And with one in three brits now opting in to brand communication (thank goodness with GDPR insisting on it), they are clearly expecting great things.

Digital transformation is well underway. So how is the journey going for you?

With GDPR looming ever closer, this is not just a polite reminder that you might like to think about your data infrastructure and marketing activity, it’s a plea to stop right now and consider how you’re managing and using all that data.

 

Five Steps for Better Data Analysis and Use

 

  1. Data Management

Data is only as useful as its storage and use.  Bearing in mind that GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations) are on the horizon and come with large penalties, the right data infrastructures and processes are critical.  Your data environment needs to be GDPR compliant and allow you to capture individual interactions as they happen against one record.

 

  1. Connection

A Single Customer View will allow you to join the dots between online and offline customer journeys. Your customers will have a better experience and you will be able to use the data to spot opportunities and patterns within a client group. You’ll also see what is and isn’t working. As a result, ROI can’t help but improve.

 

  1. Deeper Knowledge

Customers expect you to know them. To know what they booked or did last, what they might want to do next and on what terms. You can’t do any of that without better use of data.

 

  1. More Creativity

When you know who you’re marketing to and what makes them tick, you can be more creative in your messaging, reflecting them in your materials and interacting with them more meaningfully on social platforms too. With the right system, you can then watch those interactions and manage them.

 

  1. Understanding your ROI

When you are operating a CRM system that has been carefully tuned to your business’ needs, people and processes, you will be in a better position to plot your customers’ journeys and attribute online and offline channel success.

 

Want to know more?

Take 20 minutes with us and discover what Digital Transformation means for your business and how you can create a better customer experience and journey.

Date: Thursday 17th August

Time: 12pm BST

Attendees: Sales, Marketing, IT and Data Officers who use (or are considering) CRM for data management, inbound marketing efforts and email marketing.

 

During the webinar, we will discuss:

  • What is Digital Transformation?
  • GDPR, a catalyst for positive change?
  • Creating a better customer experience and journey.
  • How Microsoft’s platforms and tools come together for unrivalled process, productivity and insight.
  • What areas of productivity and process your business could be considering now to ensure success and growth in the future.

 

Register now. It takes seconds and if you can’t join us, you can still register here and we’ll email you the recording to watch in your own time.

GDPR, a catalyst for positive change

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There are two ways to look at the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).

For businesses already digitally underway, it’s another important tick in the box for compliance and best practice. They may even identify a few opportunities to enhance what they’re already doing.

However, if you’re in a business that’s been dragging its digital heels, it could be the difference between growth and being left behind. The businesses in your sector that identify the opportunities of GDPR will not only comply with it and avoid heavy penalties, they’ll reap the benefits of having been forced to look at their processes.

Yes, there will be those who simply just tick the boxes and essentially plaster over the cracks that GDPR has revealed but that is a massive missed opportunity. If businesses that are digitally behind don’t untangle their existing processes, they are adding knots and loops to deal with further down the line as more and more data sources demand more and more processes.

In contrast, the businesses who use the time between now and May next year to properly review their processes and systems can look at their overall digital fitness and get an edge over the competition who haven’t bothered.

Here’s how:

Mapping the policies and processes that surround how you use and collect data will give every department ideas for business development.

Better data means better relationships. Not only that, it will ensure a better start to your customer journey as people will be parting with their data with more awareness of exactly how it will be used. People who don’t want to engage won’t provide their data. So, no wasted time chasing, and no resentment before you even begin communicating.

Technology can power most of the internal change needed and can, in the case of Dynamics 365, join up all the disparate systems in a business. That brings a massive benefit; a 360-degree view of every customer. Suddenly it’s easier to engage with customers with the right information at the right time as well as have end-to-end data governance. When all that information is in one place with the intelligence of Dynamics 365 wrapped around it, it becomes more powerful.

Reporting and Decision Making become so much easier when the data can interact across departments on the back of active data.

Staff Adoption of the new GDPR processes could be the difference between compliance and a huge fine. It stacks up that the easier staff find the new processes, the less likely non-compliance is. So again, the businesses that look to consolidate their systems into one familiar space are already ahead of the game.

How much of an opportunity do you see for your business as we march towards the GDPR?

Watch our essential GDPR webinar for more information.

Industry 4.0 isn’t just about manufacturing!

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When you think of Industry 4.0, what springs to mind?

It’s the new buzz phrase for the combination of industry and the current Internet of Things (IoT) technology. First, there was Industry 1.0 (when water and steam power mechanized production), then 2.0 (hello electricity) and 3.0 (digital arrives) revolutions. This fourth revolution is moving at an exponential rate and is disrupting nearly every industry in the country. As with the previous industrial revolutions, manufacturing has been the forerunner for adoption making use of new technology for flexible manufacturing, 3D printing and self-regulating machinery (amongst many others).  The McKinsey Institute expects Industry 4.0 applications to create a new surge of factory productivity. So with AI, automation and supply chain technologies now part and parcel of ERP, what does Industry 4.0 mean for the rest of us?

eConsultancy reports that by 2020, customer experience will have overtaken price and product as a key brand differentiator. Companies are expected to deliver reliable customer service across channels 24/7. Technology is moving quickly to support it but the best results happen with human input.

 

Bots Are a Great Example

In a customer service context, bots can determine intent behind users’ questions. The addition of Artificial Intelligence (AI) makes deep learning from customer information possible so that bots can be further customised. But there are some situations when an automated response just isn’t good enough. So the answer is in understanding what the use cases are for either bots or people. The interaction of your people with the technology will teach it the tougher questions and it won’t be long until we see support products that will alert human operators when AI confidence is low. The big win is freeing up agents for the more complex situations making it possible to deal with more of those whilst the bots deal with the straightforward stuff and continue to learn.

 

Predictive Analytics Give Insight Humans Can’t Find

Predictive analytics is about finding patterns in a vast amount of data and getting actionable insight out of it.  New predictive algorithms can make something of the swathes of data that is sitting dormant across systems and provide the information that points the directions a business should be moving in whether that relates to cross sell opportunities, identification of a recurring problem or missed opportunities, estimating conversion from digital campaigns and making optimization recommendations, the analysis of social sentiment and profiles.  Of course, it works best when data from various departments is sitting on one system that can bring it together as a jigsaw.

 

Old School Values With New Technology

Customers increasingly value personal experience and digital technology has become the means to provide it. If you are reviewing your systems and software, make sure you are seeing the various parts of your business as a jigsaw. The most effective systems are those that can work for every department off one platform to allow bots, predictive analytics and automation to continually improve and provide that customer experience and business direction.

 

So do your homework. Create a strategy. Have the right team and the right tools. Focus on improving processes and then implement the new technologies that will best serve your strategy. Any software partner worth their salt will scope with you and really get to know your business. This isn’t just about comparing functionality, but understanding your customer journey and your business.

 

More questions?

Interested to learn more about Industry 4.0 and how it affects your business? Watch our Industry 4.0 webinar now.

The Microsoft Toolkit for every Customer Stage

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Please click on image or click HERE to view as a high-res PDF

The Microsoft Toolkit for every customer stage

The Microsoft Tools for Digitally Optimised Customer Service

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Please click on the image below or click HERE to view a high-res PDF version.

The Microsoft Tools for Digitally Optimised Customer Service

Infographic – The Microsoft touch points for customer service in manufacturing

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The Microsoft Touch Points for Customer Service & Manufacturing

Digital White Noise

Back in January, we looked at what digital transformation means these days and on the 16th of this month, we’ll be walking you through how Microsoft are tackling it with Dynamics 365.

A recent Insurance Age article described how the industry’s structure is shifting but that it’s not yet certain who will gain and who will lose. They went on to say “Some things are certain though. Only the digital will survive. And in the new world, it’s not about big eating the small anymore, it’s the fast eating the slow”.

The UK Government recently announced £4.7 billion of funding for the research and development of future technologies such as smart energy, the Internet of Things (aka doing more online), robotics, AI and 5G networks as a part of the wider industrial strategy for the UK. Digital and STEM education, business support, clean energy and digital infrastructure are huge areas of focus.

Just last week, The Telegraph reported how tech groups and investors view Trump’s ban on immigration as a potential boost to the British technology scene, as US tech groups may choose to expand international operations at the expense of domestic hiring, and UK start-ups think twice about expanding to Silicon Valley.

They go on to describe how “London has become a major hub for American technology companies, undaunted by the Brexit vote. In recent months, Google announced plans to employ 7,000 people in London by 2020 and Facebook said it would hire 500 this year alone, both at new offices. Apple, Amazon and Snapchat have all announced hiring sprees in the capital.”

Every industry is undoubtedly a tech industry now and reading this, you’d be forgiven for feeling the pressure to join or lead the charge.

Stop. Think about these questions:

  • What are you hoping the technology will do for your business?
  • What are your bigger corporate objectives and is tech required to facilitate those and over what term?
  • What processes and systems do you currently have in play?
  • Is what you think you need right now, what you will need in the future?
  • How do your employees currently work and is the culture ready for change?
  • How will you make that happen?

One of the main reasons we are hosting a webinar on digital transformation is to outline the importance of these questions and (no surprises given our Gold Partner status and all the knowledge we have) to talk about how they are providing the integration and scalability to get businesses on the journey wisely and intelligently.

Here’s the key thing. Every business’ digital transformation journey will be different. So, yes, read up and know what’s available. Understand what other businesses in your sector are doing. But don’t jump on any bandwagons. Look inwards first.

Find out more information by watching on our Digital Transformation Webinar.