3 min read

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.

3 min read

The Big Data Challenge for Marketers

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When we meet our clients for the first time, there are usually five immediate discussions.

The first is about how Dynamics365 will make processes and people more effective. That’s an easy one. The next four questions revolve around data – big data (size isn’t everything), data management (management is not the same as insight), storing it (cloud, cloud, cloud) and understanding it (not the what, the how).

If you are creating marketing campaigns for a product or service with a relatively short customer lead time, the chances are you are selling lots of that product or service and accumulating vast amounts of data. Data counts mean nothing if you don’t understand them.  Some (from the old world of marketing) would describe it as transactional but as we all know, a transaction is informed by context and, regardless of lead-in time, every customer is a potential relationship or referral.

How do you make that transaction mean more?  It’s not enough to manage the data better. It’s true that data is only as valuable to your business as what you do with it. If it doesn’t ultimately help you make more confident, productive decisions, spot lucrative opportunities and halt underperforming activities, it’s holding you back.

It’s 2017 though. This is not fresh news.  So what gives?

Thanks to digital technology and the realisation of customer experience, marketing plays a huge role in the entire customer lifecycle. To be effective, marketers need access to a myriad of different data sources to connect to get the 360 view of the customer. The cross-business collaboration needed can be a struggle.

There are three key differences between the marketing departments of leading businesses and those that lag behind.

 

  1. The right data

According to Openrise, 54% of marketers would cite poor data accessibility as a key barrier to data management success. 44% cited poor data quality and as a sign of the times, 37% cited poor database integration. We’d argue that the accessibility and integration points are one in the same and can be remedied with the right platform and that in time, data quality could also be addressed.

 

  1. Knowledge and Skills

There’s no point having the right data in the right place without the right people to analyse it properly. It’s a difficult one as it’s only been the last few years that marketers have needed this data focus. A cross-discipline approach across the business makes sense with Business Analysts and IT contributing. That lets marketers focus on their main skill set instead of spreading their efforts too wide whilst we wait for the next generation of marketers to join the ranks.

 

  1. Creativity

Marketing is a creative process. Content is still king so the challenge is integrating the work being done to make marketing more data driven, with the work being done to engage customers with better experiences.

Introducing Dynamics 365 has taken our conversations up a gear. Even businesses with a huge amount of data lack information that ultimately delivers decision-making confidence. Eyes light up when the penny drops that the common data model means no more silos. Information to pinpoint future opportunities is more accessible; whether it’s marketing effort, sales pipeline issues, budget reallocation, product development or expansion into new markets.

Find out more information by watching our High Volume Marketing webinar.