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Businesses and Customers Want More Engagement

Posted by Ishan Kumar on 7/24/15 10:43 AM

Rewind several decades to a time when most commerce was limited to local family-owned stores in small communities. The shop owner knew each customer personally and knew the goods and services their customers wanted. Every interaction was personalized and tailored. Then mass commerce evolved to provide economies of scale and accommodate the growing population. Businesses focused on meeting high volume demands, and the customer experience was homogenized. 

Fast forward to today. Digital business is dramatically changing all of this. As technology innovation makes it possible for brands to interact with customers directly and individually, the personalization of the small store experience is meeting the efficiencies and scale of mass commerce. And both customers and businesses want more engagement with each other.  

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Topics: customer experience

The New Face of Identity Management Is the Customer

Posted by Keri LeBlanc on 7/22/15 12:31 PM

Dave Malcolm is Vice President of Engineering at UnboundID. Through previous executive product positions with Quest Software, Surgient, Motive Communications, and Tivoli Systems, Dave has garnered nearly 25 years of experience leading the development of high technology products targeted to enterprise buyers.

UnboundID: What’s the difference between workforce or employee identity and access management (IAM) and customer identity management systems?

Malcolm: Workforce identity management systems are deployed to reduce security risks by controlling access to applications and also to reduce costs through automating the user provisioning and entitlement processes. Customer identity management systems are deployed to increase revenue by delivering superior customer experiences through the use of customer data. Consumer systems are architected to manage millions or even hundreds of millions of identities whereas workforce systems generally will not scale to those numbers because they were designed to handle, at the most, a couple hundred thousand identities. 

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Topics: customer identity management

Identity Fuels Self-Service Customer Experiences

Posted by Bjorn Aannestad on 7/17/15 10:15 AM

It’s no secret that delivering great customer experiences is becoming more complex. In the past, good customer experiences were defined at a single touchpoint — a friendly customer service or sales representative who handled issues efficiently. In the digital world, businesses must manage experiences on multiple fronts, and as customers shift to more self-service engagement methods, many of these fronts don’t involve human beings at all.

Self-service is growing as a key element of successful customer experiences. The rising adoption of digital devices and immediate access to information mean consumers are always connected, and they want to direct their own experiences with brands. According to Gartner, by the year 2020 customers will manage 85 percent of the relationship with an enterprise without interacting with a human.

Providing good customer experiences over digital engagement points involves a more sophisticated approach than face-to-face interactions. In place of a human being who can connect with the customer, digital self-service models depend on customer identity profiles to enable positive interactions.

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Topics: customer experience, identity data services

Customer Trust Hinges on Respectful Data Use

Posted by Dave Malcolm on 7/14/15 8:53 AM

Chris Calabrese is Vice President, Policy at the Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT). Prior to CDT, Chris was with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), where he led the Washington Legal Office’s efforts in fighting for privacy and the responsible use of technology.

UnboundID: What kind of advice would CDT offer to consumer brands today, regarding protecting the privacy of their customers and adopting respectful marketing tactics?

Calabrese: This is a new age. Everyone is digital, everyone has privacy issues, and every company has data issues. Brands have a ton of personal data, so they must think about security and privacy issues and customer trust. It’s important to build policy issues around privacy.

UnboundID: And it’s no longer enough to simply state your company’s privacy policy on the website and in other customer communications?

Calabrese: It’s still valuable to communicate privacy policies on your website, particularly for regulators. Beyond that, brands and companies need to consider data in terms of trust and how they can handle data in ways that are not off-putting to customers. A good rule of thumb is, don’t make inferences on data on topics you wouldn’t ask customers. I’ve seen data collection practices that infer information about race, sexual orientation and other highly sensitive topics. Customers and regulators are looking back on corporate data use practices today. A CDT staff member wrote about this topic recently, regarding advertisements for egg freezing procedures targeted to women. At a cocktail party, it wouldn’t be appropriate to ask a young woman about her fertility choices. It’s really sensitive information. Companies need to be responsible and carefully consider the messages they are sending through advertising.

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Topics: Data Privacy

Beyond the Marketing Hype: The Not-So-Obvious “I” in Omnichannel

Posted by Emeka Obianwu, VP Channels & Alliances on 7/10/15 8:54 AM

Let’s start with the following assertion: THE biggest strategic imperative for traditional consumer brands, including retail, telecommunications, cable, consumer goods, hospitality, healthcare, consumer banking and insurance, is to successfully execute on an omnichannel customer engagement strategy. Failure to do so will result in decreased market share, diminished brand equity or possibly intermediation.

With this assertion, we’ve established what many across consumer marketing circles would consider obvious. Omnichannel is beyond important. Companies stand to quickly lose the brand equity they have built up through significant investments in brand promotion, marketing, products and customer experiences.

So, what’s the problem? It’s not as if corporations don’t “get it”. Omnichannel as a concept receives significant airtime across boardrooms, analyst briefings and in 10-Qs.

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Topics: omnichannel

Dion Hinchcliffe: Business Transformation in the Era of Digital Everything

Posted by Caroline Castrillon on 7/8/15 9:00 AM

Dion Hinchcliffe, Chief Strategy Officer at Adjuvi, LLC, is an internationally recognized thought leader, business strategist, enterprise architect, book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, and transformation consultant. Dion works with the leadership teams of Fortune 500 and Global 2000 firms to drive successful change with emerging digital methods including enterprise social media, digital business models, Internet ecosystems, workforce collaboration, and the future of work in general.

UnboundID: When it comes to digital transformation, you wrote recently that the root issue is the way organizations apportion leadership and responsibility. Can you explain?

Hinchcliffe: The real challenge is that technology belongs to only a few departments, primarily marketing and IT, and those areas aren’t core to revenues. The digital transformation is very different than just saying we’re adding digital processes. It is rethinking the entire business and CEOs must be the ones saying that we must change. Boards are beginning to put on pressure. Yet most organizations are still very behind if you think about a company like Amazon. But change is possible even for a large traditional company. GM just hired 8,000 mobile programmers. They are going through a massive labor shift reorganizing their business around technology.

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Topics: Digital Disruption

Constructing Identity APIs: What You Need to Know

Posted by Ishan Kumar on 7/2/15 9:30 AM

Digital business initiatives are becoming the driving factor behind many customer experience strategies. As more customers move to mobile and online interactions, businesses are shifting their delivery of products and services to digital methods. It has, and will continue to have, strong ripple effects throughout organizations, but most noticeably for the IT teams tasked with building the customer-facing apps, portals and programs that make digital engagement possible.

Not only are IT professionals handling increased demand for more apps, but they are also creating apps that must serve a wider variety and complexity of functions across a range of different channels, particularly apps that rely on customer identity data. Identity Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), or reusable services embedded with identity data standards and protocols, help IT teams quickly roll out new apps.

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Topics: IAM, APIs

Digital Customer Experience Expectations, IoT Extend into City Government

Posted by Michael Tarbet, VP of Sales on 6/30/15 9:38 AM

Jonathan Reichental, Ph.D. is CIO for the City of Palo Alto, California. He is an adjunct professor at the University of San Francisco, and previously the CIO at O’Reilly Media and the Director of IT Innovations at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

UnboundID: What’s it like to be the CIO of Palo Alto, right in the heart of Silicon Valley?

Reichental: When I talk about some of our successes, people ask me, is it related to being in Palo Alto? There is no question that here in the Valley we have a culture and appetite for risk taking and technology innovation. Because of that, we get a lot of support for the work we do. And as I get exposure to other communities across the country I realize that technology is not always front and center to the solution in government. Here, when we hold an event like a hack-a-thon we get great attendance, so certainly we do benefit from this community. As the CIO I have to be strong and informed so I can shine among all these smart people. I don’t think I need to be brighter than everyone, and there’s no hope of that, but it’s my job to determine how we can be technology leaders for the city.  

UnboundID: What are your goals?

Reichental: When I joined the City four years ago, I wanted to bring best practices to government, such as deploying applications faster. I looked at Lean and Agile to speed things up and this has worked in some specific cases. Other goals include deploying digital city capabilities, implementing IT governance, standardizing service delivery and upgrading the technology infrastructure. I also want to carve out a visionary strategy that gets our people motivated. These are things you can do in every community. The risks we face are that IT is not going fast enough or we go too fast and no one is using what we push out. So it’s a struggle to find the sweet spot. We are close to it, and I work closely with my city manager on this.

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Identity Management Scalability and APIs Support Explosive Mobile App Growth

Posted by Ishan Kumar on 6/26/15 9:48 AM

In the age of digital disruption, the new battleground for market leadership has shifted from price and product quality to customer experience. To deliver the convenient, high value experiences that customers have come to expect, businesses must consistently innovate and be able to roll out new services and apps quickly. 

Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are a key part of helping companies shorten time-to-market and meet increasing demands for more apps across the entire organization. By providing ready access to reusable services that embed key standards and best practices, APIs allow developers to quickly build apps without recreating code again and again. And in the case of customer-facing apps, identity data is the key enabler behind that app’s functionality. As a result, incorporating identity management services is crucial to customer-facing app development.

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Topics: mobile apps, identity and access management

How to Reach Customers in the Moment of Decision

Posted by Dave Malcolm on 6/25/15 9:42 AM

Anders Ekman is President of Data Mentors, a provider of data quality, data management, business intelligence, and Data-as-a-Service (DaaS) solutions. Previously, Anders was Executive Vice President of MRM Worldwide, serving as Eastern Region head and Chief Growth Officer. While at MRM, Anders drove the company’s evolution by bringing data-driven innovation to clients such as the U.S. Army, MasterCard and Kohl’s. Anders has also served as a Senior Vice President at Digitas, building CRM infrastructure and marketing success for the firm’s largest clients, including GM and AT&T Wireless.

UnboundID: One of your offerings to customers is data as a service. Can you explain how this works and where it’s most useful?

Ekman: DaaS is an emerging part of the marketing ecosystem and it’s ultimately about generating new lead sources. In the world of data, the acquisition and use of data is antiquated. Lists are already old when companies buy them. Building predictive models is another antique method. The new method is to reach people in the moment. We see DaaS as made up of a few components: first, sourcing across the Web. We have 200 relationships for data mining to see who is showing in-market activity in the moment. Second, structure the data and merge it with existing customer data to gain a profile of this new customer. Third is delivery. The data has to get into the marketer’s systems in real time so they can react to it quickly. Fourth is to analyze results.

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Topics: data

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