Published on the 25/10/2016 | Written by Donovan Jackson
Dynamics Day serves up a smorgasbord of Microsoft…
It is an exciting time in the Microsoft world, with the recent preview of Dynamics 365, a new version of NAV just released, including a ‘financials-only’ package targeted at the likes of Xero and MYOB users, an updated version of its upmarket AX in market earlier this year and a general tightening of the links between the vendor’s enterprise software, Office suite and its Azure cloud computing platform. But what is it all for?
At least a good part of that answer is in the by-now somewhat tired notion of digital transformation. Putting some context to Microsoft’s developments, Intergen’s Richard Brown and Lee Stevens took to the stage for a tête-à-tête at last week’s Dynamics Day. Stevens started off with an elegant definition of what ‘digital’ is all about: “It’s about engaging through any digital touchpoint.”
Engaging goes beyond the one-way traffic of dissemination and implies interacting one-to-one, he added. “Brand messaging is replaced with communications, creating an emotional connection and interacting. It is two-way and about listening and not talking at customers and stakeholders, and digital is the preferred channel,” he said.
Upending the familiar refrain, Stevens said context is king, content is queen and community is prince. Context is king, he explained, because it is necessary to get the right message to the right person at the right time; quoting a finding from eConsultancy, 74 percent of people, he said, are frustrated if content delivered to them has nothing to do with their interests.
Context depends on gathering and using customer information to get an idea of who he or she is and what the individual wants. Providing a few examples, Brown riffed even further on the exhausted ‘bring your own…/choose your own…’ theme, and said Amazon shopping, with its highly personalised experiences, delivers a ‘choose your own adventure’ experience, effectively shortening the time taken to find the stuff you want to buy.
It’s a mass personalised world, in other words, and customers (unsurprisingly) rather like the illusion that they are unique and special.
But, Brown noted, the ability to deliver those customised experiences takes a conscious effort powered by the necessary enabling technology. He said Forrester Research has shown that 53 percent of top companies don’t have the connected platform necessary to deliver those experiences; again citing Forrester, he said web content management is the key, with a content management system to enable and empower the rapid creation of and changes to content to push it across multiple platforms, including social media, email, instore digital marketing, and more.
“It’s digital marketing with analytics and insight, personalised across multiple channels – digital commerce in which the CRM and ERP systems are fully integrated,” he said.
Marketing automation, added Brown, is necessary to achieve the bidirectional exchanges earlier described by Stevens.
Notably, when delving into the required strategy, much of the mechanics doesn’t sound like anything new: it should be linked to outcomes, it is necessary to break down silos, and information should move freely across platforms and channels. What is perhaps new is the granularity which is implied by mass personalisation – the targeting of the individual at the centre of the frictionless information creation and exchange. “You need to remove barriers and establish cross functional teams,” said Brown, “And you can’t force or dictate the customer journey, but rather need to enable it.”