The IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit in Monaco kicked into high gear today, and we've already begun to see news emerging from that lovely city-state by the sea.
IBM unveiled an extensive array of cloud solutions designed for the C-suite, including a big-data and social analytics solution that chief marketing officers (CMOs) can use to get an emotional reading on how customers view their brands.
Cloud computing is quickly becoming essential to C-suite executives. While technology decisions have been made historically by CIOs and IT department heads, the C-suite is adopting cloud computing because they see its ability to transform their front office processes -- marketing, procurement, supplier management, human resources, and legal.
In fact, industry analysts estimate that by 2017, CMOs will spend more on IT than CIOs.
"The cloud opportunity is helping C-suite leaders reshape customer experience," said Paul Papas, Global Leader, Smarter Commerce, IBM Global Business Services. "As part of IBM's digital front office strategy, we see these 100 cloud applications as a way for business leaders to improve customer experience, reach new customers, generate new revenue streams and become more competitive in their industry."
Today's announcement adds to IBM's growing portfolio of cloud capabilities for business, both born-on-the-cloud and born-in-the-enterprise. Earlier this month IBM announced its intention to acquire SoftLayer Technologies Inc., and earlier this year IBM committed to cloud open standards.
IBM SmartCloud Solutions portfolio now includes more than 100 business functions delivered as a service to help professionals make better decisions, differentiate customer experience, go to market, and grow their business.
These innovations are currently being developed and deployed in the IBM Customer Experience Lab, which is dedicated to helping CEOs and members of the C-suite transform the customer experience delivered by the digital front office.
IBM's cloud suites for the C-level executives enable:
- Chief Marketing Officers to analyze, understand, and engage customers in highly relevant, interactive dialogues across digital, social, and traditional marketing channels with digital analytics and marketing automation capabilities from offerings such as IBM Marketing Center.
- Sales and e-commerce leaders to drive omnichannel B2C sales linking mobile, social, web, and onsite locations. B2B sales executives and departments use IBM's sales cloud to manage quotes, negotiate contracts, and strengthen sales performance analytics.
- Customer care and support executives to develop unique service and retention techniques with faster, personalized customer conversations afforded by IBM Watson Engagement Advisor.
- Chief Procurement Officers to strategically manage spend, contracts, and entire supplier ecosystems translating into bottom-line savings for the business.
- Chief Supply Chain Officers and their departments to improve transparency and efficiency across the value chain to enable the organization to profitably satisfy dynamic customer demand.
- General Counsel and other legal professionals to streamline contract management processes, and strengthen intellectual property and risk analytics to better serve their internal and external stakeholders.
- Chief Financial Officers and corporate treasuries to make more analytical, risk-aware decisions supporting revenue, expenses, and compensation processes.
- Chief Human Resource Officers to find, analyze, source, and acquire the best talent and to partner with the rest of the C-suite to enable a Smarter Workforce with internal and inter-company collaboration using IBM SmartCloud for Social Business.
- Chief Information Officers to include those cloud solutions needed by the lines-of-business in a comprehensive IT strategy that ensures security, flexibility in deployment options, and hybrid environment integrations.
Social Media Analytics expands IBM's C-suite cloud portfolio
Today IBM is also announcing its newest addition to the cloud for CMOs: IBM Social Media Analytics, which provides marketers with deeper insights to understand consumer sentiments in social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, blogs, forums, and then to refine products, service levels, and targeted offers accordingly.
This service allows companies to gain a view of consumer perception that is uniquely their own, not industry-wide or owned by a third-party.
Social Media Analytics works to identify, capture, and report on millions of pieces of social data to provide instant feedback on a particular item. For example, social media analytics can help a retail merchandising manager gain a deeper understanding of how a new dress is being perceived by consumers.
Managers can now use this critical feedback by analyzing keywords associated with the dress to better understand buying trends -- if the red print dress is being described by some as too bold, brands can now make recommendations to the designer to adjust to customer preferences.
Clients deploy IBM cloud solutions globally
London-based Speedo, the world's largest swimwear brand, is using cloud-based digital analytics software from IBM's Smarter Commerce initiative and is recognizing the business benefits of IBM's role-based cloud suites. Speedo is improving the shopping experience, resulting in cross-selling revenue increasing by more than 10 percent in online sales -- generating six times more revenue per average order.
The largest online retailer in The Netherlands, wehkamp.nl, delivers a personalized shopping experience for its customers by combining historical data and click-through rates to better understand consumer browsing and buying habits. By applying analytics in a cloud computing environment, wehkamp.nl can develop and change marketing campaigns dynamically, improving the customer experience.
Nielsen Media taps the cloud-based IBM Watson Engagement Advisor to crunch big data in record time to transform the way it engages clients in key functions such as customer service, marketing, and sales.
Now, businesses can better serve consumers with a cognitive computing assistant that learns, adapts, and understands a company's data quickly and easily, enabling users to have IBM Watson at work quickly, while increasing its knowledge and value over time.
Rent-a-Center, the US's largest rent-to-own operator, is working with procurement solutions from IBM's Smarter Commerce initiative with business partner Coupa Software by optimizing and centralizing its purchasing process in the cloud, resulting in millions of dollars in savings.
IBM cloud solutions deployment
In the cloud, IBM clients can start small, deploy departmental solutions, or pursue enterprise-wide projects. They have the flexibility to move from one delivery model to another, integration technologies to manage hybrid environments connecting on-premises and cloud solutions, and a full complement of high-value infrastructure and platform services to support the CIO's comprehensive cloud strategy.
In the business-to-consumer industry, more than 60,000 users of IBM's online digital marketing tools sent more than 130 million emails per month to engage customers.
You can learn more about IBM's cloud suites for the C-suite here.