IBM Amplify Day 2: Seamless Workspaces Are Key for Marketers

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — "More than ever, marketers need to work better together," said Chris Wong, vice president of strategy and product management at IBM Commerce, during his keynote yesterday at day two of Amplify, IBM’s annual practitioner conference. He compared teams to jazz bands that must draw from different sheet music but ultimately play in concert if they're to achieve sound results. "We're really trying to rethink the way marketers work," he said. It's "not just about technology, not about trying to create just a set of tools for you to use." Rather, he said, he would like to make those tools more accessible, easier to figure out.

Yet Wong admitted that "while [IBM's] technology's made things possible, I don't think we've made it easier." For IBM, partnerships have been one response to the problem. Wong reflected on the progress IBM has made through its partnership with Silverpop, which "allowed us to achieve things we never could have done as two separate companies," and the company's alliance with Acxiom, which allowed it to enrich its data sets. "Anything you can imagine is supported through this partnership," said Scott Howe, CEO and president of Acxiom. And Wong says that IBM wants to help "experiment with innovations" that aren’t from partners.

Likewise, upgrades to its own Customer Experience Analytics platform, announced on day one of the conference, were elaborated upon in greater detail during a demo. By integrating more offerings into platform, the company is confident that it has architected a smoother interface that fosters cooperation among separate parts of an organization. For instance, with the addition of baked-in budgeting applications, companies can save time on requests and approvals. Rather than having to log out of the program to enter budgets, the new user interface allows marketers to input a suggested budget and get it checked off within the same system.

The journey-building application in conjunction with analytics also makes it easier for teams to design journeys that better align with their goals. Teams can choose which paths lead to the results that are central to their business, and if a company wants to focus on a specific type of client or end result, the system makes it easier to determine exactly what steps will reach those aims by mapping them out in clear detail.

IBM is also making bridgeable connections between legacy users and those who are picking up the service on a subscription basis. David Haucke, senior product strategist at IBM ExperienceOne, suggested that one of the company’s goals is to make the "stream" or subscription cloud programs more affordable to entry-level companies who are just getting started. "IBM Marketing Cloud is serving a new buyer, folks that have some aspirations but don't necessarily have the staff or the resources to go at a [higher level]," Haucke says.

Customers making use of Customer Experience Analytics say that the software facilitates the flow of teamwork, an absolute necessity for marketers. John Menhinick, global company product director at Aimia, said that the new integrations have added convenience and sped up processes, leading to a more efficient and flexible environment. With it, he says "everybody can engage in the same workplace," he said, saving the hassle of logging in to separate systems.

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