IBM puts customer engagement products under one roof

TAMPA — IBM has no shortage of software for helping organizations with what is broadly called customer engagement – everything from analytics to price optimization – and separate channels for selling them.

To help businesses take better advantage of its offerings it has folded them under the umbrella brand called ExperienceOne, which now includes eight product families with dozens of products covering marketing, sales, service, and the ability to better integrate them.

The announcement was made here Tuesday on the first day of IBM’s SmarterCommerce conference.

The products themselves – from IBM acquisitions like Tealeaf (customer experience management), Coremetrics (Web analytics and marketing optimization), Unica (enterprise marketing management), DemandTec (SaaS service for retailers), Xtify (mobile push notification), Silverpop (SaaS for marketers), Websphere Commerce and XDX – largely haven’t changed much and are still sold separately, although IBM said new capabilities announced today make it easier for business users to switch between several pieces of software.

But as Kevin Bishop, the new vice-president of ExperienceOne explained in an interview, IBM’s way of selling them has.  Until recently, the products were sold separately; now they are grouped by solution and sold by integrated IBM teams. Solutions are still available through IBM channel partners.

The 10 best practice solutions ExperienceOne has assembled so far include

–Understand your customers using analytics

–Grow customer relationships through marketing

–Personalizing a store

–Serving customers with better experiences

–Delivering better digital experiences

–Curate meaningful customer interactions with personalization

–Converting digital prospects to customers

–Automating B2B sales processes

–Maximizing sales, profit and shopper loyalty through merchandise optimization

–Delivering exceptional experiences across all channels.

Within each of these is a group of IBM on-premise or cloud software and services customers can pick from.

The company also announced it will spend US$100 million 10 more Interactive Experience labs around the world (there already is one in Toronto) to help customers build and integrate marketing-related solutions. It will also hire 1,000 sales and technical support staffers.

Bishop said one of the three changes to software announced Tuesday includes the integration of the separate ability of users track a customer’s Web journey on their sites through IBM Digital Analytics, and analytics  that captures every click through Experience Manager or predictive analytics.

Before IT departments had to integrate these pieces of software for viewing on one screen; now IBM does it (although they are still separate applications) “so as a user it feels like one journey,” he said, “and it’s not obvious to you that you just left one piece of software and went to another.”

Now when marketers discover an unusual movement or pattern they can delve into the data easier. That could give better insight into whether the site design needs to be.

Another solution set enables merchandising professionals to automate price optimization across all physical and digital channels to deliver the right offer to the right customer at the right time, or offer a promotion.

The third uses enhancements to IBM’s customer digital experience software to embed real-time personalized offers to customers into their mobile, social and rich media outlets.

IBM (NYSE: IBM) also announced in June it will launch a SaaS solution called Multi-Enterprise Relationship Management (MRM), which will link its Emptoris supplier selection and assessment management software to its Sterling B2B network and other electronic transaction providers.

John Mesberg, IBM’s vice-president for commerce solutions, explained that while Emptoris helps organizations chose and manage supplier relationships, it didn’t have a transaction capability. In essence, once a supplier had been selected customers had to go elsewhere to do business electronically. IBM wants customers to use MRM to link Emptoris to the Sterling network, but it has included a set of APIs so customers can use an EDI solution of their choice.

Pricing hasn’t been announced.

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]

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