‘Marketing technology doesn’t pose a barrier to analytics, but its pace does’

‘Marketing technology doesn’t pose a barrier to analytics, but its pace does’

Prasenjit Roy, Senior VP and Chief Marketing Officer, NTT Com-Netmagic, on how enterprises can leverage digital tools and analytics for superior business outcomes and greater focus on the customer.

At the core of the any digital transformation project is the success of its omnichannel strategy which, if done right, will take customer experience to the next level. In an exclusive interview with CIO Dialogues, Prasenjit Roy, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, NTT Com-Netmagic, discusses how organisations can leverage a mix of digital technologies and analytics to deliver great customer experiences and better business outcomes.

How has the infrastructure management business changed over the last few years?
The infrastructure management business in India has redefined how operations are conducted in enterprises. It is emerging as one of the fastest growing sectors today. Rising technology trends such as Cloud and BYOD have transformed the space. The traditional and intricate system of servers, storage devices, and networking equipment has now been replaced with IaaS. Small data centres and public Clouds are being put in place instead of large installations. The focus is shifting to products and services to support and enable an organisation’s business strategy. There is a need for leaders to start adopting an application-centric approach to serverless computing, managing APIs and SLAs, rather than physical infrastructures. The value of artificial intelligence (AI) is also increasing and has the potential to fuel organisational transformation. It’s predicted that the global AI-derived business value will reach nearly $3.9 trillion by 2022. There will be an increasing demand on the network thanks to the advent of 5G, Cloud maturity, and the explosion in numbers of IoT devices. The focus for 2019 should thus be on how to help teams increase the pace of network operations to meet demand.

What are some of the recent challenges CMOs in the ICT domain have had to deal with?
One of the key challenges for CMOs is related to legacy issues. Their strategic brand vision is often blocked by traditional processes and systems, which prevent execution. The solutions they come up with must be tailored to the needs of the market and address potential area of concern. Recent research indicates that customer experience will overtake price and product as a brand differentiator by 2020. Given this and the fact that newly introduced technologies are designed to give customers more ownership over their experiences, CMOs must constantly strive to achieve the right balance.

Do you think digital has matured as a customer engagement platform or do we still have some distance to cover before it starts delivering to its potential?
There are several ways in which a company can move up the DX maturity ladder. From a strategic perspective, top management must make digital customer experience an executive priority and align it with the larger corporate strategy to facilitate real improvements. Further, clear channel roles and responsibilities must be defined, along with directions on how to migrate from traditional channels to digital ones.

Organisationally, we recommend creating a dedicated digital team that defines alignment and synergies with other relevant business units—marketing, sales, service, etc. The team must develop KPIs to drive organisational and cultural mindset toward digital experience and streamline operations to create efficiencies and eliminate redundancies. Where possible, current processes must be automated and new ones designed with focus on the customer.

Apart from this, it is important to measure performance with analytics. One should make use of digital and social analytics such as web stats, digital affinity, and micro-segmentation to track progress. Right-time analytics including churn prediction, and cross-sell/up-sell propensity will also allow companies to make the most of their DX activities. For true omnichannel success, there must be a 360-degree view of customer interactions across all channels (digital and traditional) to monitor channel preference, usage, and customer journeys from the perspective of the customers. Much of this analysis can now occur in real time, giving executives actionable insights at the right moment.

It is also important to leverage new digital tools like search engine optimisation (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), community management, web/mobile/social customer care, and digital advertising. The design of any new DX program must be customer-centric and fit into the current customer journey.

Today many marketers use predictive analytics for gaining customer insights. What's stopping them from transitioning to prescriptive analytics where the insights can be gathered in real time?
Prescriptive analytics helps make data more valuable by indicating what is to be used. This transcends predictive analytics, which helps reveal the outcome of a specific decision. Prescriptive analytics essentially opens the door to other possibilities. However, not many marketers have transitioned to using this. While marketing technology does not pose a barrier to the use of prescription analytics, its pace does. Most organisations lack the means to focus more on data science and catch up. Although the technology can be a game changer, it may need to wait for a while. Secondly, there is a need to change the way marketers approach data. Many of them do not think like data scientists, who not only test and experiment but also believe in asking the right questions. The need of the hour is to take proactive steps to foster a data science mindset. Given that the software market for prescriptive analytics is expected to reach $1.1 billion this year, only those marketing leaders who take advantage of this will emerge successful in the time to come.

Content is an important element of customer engagement, particularly in a B2B scenario. But content consumption patterns have been shifting over the last few years. How are you coping with it?
We have shifted our focus and are leveraging new digital tools including SEO and SEM, community management, web/mobile/social customer care, and digital advertising. We are also making digital customer experience a priority and aligning the same with our larger strategy. These are sure to accrue real improvements. It has also been a priority for us to set clear goals when it comes to migrating to digital channels. We have a team dedicated to analysing content consumption patterns that work in synergy with other units such as marketing, sales, and service. They help in making the shift towards digital and streamline operations.