This blog provides a first glimpse at some of the relevant themes and announcements for manufacturers that IBM made at its recent IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit in Tampa, Florida.
The theme for this year's IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit, which took place in Tampa, Florida May 12-15, was "Moments Matter." In his opening keynote address, GM of Industry Cloud Solutions IBM Craig Hayman expanded on this theme by stating the objective of the Smarter Commerce platform is to enable companies to "predict with confidence, act in real time." Hayman then proceeded to identify some of the most important moments in the customer journey, whether it be an in-store retail purchase or an online B2B procurement transaction, and how technology need to be applied precisely at those pivotal moments to support the customer lifecycle.
IBM highlighted its recent success in the Indian automotive industry. In March, IBM announced the deployment of AutoDX, a B2B cloud-based network developed in partnership with the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers and the Automotive Components Manufacturers Association, the two leading industry bodies in the Indian automotive industry. This new exchange, built on IBM Sterling B2B Collaboration Network technology, is the first of its kind for the Indian automotive sector, and is designed to reduce transaction costs and accelerate the movement of the tens of thousands of invoices, purchase orders, and shipping notices that are manually created and routed each day among the companies in the network. AutoDX is an example of how IBM Smarter Commerce is working to optimize supplier networks and manage critical information flows.
For manufacturers, Smarter Commerce Summit provided an opportunity to better understand how IBM can enable them to enhance their customer engagement efforts. The newly rebranded IBM ExperienceOne Customer Engagement Platform was a major announcement on the mainstage during the event. It is a combination of many of the technologies that IBM has acquired in recent years around customer and commerce, including Tealeaf, Xtify, and most recently Silverpop. IBM offered several compelling examples of how manufacturers (and other companies) are using the technologies to interact and engage with their customers throughout the supply chain.
I sat in on a high-tech industry roundtable on Monday, where business and IT leaders from global technology companies discussed their current challenges and strategies regarding customer experience. One of the main takeaways I had from the session is that leading manufacturers "get" the need to reframe their point of view to the customers, at every interaction point, and from supplier all the way out through channel to the end customer. For manufacturers, the "customer" can be many things, and these business leaders were highly aware of the opportunities new technology is giving them to connect and enhance the customer relationship. But it also brings with it many challenges, as things like independent B2B networks are somewhat distancing these manufacturers from a direct relationship to their B2B customer. Many of these manufacturers were well on the path toward developing a customer experience strategy, and some have even built centers of excellence to achieve this. I spoke with a reporter at the Smarter Commerce event about customer experience and what it means for manufacturers, and some of the takeaways can be found in this article.
Getting back to the "moments matter" theme of the Summit, IBM had two inspiring mainstage sessions with the renowned filmmaker Ron Howard and Sally Hogshead, an advertising and personal brand expert. Each had a different perspective on moments and customer experience, and it was entertaining to apply their insights to technology and business. Hogshead has a new book being released this year, How the World Sees You: From First Impressions to Lasting Value. The book seeks to identify 47 personality archetypes and, through a guided self-assessment, help the reader identify his or her profile and understand how the world sees them. As Hogshead believes, this insight can be used to communicate better with peers in business and build a team of professionals to succeed. In other words, find out how to best communicate in business interactions with partners, customers, and team members, to make the greatest impact on moments that matter.
It was an entertaining exercise, as the entire audience had access to a free evaluation. I'm The Ringleader. If you check it out, be sure to let me know what profile you are!