Beyond The Clouds – Towards Frictionless Value Creation

With AWS Summit in Sydney just around the corner, I’m suggesting we should be aiming beyond the clouds and towards frictionless value creation.

Whether you’re an enterprise customer consuming cloud services, an established AWS partner like Contexti, specialising in Big Data Analytics, or a startup thinking about leveraging Cloud, IoT, Artificial Intelligence or whatever tech comes next, we (ought to) understand that it’s not about the technology but the business enablement these technologies provide.

But I’m wondering what is possible if we change our aim ever so slightly? Can we improve our collective mindset and create better outcomes for our customers?

I’m suggesting we change the narrative from talking about ‘journey to the cloud’ (or any other tech) to ‘journey towards frictionless value creation’.

Consider for a moment all our experiences that are super convenient. Just thinking about my own past week, using Uber for getting a ride, using electronic tickets on my mobile to scan through my kids at the movies, using face recognition at the airport to speed up getting through customs, using contactless cards to make payments (Paywave / Tap and Go), using iTunes for buying and downloading music and now exploring Alexa, enabling me to get things done (order services, get answers from the internet) with voice commands.

In each of these examples the product and service vendors created frictionless value, which is why I will keep coming back to these services and will happily pay for the convenience. While these examples used here are consumer products and services to make the point easily relatable, I believe our experience in the enterprise (business to business) should be no different. Whether we like it or not, consumer experiences have set the bar for our expectations and has become what we need to achieve in the enterprise, that is, frictionless value creation.

So how do we get to ‘frictionless value creation’?

It’s a constant work-in-pogress. There is always additional friction we can be taking away from our customer’s experiences, and when we think we’re done, we’ll have another set of technology platform shifts, new service integrations or new set of expectations to meet.

Here are some considerations for getting started towards frictionless value creation:

 

#1 Reset Goals, Narrative & Mindset

As per my arguments above, if we change our message from ‘journey to the cloud’ to ‘journey towards frictionless value creation’ we are in effect setting a better goal, we’re changing our narrative and our mindset. This level of awareness alone will yield better conversations both internally and with our customers.

#2 Seek Problems

This won’t be the first or last article that will talk about ‘get to know your customers’. However to create frictionless experiences, near-enough won’t be good-enough. So we need to get deep with customers, understanding their intent, desires, environments, experiences and challenges to bubble up problems, blocks and frictions.

#3 Go Niche

To be successful, we need to start with a narrow focus, a tight niche and we must sweat the the small stuff. That’s what sets apart great products and services from all others.

#4 Look for Ecosystems

In an ever connected world, every product and service is part of an ecosystem. We should be looking out for the one or many ecosystems we play in or ought to play in. Then we need to figure out how we can benefit from the ecosystem and how we can add value to the ecosystem.

#5 Understand Emotion

To truly understand if we’re succeeding towards frictionless value, we must also understand the costs and benefits of the changes we are imposing on our customers. With all our so called ‘efficiencies’ we must not overlook the human factors that are often personal and emotional. We must keep in mind, innovation is technology change that results in value. People won’t accept the change if we’ve neglected their emotions.

 

By: Sidney Minassian – Founder & CEO, Contexti – Big Data Analytics

 

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Seven West Media selects Cloudera, Contexti and Amazon Web Services to deliver innovation in audience engagement

“Over the two weeks, we delivered 2.7 million emails across 108 targeted campaigns triggered by audience behaviours. The results of the program were compelling. We measured a 29% increase in the average minutes streamed by users who engaged in the program when compared against a control group,” said David Miller, director of Data and Business Intelligence at Seven West Media. “Our data solution has transformed how we can understand our audience as well as how we can proactively engage them.”

Seven West Media (SWM) engaged Contexti to assist in the design, build, and management of a modern data platform to support SWM’s evolving digital strategy, aimed at delivering much deeper insights into viewer behaviour.

The solution was run as a pilot program for SWM’s coverage of the 2016 Australian Open Tennis event, before being expanded to support the extensive and groundbreaking coverage of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in Australia. It now forms the core of SWM’s data capability as the company continues to provide market leading audience engagement and innovative advertising solutions.

Adopting a cloud-first approach, SWM’s data solution runs on Amazon Web Services (AWS) with a Cloudera enterprise data hub at its core providing a fast, secure, and easily scalable platform that can adapt to demand.

“There were two key data challenges that we needed to solve. Firstly, the variety and complexity of the data sources meant that we needed a mature and enterprise-grade open-source data management solution at the core of our data ecosystem. The second challenge for us was the highly variable nature of the events that generated the data, with huge events like the Rio Olympics needing to be supported over and above business-as-usual demand. This drove our decision for a cloud-based solution,” said Sharmaine Salis, head of Data Architecture at Seven West Media.

In preparing for the Rio Olympics, the Contexti team ran comprehensive performance tests to form a clear benchmark. With a high level of uncertainty around data volumes that would actually be generated, SWM took advantage of their cloud-based solution and the new elastic-pricing model from Cloudera.

“Although we were pretty confident in the performance of the system after Contexti’s tests, we decided to err on the side of caution. So, with only one week to go before the Opening Ceremony, we provisioned additional nodes. And a week after the Games, we turned them off again. That is exactly the type of flexibility we needed!” said Salis.

The solution easily transformed the enormous data volumes into the usable data sets to drive a comprehensive suite of dashboards. These were delivered to key stakeholders each day to give executives access to critical audience metrics throughout the event.

This same data was also used to underpin an innovative audience engagement program. Over one million people registered on the 7Olympics app or website during the event. Each user’s level of engagement with the content was tracked across over 200 daily variables and these were used to trigger highly targeted and personalised emails aimed at increasing user engagement.