Category Archives: Real-Time

Riding The Wave – Forrester Style

wavepic1

 

Forrester Research, a leading independent analyst firm just released a new Wavetm report about Big Data Streaming Analytics Platforms and in it, Informatica was designated a Leader.

This is exciting news for a number of reasons.

- Personally, as a product leader focused on some of our newer technologies at Informatica, this is a positive sign of wider acceptance in the market.  One might argue it’s the start of a mainstreaming process.  Analyst firms don’t usually release these reports unless there are clear signs of a critical mass of customer interest (among other criteria).  And indeed, in their report, the authors cited Forrester survey data that revealed firms’ use of Streaming Analytics increasing 66% in the past two years.

- To validate product and vendor qualifications, Forrester conducted reference calls with current customers, so thank you to our customers for feedback you’ve provided to the analysts about our Big Data Streaming Analytics platform. It means a lot.

- The authors make an important point in the report when they write “Streaming Analytics is anything but a sleepy, rear-view-mirror analysis of data.  No, it is about knowing and acting on what’s happening in your business – now…The high velocity, white water flow of data from innumerable real-time data sources such as market data, Internet of Things, mobile, sensors, click stream and even transactions remain largely unnavigated by most firms.  The opportunity to leverage streaming analytics has never been greater”  We would agree.

- Finally it’s been an area of importance, investment, and diligent work (aka Blood Sweat and Tears) for Informatica for a while now. This really validates for us that we’ve been carving our surfboard in the right direction and now we are totally stoked that we’ve caught a righteous gnarly wave.

So while we’ll celebrate this accomplishment for today, the work really begins now…

To read the full report, The Forrester Wave™: Big Data Streaming Analytics Platforms, Q3 2014,  hang loose and surf on over here


 

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Posted in Big Data, Complex Event Processing, Real-Time, Ultra Messaging | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The World Cup: Everyday PIM Malpractice

The World Cup: Everyday PIM Malpractice

The World Cup: Everyday PIM Malpractice

If you’re an electronics-loving football fan, you may have used the World Cup as an opportunity to finally buy that coveted new large-screen TV. If you did, you weren’t the only one: In fact, UK retailer John Lewis reported a 47% sales increase on televisions the week of May 31. And, almost without exception, electronics retailers designed special World Cup offers to attract customers.

The World Cup drives a profound number of purchases. These purchases expose a stunning amount of what I call “PIM malpractice.” When there is a sudden surge in online product comparisons, the companies with effective Product Information Management benefit the most. The companies that lack effective PIM lose revenue.

It should be a no-brainer for electronics retailers to make sure their TV category product information is complete and up-to-date. After all, attributes sell. Unfortunately, many retailers still don’t understand the importance of consistent, accurate product information. Product information does sell  – especially online, where shoppers go for product research. This is especially true for a spec-heavy tech purchase like a big-screen TV.

Product information has enormous power. When it is accurate and consistent, it has the power to excite and guide shoppers. When it is incomplete or incorrect, product information can create deal-breaking insecurity.

A case in point:

Let’s for a minute replicate the customer journey to that new TV set. Say you want a new HD TV with a 50-inch screen. Your budget is around $1,200, and your spouse said “yes” under the condition that it’s wall-mountable. You visit an online shop and filter your search by price and screen size. The result: no fewer than 25 models to compare. This is what a detailed view of one of them looks like:

electronics_attributes

Apart from the prioritization of essential information (shouldn’t the screen size be displayed above the model number?), it seems pretty impressive. There are lot of information and explanations (hidden behind the information icons) that make the product take shape in your mind and help you learn what to look for. The only thing that seems to be missing is information about the wall mount…

What we can learn from the comparison function

Once you look at a few products in comparison, however, the situation changes quite a bit. Say you choose four TVs from your filtered search results and hit “compare products.” This is what your screen looks like now:

electronics_compare_products

The comparison view reveals the kind of product information deficiencies that inhibit purchase. Here’s what we can learn from it:

  • Data on all four products was incomplete. One of the first things the customer sees is a whole lot of grey: product information that’s missing. The single product view only gave the available attributes but the comparison function highlights the gaps. And gaps are bad, because…
  • The product with the most attributes sets the standard. Customers look to product information to tell them what they should know. Missing information or an attribute that isn’t defined always look careless – and what’s worse, it makes the product look inferior: If they haven’t bothered, they can’t think too much of the product, right?
  • Product information doesn’t simply exist, waiting to be written down. You have to create it. When it’s designed well, it sets standards and helps your products rise above the competition.
  • The unanswered question is always the most prominent. You still don’t know about the wall mount… And as a matter of fact, whatever far-fetched detail customers may want to know – it will always be the first thing on their mind. It may be their dream TV, but unless they know that one thing, they just can’t buy it.

So when I said in the beginning that brands and retailers don’t understand that product information sells, this is what I meant:

Modern shoppers always research product information, especially when making a major purchase such as TV set. That product information isn’t neutral, or nice-to-have. It is the product. And it needs to be treated with the same care as the product itself.

Retailers need to create their own standards: It’s not enough to just display supplier information. Rigorous quality control and information completion processes need to be in place if retailers want their product information to be better than the competition’s.

Great PIM comes from the customer’s point of view. When designing product information, the customer is the ultimate guide. Immersing oneself in their situation, and investing time and the combined brain power of category experts to think about anything they may want to know – it may the make or break of a sale.

That’s one recent example in one product category.  But the PIM problem can be seen across every retail category and on virtually every retail website or mobile app.

To brands and retailers that get it right, multichannel product information management is a secret advantage. It’s also the best way to leap out of the product comparison tables and into the shopping carts.

Imagine the wall mount is there and helps to convince the mainly male target group. Which information is needed to tailor digital marketing to different personas and target groups, depending on teams, nations, locations or what information can help to personalize marketing to people which are maybe not keen on football. What would attract them?

PIM electronics personalized marketing

What do you think? Did you find the right large-screen TV for World Cup watching? The World Cup shows everyday PIM malpractice. We’d love to hear about your most sought-after but least-found television attribute! (And for more on the importance of product information, check out our ebook “The Informed Purchase Journey.”)

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Big Data Ingestion got you down? I N F O R M A T I C A spells relief

Big Data alike

I have a little fable to tell you…

This fable has nothing to do with Big Data, but instead deals with an Overabundance of Food and how to better digest it to make it useful.

And it all started when this SEO copywriter from IT Corporation walked into a bar, pub, grill, restaurant, liquor establishment, and noticed 2 large crowded tables.  After what seemed like an endless loop, an SQL programmer sauntered in and contemplated the table problem. “Mind if I join you?”, he said?  Since the tables were partially occupied and there were no virtual tables available, the host looked on the patio of the restaurant at 2 open tables.  “Shall I do an outside join instead?” asked the programmer?  The host considered their schema and assigned 2 seats to the space.

The writer told the programmer to look at the menu, bill of fare, blackboard – there were so many choices but not enough real nutrition. “Hmmm, I’m hungry for the right combination of food, grub, chow, to help me train for a triathlon” he said.  With that contextual information, they thought about foregoing the menu items and instead getting in the all-you-can-eat buffer line. But there was too much food available and despite its appealing looks in its neat rows and columns, it seemed to be mostly empty calories.  They both realized they had no idea what important elements were in the food, but came to the conclusion that this restaurant had a “Big Food” problem.

They scoped it out for a moment and then the writer did an about face, reversal, change in direction and the SQL programmer did a commit and quick pivot toward the buffer line where they did a batch insert of all of the food, even the BLOBS of spaghetti, mash potatoes and jello.  There was far too much and it was far too rich for their tastes and needs, but they binged and consumed it all.  You should have seen all the empty dishes at the end – they even caused a stack overflow. Because it was a batch binge, their digestive tracts didn’t know how to process all of the food, so they got a stomach ache from “big food” ingestion – and it nearly caused a core dump – in which case the restaurant host would have assigned his most dedicated servers to perform a thorough cleansing and scrubbing. There was no way to do a rollback at this point.

It was clear they needed relief.  The programmer did an ad hoc query to JSON, their Server who they thought was Active, for a response about why they were having such “big food” indigestion, and did they have packets of relief available.  No response. Then they asked again. There was still no response.  So the programmer said to the writer, “Gee, the Quality Of Service here is terrible!”

Just then, the programmer remembered a remedy he had heard about previously and so he spoke up.  “Oh, it’s very easy just <SELECT>Vibe.Data.Stream from INFORMATICA where REAL-TIME is NOT NULL.”

Informatica’s Vibe Data Stream enables streaming food collection for real-time Big food analytics, operational intelligence, and traditional enterprise food warehousing from a variety of distributed food sources at high scale and low latency. It enables the right food ingested at the right time when nutrition is needed without any need for binge or batch ingestion.

And so they all lived happily ever after and all was good in the IT Corporation once again.

***

If you think you know what this fable is about and want a more thorough and technical explanation, check out this tech talk Here

Or

Download Now and take your first steps to rapidly developing applications that sense and respond to streaming food (or data) in real-time.

 

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Posted in Architects, Big Data, Complex Event Processing, Data Integration, Data Synchronization, Hadoop, Marketplace, Real-Time, Ultra Messaging | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

World Cup of Data: The Early Bird Closes the Sale

Did you know the 2014 Brasil World Cup is actually the World Cup of Data? In addition to the visible matches played on the pitch, eShops will be in a simultaneous struggle to win real-time online merchandise customers.

Let me explain. Jogi Löw, the manager of the German team, is known for his stylish attire. At every major event, each European Cup and World Cup, he wears newly designed shirts and suits. As a result, when television audiences see each new article of clothing, there is a corresponding increase in related online retail activity. When Löw began this tradition, people didn’t know that his outfits were made by Strenesse. As a result, people searched using the keywords “Jogi Löw Shirt.” This drove traffic to the eShop with the best search engine optimization, giving them more conversions and more revenue.

If a manager’s attire drives online retail sales, imagine how much demand there is for the jerseys worn by the most visible World Cup athletes? Many of the these players have huge social media followings. Consider the size of the social media followings of Ronaldo, Kakà, Neymar, Ronaldinho and Wayne Rooney:

football social top5

(Source: http://fanpagelist.com/category/athletes/soccer/view/list/sort/followers/page1)

There is huge demand for these player’s jerseys. This demand will only increase as the games progress. Once the winner is decided, Google searches will rise for phrases like “World Cup Winner Jersey 2014 of xxx”. Some refer to this as the super long tail. And research does show that search queries with 3 or more words have better conversion rates than queries with only 1 or 2 words.

Longtail-image

(Source: http://www.conductor.com/resource-center/research/long-tail-search )

Who can predict the winners?

What happens if a fairly unknown player scores the last goal in over time? How will that event impact social media activity and search engine volumes? Who will be able to leverage this activity to sell the relevant merchandising products fast enough? The eShop with the best data will have the quickest response. And the eShop with the quickest response will get the traffic and the revenue.

The world cup is a battle. The early bird closes the sale. It’s time to play the World Cup of Data.

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Posted in Master Data Management, PiM, Product Information Management, Real-Time, Retail | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Will Social Search Replace Search Engines?

More 60% of shopping journeys start with Google. This is what I wrote in one of my white papers on product information and their impact on omni-channel purchasing decisions. But how long will that be true? We all learned that shopping which is influenced by digital can dramatically change, everyday.

Marketing Sherpa reports this week which channels e-commerce companies are investing in. E-mail marketing, social media, SEO and paid search are listed as top 4 invests.

Channels investments due to MarketingSherpa

Channels investments due to MarketingSherpa

Did you notice the phenomena of social product search? We had BBQ with friends last Saturday and my friend Marco told about his new digital radio he can use for playing music from his mobile devices. That made me think about looking for a Bluetooth or Wifi ready and stylish gadget for my living room. Should not be to big, but pound enough and cool. Wifi or Bluetooth is important because I don’t want any visible cable.

This is what I did next: I posted my question to Facebook, not to a search engine.
As you know, the always connected customer is always online, on his “informed purchase journey”. Within minuted I had a series of recommendations from friends and colleagues. Some posted links to products they recommend. As some friends are know for having much more knowledge than me on consumer electronics, and both confirm same brand names…

social search

My snapshot of a “Social Search”.

What does this mean for easy access to product information and omni-channel commerce?

Keep Us Posted

Internet Retailing Conference & Exhibition (IRCE) is around the corner. See something you absolutely love? Let us know! Keep us posted by using @InformaticaCorp #IRCE2014

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Major Financial Services Institution uses technology to improve your teller experience

Financial Services

Major Financial Services Institution uses technology to improve your teller experience

Like many American men, I judge my banking experience by the efficiency of my transaction time. However, my wife often still likes to go into the bank and see her favorite teller.

For her, banking is a bit more of a social experience. And every once in a while, my wife even drags into her bank as well.  But like many of my male counterparts, I still judge the quality of the experience by the operational efficiency of her teller. And the thing that I hate the most is when our experience at the bank is lengthened when the teller can’t do something and has to get the bank manager’s approval.

Now, a major financial institution has decided to make my life and even my wife’s life better. Using Informatica Rulepoint, they have come up with a way to improve teller operational efficiency and customer experience while actually decreasing operational business risks. Amazing!

How has this bank done this magic? They make use of the data that they have to create a better banking experience. They already capture historical transactions data and team member performance against each transaction in multiple databases. What they are doing now is using this information to make better decisions. With this information, this bank is able to create and update a risk assessment score for each team member at a branch location. And then by using Informatica Rulepoint, they have created approximately 100 rules that are able change teller’s authority based upon the new transaction, the teller’s transaction history, and the teller’s risk assessment score. This means that if my wife carefully picks the right teller, she is speed through the line without waiting for management approval.

So the message at this bank is the fastest teller is the best teller. To me this is really using data to improve  customer experience and allow for less time in a line. Maybe I should get this bank to talk next to my auto mechanic!

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Keeping it “Real” at Informatica World 2014

Keeping it Real

This dog is Keeping it Real

Most have heard by now that Informatica World 2014 will be a unique opportunity for attendees to get new ideas, expert advice, and hands-on demonstrations on real-time data integration products and capabilities at the premier data conference of the year. 

However, it is Las Vegas after all, so for those of you wagering on the best sessions, here’s my quick guide (or morning line) for your viewing, research or attending pleasure.

I hope to see you there.

Tuesday May 13, 2014

BREAKOUT SESSIONS

1:00 PM (GRACIA 8):
ARCH101 – Enterprise Data Architecture for the Data-Centric Enterprise 
How do you build an architecture that increases development speed, protects quality, and reduces cost and complexity, all while accelerating current project delivery?
Srinivas Kolluru – Chief Architect, Southwest Power Pool, Inc.
Tom Kato – Architect, US AirwaysAmerican Airlines
John Schmidt – Vice President, Informatica

 4:45 PM (GRACIA 8):
ARCH113 – Western Union: Implementing a Hadoop-based Enterprise Data Hub with Cloudera and Informatica 
To expand its business and delight customers with proactive, personalized web and mobile marketing, Western Union needs to process massive amounts of data from multiple sources.
Pravin Darbare – Senior Manager Integration and Transformation, Western Union
Clarke Patterson – Sr. Director of Product Marketing, Cloudera, Inc.

 4:45 PM (GRACIA 3):
IPaW132 – NaviNet, Inc and Informatica: Delivering Network Intelligence… The Value to the Payer, Provider and Patient 
Healthcare payers and providers today must share information in unprecedented ways to achieve their goals of reducing redundancy, cutting costs, coordinating care and driving positive outcomes.
Frank Ingari – CEO, NaviNet, Inc.

HANDS-ON LABS

11:30 AM (BRERA BALLROOM/TABLE 17B):
Proactive Monitoring of PowerCenter Environments 
Expert led sessions by Informatica Product Management 45 min Hands-On Labs
Indu Thomas – Director QA Engineering, Informatica
Elizabeth Duke – Principal Sales Consultant, Informatica

 11:30 AM (BRERA BALLROOM/TABLE 32):
Informatica Data Replication 
Expert led sessions by Informatica Product Management 45 min Hands-On Labs
Glenn Goodrich – Sr. Manager Technical Enablement, Informatica
Alex Belov – Senior Development Manager, Informatica
Phil Line – Principal Product Manager, Informatica
Andy Bristow – Product Specialist, Informatica

 BOOTHS 5:30-8:00 PM

2032- PowerExchange Change Data Capture 9.6
2065- Informatica Data Replication
2136- Informatica Real-time Data Integration
2137- Vibe Data Stream for Machine Data

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

BREAKOUT SESSIONS

11:30 AM (CASTELLANA 1)
ARCH109 – Proactive Analytics: The Next-Generation of Business Intelligence 
Business users demand self-service tools that give them faster access to better insights. Exploding data volumes and variety make finding relevant, trusted information a challenge.
John Poonen – Director, Infosario Data Services Group, Quintiles
Senthil Kanakarajan – VP, Technology Manager, Wells Fargo
Nelson Petracek – Senior Director Emerging Technology Architecture, Informatica

3:45 PM (GRACIA 8)
ARCH102 – Best Practices and Architecture for Agile Data Integration
Business can’t wait for IT to deliver data and reports that may not meet business needs by the time they’re delivered. In the age of self-service and lean integration, business analysts need more control even as IT continues to govern development.
Jared Hillam – EIM Practice Director, Intricity, LLC
John Poonen – Director, Infosario Data Services Group, Quintiles
Robert Myers – Tech Delivery Manager, Informatica

3:45 PM (GRACIA 6)
ARCH119 – HIPAA Validation for Eligibility and Claims Status in Real Time
Healthcare reform requires healthcare payers to exchange and process HIPAA messages in less time with greater accuracy. Learn how Health Net met regulatory requirements and limited both costs and expensive rework by architecting a real-time data integration architecture that lets it respond to eligibility and claims status requests within six seconds, near error-free.
Jerry Allen – IT Architect, Health Net, Inc.

3:45 PM (GRACIA 1)
ARCH114 – Bi-Directional, Real-Time Hadoop Streaming 
As organizations seek faster access to data insights, Hadoop is becoming the architectural foundation for real-time data processing environments. With the increase of Hadoop deployments in operational workloads, the importance of real-time and bi-directional data integration grows. MapR senior product management director Anoop Dawar will describe a streaming architecture that combines Informatica technologies with Hadoop. You’ll learn how this architecture can augment capabilities around 360-degree customer views, data warehouse optimization, and other big data business initiatives.
Anoop Dawar – Senior Director, Product Management, MapR Technologies

 HANDS-ON LABS

11:30 AM (BRERA BALLROOM/TABLE 17B)
Table 17b – Proactive Monitoring of PowerCenter Environments 
Expert led sessions by Informatica Product Management 45 min Hands-On Labs
Indu Thomas – Director QA Engineering, Informatica
Elizabeth Duke – Principal Sales Consultant, Informatica

 11:30 AM (BRERA BALLROOM/TABLE 32)
Table 32 – Informatica Data Replication
Expert led sessions by Informatica Product Management 45 min Hands-On Labs
Glenn Goodrich – Sr. Manager Technical Enablement, Informatica
Alex Belov – Senior Development Manager, Informatica
Phil Line – Principal Product Manager, Informatica
Andy Bristow – Product Specialist, Informatica
 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

BREAKOUT SESSIONS

 DEV108 – Informatica and the Information Potential of the “Internet of Things” 
The “Internet of Things” and its torrents of data from multiple sources — clickstreams from web servers, application and infrastructure log data, real-time systems, social media, sensor data, and more — offers an unprecedented opportunity for insight and business transformation. Learn how Informatica can help you access and integrate these massive amounts of real-time data with your enterprise data and achieve your information potential.
Amrish Thakkar – Senior Product Manager, Informatica
Boris Bulanov – Senior Director Solutions Product Management, Informatica

 

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Posted in Complex Event Processing, Data Integration Platform, Informatica Events, Informatica World 2014, Real-Time, Ultra Messaging | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Becoming a Revenue Driven Business Model through Data is Painful for Government Agencies

Recently, I presented a Business Value Assessment to a client.  The findings were based on a revenue-generating state government agency. Everyone at the presentation was stunned to find out how much money was left on the table by not basing their activities on transactions, which could be cleanly tied to the participating citizenry and a variety of channel partners. There was over $38 million in annual benefits left over, which included partially recovered lost revenue, cost avoidance and reduction. A higher data impact to this revenue driven business model could have prevented this.

Should government leaders go to the “School of Data” to understand where more revenue can be created without necessary tax hikes? (Source:creativecommons.org)

Should government leaders go to the “School of Data” to understand where more revenue can be created without necessary tax hikes? (Source:creativecommons.org)

Given the total revenue volume, this may seem small. However, after factoring in the little technology effort required to “collect and connect” data from existing transactions, it is actually extremely high.

The real challenge for this organization will be the required policy transformation to turn the organization from “data-starved” to “data-intensive”. This would eliminate strategic decisions around new products, locations and customers relying on surveys that face sampling errors, biases, etc. Additionally, surveys are often delayed, making them practically ineffective in this real-time world we live in today.

Despite no applicable legal restrictions, the leadership’s main concern was that gathering more data would erode the public’s trust and positive image of the organization.

To be clear; by “more” data being collected by this type of government agency I mean literally 10% of what any commercial retail entity has gathered on all of us for decades.  This is not the next NSA revelation as any conspiracy theorist may fear.

While I respect their culturally driven self-censorship despite no legal barricades, it raises their stakeholders’ (the state’s citizenry) concern over its performance.  To be clear, there would be no additional revenue for the state’s programs without more citizen data.  You may believe that they already know everything about you, including your income, property value, tax information, etc. However, inter-departmental sharing of criminally-non-relevant information is legally constrained.

Another interesting finding from this evaluation was that they had no sense of conversion rate from email and social media campaigns. Impressions from click-throughs as well as hard/soft bounces were more important than tracking who actually generated revenue.

This is a very market-driven organization compared to other agencies. It actually does try to measure itself like a commercial enterprise and attempts to change in order to generate additional revenue for state programs benefiting the citizenry. I can only imagine what non-revenue-generating agencies (local, state or federal) do in this respect.  Is revenue-oriented thinking something the DoD, DoJ or Social Security should subscribe to?

Think tanks and political pundits are now looking at the trade-off between bringing democracy to every backyard on our globe and its long-term, budget ramifications. The DoD is looking to reduce the active component to its lowest in decades given the U.S. federal debt level.

Putting the data bits and pieces together for revenue

Putting the data bits and pieces together for revenue

recent article in HBR explains that cost cutting has never sustained an organization’s growth over a longer period of time, but new revenue sources did. Is your company or government agency only looking at cost and personnel productivity?

Disclaimer:

Recommendations and illustrations contained in this post are estimates only and are based entirely upon information provided by the prospective customer and on our observations and benchmarks.  While we believe our recommendations and estimates to be sound, the degree of success achieved by the prospective customer is dependent upon a variety of factors, many of which are not under Informatica’s control and nothing in this post shall be relied upon as representative of the degree of success that may, in fact, be realized and no warranty or representation of success, either express or implied, is made.

 

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Posted in Business Impact / Benefits, Data Integration, Data Quality, Operational Efficiency, Real-Time | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

An Unexpected Journey – The Informed Purchase Journey

unexpected journeyFor years, a customer’s purchase process was something of “An Unexpected Journey.” Lack of insight into the journey was a struggle for retailers. The journey was fraught with questions about product research habits, purchases and crucial factors that spark purchase decisions.

Today, the customer purchase journey no longer has to be a “guessing game.” Data integration and analytics are able to assist retailers in understanding this journey. To begin, let’s examine how consumer behaviors and the role of product information have changed since the advent of substantial bandwidths and social buying. To do so, lets examine the way shoppers buy today.

The customer buying experience has changed in the following ways:

Shopper-controlled
The days of the single visit to a trusted retailer are behind us. Today’s shoppers are in control. They are hugely aware of their power as consumers, and they’re exercising it freely.

Multichannel 
Buyers aren’t using one specific channel anymore. They’re shopping in stores, online, through mobile apps, on social platforms, and from catalogs simultaneously. Lacking a central focal point, quality data integration and analytics have become imperative to understanding this behavior. Retailers must be able to track the purchase decisions of one consumer as he or she switches back and forth amongst these channels. If done correctly, a retailer would be able to recognize behavior specific to individuals and act on it, serving ads or timely discounts to them.

Social-powered
Purchasing decisions are “crowd-informed.” Recommendations and reviews from peers guide consumers and validate their choices every step of the way. As a result, it has become increasingly necessary for retailers to understand how they are being reviewed. But more specifically, it is important for the retailer to identify and target influential reviewers. If this is done effectively, the retailer may be able to personalize their experience and make that influential consumer feel special. This may seem like a complicated task with small returns, but imagine if they write a positive review that is ultimately read by thousands of people. This could lead to a fantastic return on investment for the retailer.

Search-guided 
Shoppers used to be dependent on a few sources of information. Now with Internet search tools, consumers are able to hunt for answers themselves. As such, retailers must understand what type of information their consumers are searching for. With this information, retailers may be able to update the content on their websites, blogs, or social channels to provide information customers need. To visualize this purchase journey we’ve created the INFAgraphic below.

The-Informed-Purchase-Journey-Informatica

The Informed Purchase Journey – An example of an unexpected journey.

So how can I learn more?

Join us at Informatica World 2014 to learn rich information about retail technology and the “purchase journey.”

The Retail Path track will feature insights from companies including: NikeAvent, Discount Tire, Nordstrom, GeigerIntricity and Deloitte.

Experts will share ways of leveraging your data to boost sales and heighten customer experience. The conference also has a dedicated MDM Day on Monday May 12 with workshops and sessions showing how vendors, distributors, retailers and individuals interact in the “always-on,” connected world.

Reserve your spot by signing up here.

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Posted in Informatica World 2014, Master Data Management, PiM, Product Information Management, Real-Time, Retail | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Retail Interview: From Product Information to Product Performance

Five questions to Arkady Kleyner, Executive VP & Co-Founder of Intricity LLC on how retailers can manage the transition from Product Information to Product Performance.

Arkady-Kleyner

Arkady-Kleyner

Arkady, you recently came back from the National Retail Federation conference.  What are some of the issues that retailers are struggling with these days?

Arkady Kleyner: There are some interesting trends happening right now in retail.  Amazon’s presence is creating a lot of disruption which is pushing traditional retailers to modernize their customer experience strategies.  For example, most Brick and Mortar retailers have a web presence, but they’re realizing that web presence can’t just be a second arm to their business.  To succeed, they need to integrate their web presence with their stores in a very intimate way.  To make that happen, they really have to peel back the onion down to the fundamentals of how product data is shared and managed.

In the good old days, Brick and Mortar retailers could live with a somewhat disconnected product catalog, because they were always ultimately picking from physical goods.  However in an integrated Web and Brick & Mortar environment, retailers must be far more accurate in their product catalog.  The customers entire product selection process may happen on-line but then picked up at the store.  So you can see where retailers need to be far more disciplined with their product data.  This is really where a Product Information Management tool is critical, with so many SKUs to manage, retailers really need a process that makes sense from end to end for onboarding and communicating a product to the customer.  And that is at the foundation of building an integrated customer experience.

In times of the digital customer, being online and connected always, we announced “commerce relevancy” as the next era of omnichannel and tailoring sales and marketing better to customers. What information are you seeing to be important when creating better customer shopping experience?

Arkady Kleyner:This is another paradigm in the integrated customer experience that retailers are trying to get their heads around. To appreciate how involved this is, just consider what a company like Amazon is doing.  They have millions of customers and millions of products and thousands of partners.  It’s literally a many to many to many relationship.  And this is why Amazon is eating everybody alive.  They know what products their customers like, they know how to reach those customers with those products, and they make it easy to buy it when you do.  This isn’t something that Amazon created over night, but the requirements are no different for the rest of retailers.  They need to ramp up the same type of capacity and reach.  For example if I sell jewelry I may be selling it on my own company store but I may also have 5 other partnering sites including Amazon.  Additionally, I may be using a dozen different advertising methods to drive demand.  Now multiply that times the number of jewelry products I sell and you have a massive hairball of complexity.  This is what we mean when we say that retailers need to be far more disciplined with their product data.  Having a Product Information Management process that spans the onboarding of products all the way through to the digital communication of those products is critical to a retailer staying relevant.

In which businesses do you see the need for more efficient product catalog management and channel convergence?

Arkady Kleyner: There is a huge opportunity out there for the existing Brick & Mortar retailers that embrace an integrated customer experience.  Amazon is not the de facto winner.  We see a future where the store near you actually IS the online store.  But to make that happen, Brick and Mortar retailers need to take a serious step back and treat their product data with the same reverence as they treat the product itself.  This means a well-managed process for onboarding, de-duping, and categorizing their product catalog, because all the customer marketing efforts are ultimately an extension of that catalog.

Which performance indicators are important? How can retailers profit from it?

Arkady Kleyner: There are two layers of performance indicators that are important.  The first is Operational Intelligence.  This is the intelligence that determines what product should be shown to who.  This is all based on customer profiling of purchase history.  The second is Strategic Intelligence.  This type of intelligence is the kind the helps you make overarching decisions on things like
-Maximizing the product margin by analyzing shipping and warehousing options
-Understanding product performance by demographics and regions
-Providing Flash Reports for Sales and Marketing

Which tools are needed to streamline product introduction but also achieve sales numbers?

Arkady Kleyner: Informatica is one of the few vendors that cares about data the same way retailers care about their products.  So if you’re a retailer, you really need to treat your product data with the same reverence as your physical products then you need to consider leveraging Informatica as a partner.  Their platform for managing product data is designed to encapsulate the entire process of onboarding, de-duping, categorizing, and syndicating product data.  Additionally Informatica PIM provides a platform for managing all the digital media assets so Marketing teams are able to focus on the strategy rather than tactics. We’ve also worked with Informatica’s data integration products to bring the performance data from the Point of Sale systems for both Strategic and Tactical uses. On the tactical side we’ve used this to integrate inventories between Web and Brick & Mortar so customers can have an integrated experience. On the strategic side we’ve integrated Warehouse Management Systems with Labor Cost tracking systems to provide a 360 degree view of the product costing including shipping and storage to drive a higher per unit margins.

You can hear more from Arkady in our webinarThe Streamlined SKU: Using Analytics for Quick Product Introductions” on Tuesday, March 4, 2014.

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Posted in Business Impact / Benefits, Customer Acquisition & Retention, PiM, Product Information Management, Real-Time, Retail, Uncategorized | Leave a comment