Drinking Your Own Champagne - Scaling by Automation and Smart AI Insights

Written by: Mark Cowan on January 26th, 2020

How to Punch Above Your Weight and Still Be Cool

It’s been said that success leaves clues.  Often I go out to talk with other leaders in multiple industries to explore what they are doing and have done to create and manage growth.

Welcome to the Party - Leveraging the Platform

This blog post was inspired by a number of conversations with peers in the industry who it turns out aren’t using their own tools on themselves to help their business grow for one reason or another.  This is not about shaming, it’s about scaling through sharing.

These conversations are a really fun part of what I get to do as a CEO of a growing company in a very interesting space.  We need the pointers and support of others around us to help us as we grow.

The flip side of this are the lessons on what not to do that come with the territory.  These are probably the most interesting of all conversations, and yes we have our own experiences as well.

Auto-Pilots and Co-Pilots Make Us Better

Often the questions I get in return sound like this “how is it that you guys at your size are able to deliver at the level you do?”  That has always puzzled me but when you probe the answer is clear. We leverage ourselves and our internal capabilities to the fullest.  Meaning we automate the heck out of everything as much as to add insight at every step of the way.

With people in the marketing and customer experience space it starts with “well these are the tools we use and this is our stack.”  However upon closer inspection what’s really going on is a platform view - functional widgets stitched together to facilitate an outcome (aka a metric) not a process.

This really came to light with two separate conversations with CMO’s of leading account based marketing (ABM) technology providers.  My approach was that these people probably really would have ABM as a process nailed. Turns out neither did - not even close nor did they have the building blocks in place such as lead scoring nevermind account scoring.

So What’s Going On?

So what’s going on - it’s quite simple.  Those organizations have the same pressure points as we all do when trying to make things happen fast.  The fast forward motion forces an organization to optimize implementation and process design at the expense of capability depth.

Said another way - do less with less but do it faster therefore more will get done.

So what happens when everyone is doing the same thing - no differentiation.  This is so clear when we’re pulled into the integration or predictive analytics conversations.  Bookend opposites with a common thread. The limiter is entirely the data that one is working with and how it’s being worked with.  

The Real Outcome - if you chose the path of minimum data needed you get minimum value from the platform.

This coupled with do less with less but do it faster results in a completely non-differentiated way to run an organization, customer experience, reduced organizational effectiveness and a lower quality of service.

There are two axis that we look at internally when automating:

  1. Make us better - Autopilot
  2. Make us smarter - Co-pilots

Simply we apply the Put It Forward technology on ourselves at every opportunity possible.  In part this helps us run better because we know the experience our customers are going to have is exactly the same. Secondly our customers push us to deliver more and as such we benefit from that as well.

We run better by automating integration and continuously orchestrating the process steps that span multiple systems to create a highly effective operational tempo.  Note this is not about automating processes within systems but across them.   

Auto-pilot functions - Make Us Better

For example when a new customer is onboarded it triggers events that span our project management, technical task management, support and infrastructure services.  Those triggers come along with data that is pulled from multiple sources to create a singular view of the customer that is contextually relevant to the view at that moment in time.  Orchestration drives different outcomes depending on the nature of new data entering 

We run smarter by understanding the intent and sentiment of our customers and prospects by running data through our Delphi product which predicts probable outcomes to give us a level of situational awareness.  Delphi acts as the co-pilot in our processes by giving us deep insights into what is happening within an account or a customer. Notice this is not about rear view mirror reporting or analytics but seeing what’s going on around us and what can happen.

Co-pilot Functions - Make us Smarter

For example when we encounter a new account or new information is added to an account through a third party master data provider, that data flows through to multiple usage points and into Delphi’s continuously running AI engines which give us a picture of probabilities, intent and sentiment.  These values then are used to drive engagement through multiple channels. Which are of course connected through our integration and managed with the orchestration function.

So what does this get us?  Continuous Situational Awareness and Execution

First we’re able to operate with an operational tempo that enables us to serve our customers better and respond to competitive encounters intelligently.

Secondly our awareness of the environment gives us the ability to serve and deliver with a level insight that tilts the competitive field in our direction most of the time.  

We don’t believe this is the way to do things for everyone - it may not be, but we do know that we must continuously sharpen our edges and adapt faster than others to keep being successful.

Thank you for your time and attention for reading, how are you going to change the way you look at your data driven processes now?

Mark

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