The EX Squared Solutions Blog

How AI Technology Assists a Digital Transformation

August 16, 2017 | Posted by Lisa Carolan

In recent years, an increasing number of companies have embraced the idea of becoming digital enterprises. A successful digital enterprise often involves new technologies and a variety of projects to complete a digital transformation. Since a digital transformation is a journey rather than a single project, it can be difficult to measure the return on the company's investment using traditional methods. Nevertheless, organizations typically want to accelerate the ROI as much as possible. With the advances in AI technology, however, the ROI can be achieved faster, and the transformation can be more extensive and easier as well.

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Topics: Digital Transformation, AI Technology

How Marketers Can Benefit From Big Data and Machine Learning

August 9, 2017 | Posted by Lisa Carolan

Over the last few years, a great deal of media attention has centered around big data. Companies are amassing data at an incredible rate, thanks to online shopping, social networks and an ever-increasing number of apps. Marketers have more opportunities to really get to know their customers and find engaging ways to deliver personalized messages. However, the sheer volume of data makes it difficult to extract meaningful, actionable insights without having some excellent tools at your disposal.

While big data was receiving most of the attention in recent years, developers were quietly making major strides in the world of artificial intelligence. A long-time staple in science fiction, machines that could learn and initiate independent actions seemed impossible 50 years ago. That was before Alexa and Siri, two of the most popular voice-powered digital assistants available today. That was before Google developed DeepMind, a neural network that goes beyond predefined algorithms to make connections and derive meanings. That was before Netflix and Pandora could learn what users like and suggest appropriate choices. All of these examples leverage machine learning to find true meaning in big data.

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Topics: Big Data, Machine Learning

9 Things You Need to Know About Dynamics 365 Social Insights

July 31, 2017 | Posted by Doug Sylvester

Engaging customers, providing customized experiences and developing brand advocates are all important in the marketing world. For sales, the primary goals are converting qualified leads, forging strong relationships and retaining hard-won accounts. Customer service wants to anticipate what customers will need or want, be proactive rather than reactive and avoid customer experience failures. Although it might seem that marketing, sales and customer service need a variety of tools to accomplish their goals, each department can benefit from using social media to connect with customers. This task can be made easier by using the social insights module available in Dynamics 365.

In recent years, Microsoft has spent a great deal of time and money to apply machine learning and artificial intelligence to the Dynamics 365 modules. "Insights" could well be the next catchword that Microsoft uses to market Dynamics. There are customer insights, relationship insights and organization insights, but the merging of Dynamics 365 with Microsoft Social Engagement to offer social insights may be one of the most important tools available for marketing, sales and customer service. Your customers are discussing you on Twitter, online forums, blogs and Facebook. Your prospects are discussing their needs and goals on their blogs, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other platforms. Knowing what is being said and by whom can help your company in many ways, and social insights can help you obtain that information. Here are nine things you need to know about social insights.

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Topics: customer engagement, Dynamics 365

How the Combination of Sitecore and Dynamics 365 Works to Empower Sales

July 25, 2017 | Posted by Doug Sylvester

It is no secret that customers have become increasingly demanding in recent years. It often seems that they expect you to know what they want before they do, understand how they prefer to be contacted and know whether they are ready to buy or just shopping. Furthermore, they want you to know which of your messages are of interest to them and deliver only those messages. Even if a customer interacts with you via social media, your mobile app, email, a kiosk located inside your physical store and your website, he or she expects you to track the entire communication journey and deliver content in the proper context. To accomplish this, you need data regarding every customer's purchase history, behavior, location and preferred method of interacting with you. You may already possess the data you need, but that does not necessarily mean that you can turn the data into actionable steps. However, combining the power of Dynamics 365 with the power of Sitecore can help you achieve your goals.

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Topics: Digital Transformation, Dynamics 365

Microsoft Is Using Artificial Intelligence and Cortana to Enhance Dynamics 365 CRM

July 18, 2017 | Posted by Doug Sylvester

When properly analyzed and leveraged, big data enhances customer engagement through targeted, personalized and contextual marketing. The data also provides significant business intelligence that can help organizations achieve a variety of goals, including understanding their public image, increasing production efficiency or enhancing customer service. The primary problem with big data has always been the difficulty in correlating the information collected to obtain actionable insights. There is simply too much data for human analysts to find worthwhile information without the proper tools. Microsoft contends that humans need not be replaced in the process of extracting meaningful intelligence from big data, but they should be empowered to maximize the benefits that the data can provide. Adding support for Cortana and artificial intelligence to Dynamics 365 CRM is one way that Microsoft is attempting to give humans better tools for finding and using insights hidden in big data.

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Topics: customer engagement, Dynamics 365, Sales Intelligence

How Messaging Is Poised to Disrupt Marketing Strategies for Customer Engagement

July 11, 2017 | Posted by Lisa Carolan

As every marketer knows, customer engagement strategies can help build strong relationships and loyal customers. Unfortunately, providing engaging experiences for your customers is more of an art than a science. There are many different approaches that you can take, none of which are foolproof. Furthermore, it is quite likely that if you find the perfect strategy for your company, innovative technologies will leave at least parts of your strategy obsolete. The increased use of messaging apps is expected to be the next game-changer for marketers who want to enhance their engagement efforts. Messaging apps and chatbots are already being used by numerous companies for "conversational commerce." Three of the best-known are Facebook Messenger, Amazon Echo and Siri for AppleTV. Users can order flowers, request a Uber ride and conduct many other secure transactions from within Facebook Messenger. Amazon Echo can browse the user's purchase history, place orders, control home devices or handle a multitude of other tasks. Siri's integration with AppleTV allows users to search for and purchase specific movies, check the current weather or perform other search and buying activities.

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Topics: customer engagement, Customer Experience

Why Marketing Professionals Need to Understand Cybersecurity

July 6, 2017 | Posted by Lisa Carolan

Not too long ago, most marketers viewed cybersecurity as just an IT issue. Even as breaches became more common, many companies failed to realize how interconnected the two departments were. The theft of customer data, for example, creates huge problems for marketers; if the company loses the trust of its customers, it is up to the marketing department to win it back, rebuild relationships and undermine the efforts of the competition to wield the breach as a weapon against the company. Furthermore, as the use of marketing tools increases, the number of potential vulnerabilities also increases. As a result, marketing professionals are becoming more aware of cybersecurity.

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Topics: Digital Marketing, Cyber Security

Should Seamless Dynamics 365 Apps Be Driving Your Outreach?

June 21, 2017 | Posted by Doug Sylvester

Effective outreach demands that you leverage technology to fulfill the needs of not only your consumers but also the team members who work so hard to see your organization expand. Could Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 help your teams activities evolve from hesitant undertakings into decisively smooth operations?

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Topics: Digital Transformation, Dynamics 365

Top 7 CRM Trends in 2017 Get, Set, Go!

June 14, 2017 | Posted by Lisa Carolan

As global competition has become more intense, most businesses have increased their efforts to retain existing customers. Acquiring a new customer can cost as much as 25 times more than retaining a current customer. To help them reduce customer churn and improve their retention rates, marketers have increasingly turned to CRM technologies. The unprecedented growth of the CRM industry reflects the importance of providing meaningful, engaging experiences to customers as well as the constant evolution of CRM technology. This evolution will continue to bring new trends and innovative technologies during the coming years, but there are several enhancements that you can expect to see in 2017.

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Topics: Digital Transformation, CRM

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