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The EX Squared Solutions Blog

Are you just using technology for technology's sake vs. technology to transform your business?

October 3, 2017 | Posted by Lisa Carolan

In recent years, innovative technologies have made it possible for companies to transform their business models and find new ways to interact with their customers. However, as an increasing number of businesses climb aboard the bandwagon for the latest technology, some analysts are beginning to question whether people are driving technology or being driven by it. In other words, are companies using technology to transform their businesses, or are they adopting technology just because it exists?

Tools Must Provide Actual Help

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Topics: Digital Transformation

How Millennials Are Mandating Digital Transformation

September 27, 2017 | Posted by Lisa Carolan

Throughout history, technology has led to numerous transformations in the buying and selling process. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, manufacturing was typically a cottage industry; rural families would produce goods in their homes or a small shop with hand tools or simple machines. Advances in technology and a shifting consumer base led to the factory system. During the early 20th century, another technological advance — the automobile — again transformed the retail industry. Stores no longer had to be clustered along trolley lines or located in residential neighborhoods. Instead, retailers could place their stores in shopping centers or malls where they could sell their goods to customers from all neighborhoods. The internet brought yet another transformation, opening the door to the world of online sales. However, the retail industry is now undergoing a transformation that is more sweeping than any since the Industrial Revolution — and it is being driven by Millennials and their attachment to the digital world.

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Topics: Digital Transformation

What does Security have to do with Digital Transformation?

September 12, 2017 | Posted by Lisa Carolan

Big data, mobile, the Internet of Things, cloud computing and other innovative technologies have given companies more ways to connect with their customers than ever before. Businesses looking to maintain or grow their market share have embraced the concept of a digital transformation to help them use new technology efficiently. However, digital transformation has driven an atmosphere of continuous delivery in which the time from concept to market must be kept to a minimum if the effort is to be successful. At the same time, security cannot be ignored. Unfortunately, many companies remain mired in traditional approaches to security, severely hampering their efforts to be the first to market. 

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Topics: Digital Transformation, Cyber Security

Is the CDO Necessary for Digital Transformation or Just Another Ingredient in Alphabet Soup?

September 6, 2017 | Posted by Lisa Carolan

Digital transformation offers many new opportunities for companies to expand their reach, engage with their customers and streamline their business processes. However, a digital transformation is not without challenges. Business goals must be interwoven with technologies that provide a seamless experience across a variety of channels. The demands of making a successful transformation to a digital enterprise have led many companies to add a chief digital officer to their C-suite. However, despite the increased hiring of CDOs, there are some who wonder whether the position is necessary. 

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Topics: Digital Transformation

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, Artificial Intelligence

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 Experience, 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 Experience, Dynamics 365, Sales Productivity

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