When content tagging is not a part of your strategy, you lose

Posted by Urvashi Melwani on Sep 21, 2019 3:34:00 PM

Content has proven itself king time and again. The enthusiasm with which B2B and B2C companies are investing in content production, has however brought up a significant question- Are users able to find the relevant content?

Finding the relevant web content has been one of the biggest issues that enterprises and users both have been facing

Finding the relevant web content has been one of the biggest issues that enterprises and users both face and so, it needs to be addressed without further delays to avoid poor user experiences and negative sentiments. 

Additionally, big brands and companies also lose out on opportunities due to the content searchability issue, like failing to quickly come up in the search results for a given phrase or set of keywords, which can jumble the company’s revenue percentage.

The problem can be fixed with little effort for Drupal powered enterprises. They just have to inculcate content tagging while classifying their piece of content. 

Having said that, this blog will provide insights on content tagging, taxonomy, and how implementing these factors on your Drupal website can take your marketing efforts to a whole other level.

Why Does Strategic Taxonomy Matter?

Content tagging can be huge resource-demanding and tedious task, especially when done manually, leaving companies wondering even if it’s worth the efforts. So, before building your tagging taxonomy, it’s better to understand why it matters.

All your efforts put into procuring and producing content will go wasted if there is no one to read it

  • Searchability- For your targeted  audience to find it

Enterprises have diverse and in-depth categories of resources available but what if users visit the site and could not find the desired content, they’re going to leave of course. 

All your efforts put into procuring and producing content will go wasted if there is no one to read it. Thus, it’s better to help your targeted audience access your content in the simplest and convenient way through a proper tagging structure.
Box comprising circle in it                                                                 Source: Curata

  • Usability: For your internal team to leverage it

Content tags not only benefit users but also internal teams of the company, especially sales. Including tags such as buying stage, persona, industry, product line, and geographical region, will only benefit the sales team to leverage and share relevant content with potential customers that align with those components. 

It will facilitate key stakeholders in disseminating content in their network to move users through the preferred funnel

This strategic content plan and execution as per business goals will increase the shareability of content for your users and will also facilitate key stakeholders disseminate content in their network to move users through the preferred funnel.

  • Data Insights: For your analytics team to gain insights from it

Another key benefit of proper tagging taxonomy can be leveraged through tag structure. It helps in building custom segments of data for your analytics teams to extract data and insights on the content framework, calendar promotion schedule, and content production cadence, and audience preferences so that you can tailor your content accordingly.

  • Sales Acceleration: For your readers to navigate, curate and refer to it

The agenda has been always on enhancing user experience. If they have engaged with a piece of content that resonated with them, they are more likely to read more content on the same topic, category or style. Tagging taxonomy with simple tag filtering showcase users the next article they should read as in line with your preferred funnel structure.

If users have engaged with a piece of content that resonated with them, they are more likely to read more content on the same topic, category or style

All this can be achieved by simply organizing content through a strict tagging taxonomy.  A better content tagging structure can create more business efficiencies for users and internal teams- they can tangibly impact the bottom line!

Content Tagging and Drupal Taxonomy

In Drupal, taxonomy is the core module used for categorizing or classifying content being built on the website with the CMS. It is critical to the website’s information architecture, on both the back and front ends.

Taxonomies in Drupal consists of vocabulary associated with them. This vocabulary list helps CMS to determine what items belong with what types of content. Further, vocabularies have terms with them, where the list of terms define the contents of the vocabulary. 

These can be a part of a hierarchy or simply a compilation of tags. Tags group nodes (elements in Drupal sites that contain content; eg. articles and basic pages) together. These can then be referenced with the search on the website. 

Sites built on Drupal can have an unlimited number of vocabularies and terms, so complex sites can be built using the framework. These two elements associated with your website can serve several purposes, especially for displaying content and managing content assets. It can also be important for reference as well.

Content tags, on the other hand, are a great way to navigate websites. In fact, this type of tag often appears as a hyperlink that users can click on to view other content in the system that contains the tag. These are used within the content management system, say, Drupal, to organize, filter, and relate content for end-users.

These tags can be applied in a few different ways, depending on the system that is using them. Some systems will allow for the creation of highly controlled tagging lists that content providers can choose terms from. Other systems may supply a free-tagging method, where users just type in terms.  Some systems allow for both methods.

How to Use Taxonomy in Tagging Content?

Although you can optimize your content based on its type, you might also want to view content based on what it is about. Taxonomy allows you to link terms with the content which you can put to use in organizing and presenting content on your website. 

Taxonomy allows you to link terms with the content which you can put to use in organizing and presenting content on your website

You can refer to this blog , Adding Tags with Drupal Taxonomy In 9 Steps,  to learn using taxonomy in tagging content. There are nine steps given which you can follow to classify your content hassle-free and increase your site visibility.

How Drupal-powered Enterprises Can Benefit From Using Taxonomy?

Taxonomy plays an important role in content strategy as it can make sense of your organization’s content by supporting the following activities-

  • Search and Discovery

This is the most common and useful benefit of taxonomy-  as it facilitates search and discovery in knowledge-driven and Drupal-powered organizations; leading to improved discovery layers including search, related content, and personalization so that it can work across various content repositories and even multiple organizations. In the end, the objective is to empower users and knowledge workers so that they can quickly find what they need. Search is essential for their productivity  and taxonomy can ensure it to a great extent.

Search engines like Google and Bing will be able to easily determine the site’s content, architecture, design, and organization of the website files, and hence improving ranking on SERP.

  • Permissions or Visibility

The goals of Drupal-powered organization determines how best to use taxonomy, permissions & metadata to share the information (public, confidential, semi-confidential, etc.) within the organization with various parties. There are many nodes and specific content that only certain members with the organization are allowed to edit.

Developers can use the permissions in the administration page within Drupal to assign permissions and roles for registered users of the site

Developers can use the permissions in the administration page within Drupal to assign permissions and roles for registered users of the site. This ensures high flexibility to developers as  they can also modify the content which the public can view.

  • Repurposing

Re-using the existing content wherever it’s relevant instead of starting from scratch or simply recombining the taxonomy (if there is not even one in place to allow items to be found) into new useful information sets can save plenty of time and efforts of the organization. It can also help in reaching new audiences and reinforcing your message.

  • Future-proofing knowledge held in the business

Taxonomies are “knowledge insurance” that stores and shares classified information assets, to retain knowledge accessibility while people move on. Obviously, a taxonomy can also move by continuously evolving in line with the needs of the organization.

 6 Best Practices To Tag Content Well

  • Consistency is the key

Use clear, consistent tagging throughout your organization to provide a uniform experience to the customers. Marketing and sales team should  use the same taxonomy terms to tag content. 

However, if you won’t share tags from the same taxonomy, you are going to have a fractured website.

Too many tags oversaturate search results, and too fewer tags fail to provide enough personalized content

  • Strike the right balance

Users find it informative when tags are marked appropriately. Too many tags oversaturate search results, and too fewer tags fail to provide enough personalized content. So, it’s important to find the right balance.

  • Focus on the user

The right balance can be easily achieved by focusing on users’ experience. Ponder upon the tags before adding that, will it add value to users’ experience or is it just because you want the asset to get more attention on the site?

Three circles connected to each other

                                        Source: business2community

 

Take yourself out from the tagging equation and focus on the experience part, you’ll get a much clearer picture of which tags are and aren’t appropriate

  • Prioritize your time

Tagging consumes a lot of time so it’s a good practice to prioritize and maximize your time by evaluating the content. Find out which assets need more detailed tagging (for say, only those that will live on the site for a long time) and which can have more general tagging as they will change often (e.g. industry reports) so that you can your time and sanity.

  • Fill your content containers well

A tag associated with a topic having a  plethora of information within it is likely to keep a reader more engaged than a tag that has only one or two pieces of content. So, before creating a new tag, ensure that you have ample amount of content that could be tagged the same way.

  • Consider SEO while selecting tags

Use keyword planner tool to check SERPs and find out what keywords do users use to search the content-  is it the acronym, plural construction, or spelled out version. 

Drupal Modules

Here are some modules listed that work around the principle of taxonomy and content tagging-

The Power Tagging module is linked with thesaurus or taxonomy to interpret content and its concepts in Drupal. Users can easily curate all suggested tags at one place or can even compile collections of Drupal content nodes to create a semantic index. This makes search more comfortable than ever before.

It also allows you to customize your entity’s tags with manual tags and perform multilingual tagging. 

Features

  • Tweak your entity's tags with manual tags combined with an auto-completion of already used tags.
  • Supports multilingual tagging
  • Whole content can be tagged automatically at once via Bulk-Tagging

Available for - Drupal 8 | Not covered by Security Advisory

This Drupal module provides context for content items by displaying a view block with links to other similar content. The similarity is defined as per the taxonomy terms assigned to content. Views are available based on similarity within each of the defined vocabulary for a site as well as similarity within all vocabularies. 

Simply put, you can use this module by creating a free tagging vocabulary called “Tags” assigned to the content types on which you would like to display a similar view block.

Available for - Drupal 8 | Covered by Security Advisory

Good search engine optimization practices bring organic traffic to the website. And so this module helps in updating the heading tag at the top of the taxonomy term page so that it appears on top in SERPs. This is the only module that lets you control the title individually for every term.

Enterprises should add more user-friendly, keyword-rich, and describing words to this heading element. 

Available for - Drupal 7 | Covered by Security Advisory

Azure Cognitive Services API module  seamlessly incorporates intelligent features and technology into the Drupal applications, like Machine Learning, Artificial Learning, and Natural Learning Process, to detect speech, facial and vision recognition other than detecting the emotions. 

Among the 4 features it provides text analysis, API module is helpful for tagging

  • Azure Text Analytics API Module

Text Analytics API is a cloud-based service that provides advanced natural language processing over raw text and comprises of three main functions- sentiment analysis, key phrase extraction, and language detection.

Available for - Drupal 8 | Covered by Security Advisory

This module helps in optimizing content around keywords in a fast, natural, and non-spam manner. It also keeps a check on other SEO factors such as the length of the post, written meta-description using focused keywords, and subheadings within the post. 

This real-time page analysis ensures that your content is easily searchable and liked by users.

Available for - Drupal 8 | Covered by Security Advisory

It is a great SEO module since it takes away the boring and laborious task from you. It automatically defines URLs which are both user-friendly and relevant as per the category and page title. This clarity in classification helps users churn information with ease and you can also get brownie points from search engines.

Available for - Drupal 8 | Covered by Security Advisory

Metatag module facilitates enterprises to provide more metadata on their website. This includes tags, page titles, descriptions, etc. As a result, it helps Google in ranking the website in SERPs.

Available for - Drupal 8 | Covered by Security Advisory

It is a semantic vocabulary of tags that you can add to your HTML to improve the way search engines read and represent your page in SERPs.

Available for - Drupal 8 | Covered by Security Advisory

Final Words

Embracing taxonomy and tags to classify content is a great way to solve the problems of those organizations who possess a gigantic amount of data or are anticipating to create a huge amount of it in the future.

Also, since Drupal is open-source software, there is an outstanding opportunity for enterprises to learn from a community of developers and users. However, the foremost task that organizations should do is start thinking hard about what they are doing with their content once it is classified and how they intend to deliver it so that it serves best customers’ manifold needs.

Topics: Drupal, Planet Drupal, Digital Experience

Introducing Drupal as Content-as-a-Service (CaaS)

Posted by Urvashi Melwani on Sep 19, 2019 3:49:00 PM

With the proliferation in the touchpoints that enterprises use to connect with customers and provide them with the valuable experience, it’s has become a tedious and challenging task to optimize the content far and wide.

Further, the number of devices that consumers use to access brand content- desktops, mobile phones, laptops, tablets, and smartwatches - with yet more looming on the horizon; have their own set of restrictions and specifications which again increases the complexities of content creators & marketers in the dissemination of the personalized content.

Also, this Gartner Report  suggested that marketers & decision-makers should now opt for a unified experience strategy to streamline their customer-facing content. This can be done through the implementation of the latest technology and channels to promote dynamic personalization and optimize content in an avant-garde manner. And all this can be executed by dint of Content-as-a-Service.

This blog provides further insights on CaaS, its use cases & features, and how enterprises and marketers can leverage Drupal as CaaS for managing their content efficiently.

What is Content as a Service?

Content-as-a-Service (CaaS) focuses on managing structured content into a unified repository or feed that other applications and properties consume.

The idea behind it is to provide a future-ready CMS that makes content readily available by employing API with or without developing the presentation tier. The presentation layer can be a website, a mobile app, or a feed into a device’s interface. 

The idea behind it is to provide a future-ready CMS that makes content readily available by employing API with or without developing the presentation tier

This separation between the content itself and its presentation implies that RESTful APIs, for instance, can provide the same content that serves both your website to an iOS or Android app.

Put simply, it draws a clear line between the people creating the content, the people delivering the content, and of course, the people consuming it.

A long box with different elements inside

Source: Bloomreach

Characteristics of Content-as-a-Service solutions include:

  • The content disseminated across all channels via a Rest-based API

  • A method of developing content as per prescribed content models

  • Structured formats for returning content via simple queries.

  • Distributed authoring and workflow content administration

  • A content repository hosted in the Cloud for universal access

  • Triggers that alert customer experience applications that consume content to content updates

  • Metadata definitions that can be defined and move along with the content via API

How Does CaaS work?

The actual implementation of CaaS can vary as in the case with any architectural pattern but here is a general overview of how CaaS platform may work-

Multiple boxes connected in flowchart

The content management UI is a web application to centralize all content authoring and content management of the platform. Content is placed inside centralized storage: it is to note that the format and technology used for the same does not matter at this point, what matters is the correct storage of data.

At last, the content is made available through a technology-agnostic API, like REST API. There are products available in the market which lets you author the content whilst working on the presentation layer to provide you with a wide array of applications you may need (for instance, web apps, mobile apps). 

You could, as an alternative, also provide access to the public APIs of these platforms, allowing others to take care of building their own presentation layers and saving you the trouble of working on that. 

Know how Srijan helps enterprises in modernizing their platforms to manage their content across various channels

Explore Our Services

Why CaaS?

Creating dedicated content for every specific medium becomes cumbersome to the point of being unworkable

Have you ever thought that how enterprises and marketers can tweak content for each one of the channels and yet ensure that the content is safe and sustainable for any modification in the future? Since it’s understood that creating dedicated content for every specific medium becomes cumbersome to the point of being unworkable.

So, how is it possible? The answer to this simple question is CaaS!

It can be efficient for enterprises those who want to upgrade their CMS either into one which can serve as CaaS or when there was nothing before.

However, the key deciding factor(s) at the end will be your current context. The reasons are mentioned below-

  1. Siloed Content

    Enterprise deals with an enormous amount of content and the sources from where it comes in and having to manage them independently can prove labor-intensive. Either company can spend a lot of time from their schedule to simply manage the content or spend too many resources having a team manager & a set of independent tools with the added overhead of getting them to collaborate with each other. 

In either case, they are most likely dealing with one or maybe more of such situations:

  • They don’t own a uniform content format, which can be made use of for easy distribution. 

  • They don’t own a centralized method to make content available for consumers, be they internal or external ones.

  • Metadata is not given due importance in empowering their content and making it rich for consumers.

  • And centralized storage, so, companies have to put extra efforts to move from one source of data to the next.

The adoption of CaaS could be beneficial to anyone looking desperately to switch their content management strategies. A switch to content-centric approach, i.e., Content-as-a-Service, would significantly improve their performance.

2.   Limited formats for your content

Content has to be an abstract entity, and choosing the way how it should be consumed, should be your top priority

Your problem might not be about managing your content but inefficiency in reaching to the targeted consumers due to a restricted amount of formats you are compatible with. Content-as-a-Service is again the perfect solution for such kind of scenarios.

Many CMS, such as WordPress, take the responsibility for presentation ensuring that you don’t have to worry about it. However, you also get restricted to the number of devices with which representation of your content is compatible. There could be so many devices where your content can be rejected immediately or simply not pleasant to be consumed in. For instance, have you ever considered how will your online trading WordPress website will show stocks on your smartwatch? What about a VR headset? Or a holographic projection? Agreed that last one does not exist yet but you must ensure that the company is well-equipped and future-ready to be compatible with new technologies, especially when it is moving at breakneck speed and released to the public every day.

Even the new foldable phones are going to be accessible for the public now- what will happen then to the content?

Companies will limit their odds of success if they kept their content tied to their representation. Content has to be an abstract entity, and choosing the way how it should be consumed, should be your top priority

3.  Native mobile app needing content

Content-as-a-Service provides you with the flexibility to use your content however you want, now or in the future

Since content display on mobile phones and apps demand extra attention, most of the traditional CMS fails to provide the necessary tools and facilities for the same. They only provide web-compatible formats (e.g., HTML) making it unfit for your app.

You can work around this by using a headless, decoupled CMS or Content-as-a-Service to simplify your work. In a nutshell, Content-as-a-Service provides you with the flexibility to use your content however you want, now or in the future.

What Drives the Adoption of CaaS?

There are two groups primarily that can leverage this type of content delivery the most: developers and business users/content creators.

  1. Developers

Developers do require CaaS no matter they are mobile app developers who need a backend to feed their apps with content or front-end developers who expect to interact with an API. 

Such technologies have been around since long and widely accepted as well, further fueling the demand for CaaS.

2.  Business

  • Those content creators who want to increase the reach of their content to as many platforms and channels as possible- web, mobile, social networks, smart devices, and so on. 

  • It becomes exorbitant to have a separate solution for every channel- development-wise and maintenance-wise. 

  • It is convenient to manage a single editorial team and a single software stack for all channels.

  • CaaS solutions can help developers in being more productive and efficient with the tools they like to use.

CaaS Use Cases

It’s often perceived that there is no single CMS that is equally good for maintaining both a personal blog and a huge online shop. Contrary to the assumptions, CaaS outperforms its harbingers in some use cases-

CaaS focuses on pushing wherever and whenever required, designers need not worry anymore

  • Mobile apps content backend

Pushing content on a mobile app via CaaS proves as the most effective way to have dynamic in-app content without having the need to resubmit the app to the app marketplace.

  • Multi-channel publishing

CaaS CMS is also beneficial when content needs to be transmitted across various platforms, for example, you want to push the same content to a website as well as to mobile apps.

  • Rich Web apps

Modern view controller, i.e., front-end frameworks, such as AngularJS, React, and Ember synchronizes well with structured content via APIs.

  • Integrating with existing services and software stacks

CMS can considerably reduce the complexities and simplify workflows in an existing project, for instance, eliminating hard-coded content from HTML pages, and maintaining them with a CMS. In contrast, the API by CaaS makes it highly integration-friendly and robust.

  • Tailored UX

The CMS of web age posed strong design restrictions. Though you could fully tweak the UI but building a Wordpress-powered web app from scratch was not very likely. 

On the other hand, as CaaS focuses on pushing wherever and whenever required, designers need not worry anymore!

  • Programmatic content creation

It becomes a tedious task to manage already existing content and also the one arriving from multiple sources. Therefore, it is best-suited to upload content into one unified repository by creating content via APIs.

  • Artificial intelligence and chatbots

Content structured via API makes it easy for AI-powered agents and chatbots to move it around and churn it for ensuring relevance than screen scraping and using natural language for processing unstructured content.

How Drupal Can Prove to Be An Effective CaaS?

Drupal has unfolded the idea of Content-as-a-Service (CaaS) to solve the dilemmas posed by our newfangled digital ecosystem & its extremely high demand for new and different types of content. 

A square with multiple circles and squares connected to each other

Following features on how Drupal can be an effective CaaS-

  1. Reusable future-proof content

Drupal content can easily exist in the form of reusable chunks

Generally, CMSes manage content in a back-end repository and push it to the front-end templates for serving an experience.

However, Drupal decouples the back and front end whenever required. So, Drupal content can easily exist in the form of reusable chunks: free from the presentation and set for delivering content to sites and apps. Thus, content becomes future-ready.

  1. Set front-end developers free to create a better experience

With Drupal’s presentation-neutral content and a RESTful API, front-end developers can freely carry out their creative vision and build interactive sites & apps with the tools like Node, Angular, Backbone, Ember and others.

  1. Fill the content bucket more easily 

Content nowadays should not be restricted to one source only rather it should move in and out freely. And Drupal helps in that by ingesting third-party content (e.g. from aggregators and syndicators) to bring content into your Drupal ecosystem and making it further easy to push to any site, app or channel.

  1. Share content beyond your sites

Today, organizations want to share content on multi-channels where the audiences are inside of content aggregators disrupting the news business. Content teams need an optimal way to create content & then share it with minimal effort. And Drupal does that! The other sites and apps you choose can easily churn Drupal content.

  1. Alter the look

The separation of backend content from front-end presentation gives a leading edge to developers to refine an experience without worrying about the content in the CMS.

Additionally, Drupal’s 8.0 version comes with an inbuilt REST API which marked its beginning of API-first initiative.  

REST allows apps and websites to read and update information on the websites via the web. It also encourages developers to rely on HTTP methods to operate on resources managed by Drupal.

Furthermore, the Drupal community has been working on shipping Drupal modules with web service APIs instead of depending on a central API module in the upcoming releases of Drupal.

Contenta, one of the Drupal’s distributions, is an HTTP API provided for ready-to-use purpose with full auto-generated documentation. It offers modern API capabilities with JSON API, and also feeds content in the JS-driven websites, mobile applications, TV and even fridge applications.

Contenta supports Create Once, Publish Everywhere, be it single application development or multi-channel publishing.

Then there is another distribution, Reservoir, which helps in implementing the Decoupled Drupal architecture, is very flexible and simple-to-use for building content repositories of any application. It also helps in modeling content, governing content, and interacting with that content through HTTP APIs. 

In a nutshell, Drupal’s API-first approach offers the following benefits which further bolsters CaaS model-

  • The decoupled approach separates the presentation layer from the service layer thus allowing a detailed and dedicated focus on each of them.

  • A foolproof approach to help organizations connect to infinite digital signages for enhancing customer experience

  • Increased interaction with customers on their preferred devices will eventually scale up your marketing efforts

  • The decoupled approach is flexible and open for changes, addition, and modification of the structure.

  • Deploying a front-end framework like Angular or React will lead to sophisticated, enriched and dynamic web experience

 

Learn more about Drupal API-first initiative from here-

 

Features to Lookout For in CaaS

CaaS comprises of three vital parts: the editing interface (typically a web app), the CMS infrastructure capabilities, and the development ecosystem.

Web editor

  • Enables content architects to design the structure of the content

  • Enables content editors to manage content from creating, updating to collaborating on it.

Technical infrastructure

  • Offers performance, uptime, and scalability to ensure that enterprises can rely on their vendor to deliver content in mission-critical applications.

  • SLAs with short incident response times and access to dedicated staff- so in case of a problem with a mission-critical app, companies can be provided back up again and fast.

  • Mobile delivery capabilities so that great user experience can be delivered even in network-challenged environments ( like subways, rural areas) and high bandwidth cost areas (such as emerging markets).

  • API-based importing, management, and delivery for controlling content programmatically in both ways

  • All-inclusive and up-to-date documentation to help the development team start using the tools quickly.

  • CDN ( content delivery network) to deliver the content rapidly

 

Development ecosystem

  • SDKs and libraries to increase the speed no matter what the tech stack is

  • Demo app source code so that developers don’t feel the need to reinvent the wheel all over.

  • Third-party integrations to obtain value from existing tools.

Other Characteristics of CaaS

The decoupled approach ensures that code and content are placed separately so that marketers and developers can do their respective work

  • Decoupled approach

The decoupled approach ensures that code and content are placed separately so that marketers and developers can do their respective work. Teams can also work parallelly on a creative copy, enticing visuals, and expert integrations in one unified platform.

  • Separation of content and presentation

This is the quintessence of the headless CMS approach - agnosticism towards how content is presented. This frees developers from creating highly custom front-ends and apps since they get to define the content display part.A box with various elements listed inside and interconnected Source: Gartner 

  • Cloud setup

The complete separation of the content management and display part allows organizations to migrate infrastructure between Cloud and hybrid, even at the site level or project level. Some projects can be installed locally while some on Cloud depending on the business’ choices for optimization as per needs. 

  • Insights

Centralized Content-as-a-Service lets businesses evaluate the content consumption across the digital ecosystem. This ceases businesses from duplicating their efforts and content when posting to microsites, international sites, or apps. It can also measure the use of that content by looking at the API connections used to deliver that content, and keeping track of where the content is going. 

In the End

The digital revolution and breakthrough in technology have accelerated the efforts of content creators - be it creation, designing, or dissemination. The goal is clear- refined user experience.

With that said, the creation of content in abundance and its delivery as a service through thousands of APIs will generate more data thereby assisting content developers to create more precise business models.

The technology is already in place, and the architectural patterns will allow enterprise systems to scale up without hampering their performance.

Content-as-a-Service ensures that developers are rendered maximum freedom and flexibility to realize their digital innovation. Drupal as a CaaS has been delivering a wonderful experience to both content editors and developers alike.

It is definitely a convenient way to ensure that your strategy is future-proof and can handle any new media in the future.

Topics: Drupal, Planet Drupal, MarTech, Digital Experience

New Retail Landscape: Aligning Trade with Customer Experience

Posted by Akshita Rawat on Sep 2, 2019 4:45:00 PM

The retail industry is experiencing exponential disruption. With new technologies coming in and transforming the way consumers interact and feel about a brand, retailers must respond by engaging customers seamlessly across all touchpoints with dynamic supply chain and agile operations.

According to a CNNMoney report, more than 7000 stores were closed, and 662 retailers filed for bankruptcy in the US alone, in 2017. Ever since Amazon began its pervasive dominance of the online retail market, the battle has always been perceived as ‘eCommerce vs brick and mortar stores.’ And for a while, that was indeed true. However, that clear dichotomy might no longer hold, as we take a closer look at customer behaviour.

Customers’ inclination towards eCommerce and the availability of mobile phones are continually evolving their behaviour and expectations.

The answer lies in the rising phenomenon of a new retail landscape, with changing consumer behaviour, which is a blend of online and offline retail experience bringing in a whole new level of convenience for customers.

The New Retail Landscape

Every retailer has a unique business situation, challenges, resources and strengths, and advantages to the marketplace. Before understanding the universal aspect that every retailer must get right, let’s look at the changing trends in the preference of the consumer.

Modern consumers prefer to buy through channel of their choice per their convenience. A PWC Study shows that 24% of consumers regularly used mobile to shop in 2019, compared with 11% in 2014.

a line graph with two lines in orange and grey

Early analysis from Internet Retailer show online retail sales in the U.S. crossed $517 billion in 2018, a 15.0% jump compared with 2017. The growth in retail sales in physical stores reached 3.7% last year.

This means that eCommerce now accounts for 14.3% of total retail sales when factoring out the sale of items not normally purchased online, such as fuel, automobiles and sales in restaurants. And it also means that in only a decade, the web has more than doubled its share of retail sales. Ten short years ago, eCommerce was at 5.1% of total retail purchases.

three hollow pie chart with numbers and text
In order to achieve great results, retailers must focus on some imperatives.

  • Customer convenience: Engaging them seamlessly across all touchpoints
  • Customer preference: Differentiate through superior and personalized offerings with dynamic supply chain
  • Agile operations: Innovate for agile operations, profitable business models and empowered employees


New technology capabilities help retailers achieve these imperatives.

Mobile and social engagement technologies allow contextual and relevant connections with consumers, employees and suppliers.

New capabilities such as machine learning, cognitive technology, and advanced analytics can decode patterns, preferences and trends that enable better and quicker marketing, increased operating efficiencies, transparent processes and agility in retail, to deliver the products and services consumers expect.

Businesses across industries, including retail, are increasingly looking to leverage cognitive technologies to innovate and position themselves for accelerated and sustainable success in the digital world.

Five colored blocks arranged in a puzzle like manner with text and

In retail, this presents an opportunity to understand things more deeply, faster, to become more relevant to consumers and to run businesses more strategically and more efficiently.

Retail Challenges and Solutions

Despite significant investments and efforts by retailers to drive digital transformation and exceptional customer experience over the last decade, challenges continue to abound across omnichannel strategy and operations functions, such as:

  • Moving away from traditional planning process to automated trading with newer technologies
  • Engaging customers in real time to deliver excellent experience and consistently stand out
  • Productize business and IT to improve operational efficiency

Addressing these omnichannel retail strategy and operations challenges calls for innovative use cases driven by cognitive abilities such as dynamic pricing, virtual product trial, and on the go notification.

Srijan can help retailers respond to challenges and influencing decisions.


  Retailer’s Priority Retailer’s Efforts/Initiative Challenges where Srijan can help
Customer Acquisition
  • Brand positioning
  • In-store footfall/ Online traffic
  • Increase customer base
  • Advertising Campaigns
  • Introductory offers
  • KYC information, segmentation
  • How to reduce acquisition cost?
  • How to optimize conversion rate
  • Incomplete customer persona
  • Delivering memorable customer experience
Upsell & Cross-Sell
  • Drive revenue
  • Increase basket size and share of wallet
  • Seamless personalized customer experience
  • Expensive digital transformation program
  • Data and insight-driven planning and marketing
  • Investment in digital solutions for context-driven offerings
  • Increasing basket size, reduce returns
  • Real-time personalized upsell/ cross-sell push
  • How to address cart abandonment effectively?
  • How to deal with real-time price changes
  • Consolidating omnichannel customer behaviour
Engagement & Retention
  • ROI from reward and loyalty programs
  • Revenue forecasting
  • Optimize ROI & customer experience
  • Drive improvements in digital systems for the desired output
  • How to identify factors that deliver conversion/ customer experience at scale
  • How to mitigate the risks of wrong actions?

 

Such challenges span both business and IT, and may have varying degrees of impact on customer experience, operational excellence, revenue growth, and cost reduction

All of this aligns perfectly with today’s business demands—to do ‘more with less’ at speed and scale, and sustain growth within the constraints of business, technology, and human capabilities.

These challenges have a direct impact on customer experience and therefore should likely be early adoption approach. These include delivering a personalized and frictionless experience, identifying factors that deliver conversion, reduce acquisition cost, break-free operations, and optimizing supply chain and fulfillment.

Solving these challenges and realizing their benefits is no longer the stuff of fiction. Consumers are already using cognitive technology enabled products and services in their daily chores.

How Srijan Can Help

These challenges and solutions are driven by the context to foresee and solve problems, simplifying and managing complexities, predicting the future, and responding to changes in real-time.

Some of the common new models to explore are:

  1. Virtual product try-on: AR-enabled virtual try on lets buyers experience the product look on them with just screens in front of them. Eyeglasses, lipstick, eye shadow, nail colour, jewellery, even clothes - customers can try and buy entire collections without leaving the try-on screen. That’s where the idea of ‘new retail’ comes in, bringing in a whole new level of experience for the customers by blending the digital and in-store retail experience.
  2. Digital price tags: Merging a brand’s online shopping app and its physical store can help offer variable pricing to customers based on their purchase intent and behaviour. As databases gather more data on buying patterns, frequently bought items or items lying in the cart for a long time can get highlighted with available offers and discounts at real time, as the customer passes by them on a store aisle. This could be helpful in inducing an on-the-spot purchase.
  3. Digital signage: An old marketing practice of drawing customers with interactive and engaging digital signage solutions. It can be used in a distinct way by fusing it physical shopping to create a cohesive multichannel experience. Digital signage at brick and mortar store in fact open up a myriad of new options increase sales, operational efficiency and brand awareness.
  4. On-the-go-notification: Similar to dynamic pricing, shoppers can receive pop-up notifications on their phones as they cross certain stores in a mall or even products within a store. This could be information on new collections, new products, deals and offers, all based on past behaviour - browsing patterns on a shopping app, time spent and aisles visited in a particular store, frequency of visits etc.
  5. Just-in-time-inventory stocking: While virtual product trials are one way to reduce logistics expenses, retail stores can also enable the just-in-time stocking to cut costs. So instead of having a huge stock of merchandise, they can selectively have pieces that customers have booked for an in-store trial. This could be especially applicable for merchandise like footwear, accessories, cosmetics, electronics, and apparel.

However, established supply chain processes will also need to change for retail enterprises to truly benefit from the just-in-time stocking. A combination of digital warehouse management, automated delivery scheduling, and adoption of low-volume, low-cost delivery methods will need to be incorporated into supply chain management.

The time for debating retail vs. in-store investments is over. The smart choice is to merge the two into a tightly integrated platform that offers an enhanced customer experience. Contact our experts today to get in touch.

Topics: Omnichannel, MarTech, Digital Experience

Harnessing Technology to Accelerate Transformation in Pharma Industry

Posted by Urvashi Melwani on Aug 30, 2019 5:25:00 PM

The seamless integration of technology into the healthcare sector has empowered pharmaceutical companies to take customer engagement to its next level with very personalized and innovative offerings. Technologies like Cloud, Advanced Analytics, IoT, and Blockchain are providing pharmaceutical executives opportunities to improve efficiencies, tap into the new business potential, and build better relationships with patients and prescribers.

It is anticipated that by 2021, the global pharmaceutical sector will touch down  $1170 billion worth, with an impressive growth rate of 5.8%.

7 hexagons connected with each otherHowever, it is paramount that the sector keeps up with the pace across all the pharma value chains- sales, marketing, digital, business, IT and extends it to patients, HCPs, and distributors as well.

This blog will elucidate the popular trends that are shaping up the pharmaceutical industry and technology solutions that are being harnessed to create advanced healthcare solutions and improved patient experience.

Blending Technology with Pharma

Pharmaceuticals companies have lately realized the fear of missing out & its consequences and so have started investing in digital healthcare and advanced technologies. Subsequently, there are changes being observed in the way these companies operate- whether it's their interaction with stakeholders, such as patients and payers; how they design their research and conduct clinical trials, or how they market their drugs.

Innovative Products and Services

“The increased adoption of telemedicine, smart medical devices & wearables, and DIY diagnostic kits showcases a perfect blend of technology and  pharma industry”

The pharmaceutical industry has been slow to adopt the technological transformations and innovations. It has majorly focused on providing new and more effective medical solutions for a mass market. However, the compelling recent trends show a great focus on offering comprehensive services to consumers and maintaining a cordial relationship with them. 

The increased adoption of telemedicine, smart medical devices & wearables, and DIY diagnostic kits are embarking upon the journey where information technology is blending effectively with medical science. 

Blue rectangle showcasing various small pictures

Improving Access to Patients

Telemedicine nowadays has been considered as one of the biggest revenue generators for pharma companies. This brings in a two-fold benefit-

  • Round-the-clock access to medicare care and consultation for existing patients
  • Increased scope and influence & hence the capability to expand to new markets, and doing away the cost of physical infrastructure.

“Telemedicine nowadays has been considered as one of the biggest revenue generators for pharma companies”

Nonetheless, this can only be acquired when there is complete technology support and advancement made in the field already. While now patients have a facility of receiving the highest quality of care with just a tap on their smartphones and internet access, pharma companies will need a whole-length of solutions to deliver telemedicine services. From audio-visual connectivity, interactive platform, to incorporating existing patient data management systems; these all moving parts will be required in the first place. 

Further, these systems should be robust, available, and scalable if they have to show any significant ROI.

Collecting Health Data

Smart devices have already forayed into the healthcare sector. However, the market is now stepping towards creating those smart devices which can keep the pharma companies engrossed throughout the period when patients interact with their products.

And this subsequently, is turning into a massive real-time data collection network which will only ensure better patient outcomes and drive R&D process.

Healthcare Apps

An easy-to-access healthcare management solution that allows patients and healthcare professionals to stay connected on-the-go, and ensure compliance with medical regimens to obtain better outcomes.

Smart Pills and Bottles

Tracks medicine usage and accordingly incorporates the changes in health statistics to render timely and effective medical services. This can prove effective for caregivers, especially those who are caring for the elderly or those with degenerative conditions.

Digestible sensors

Record drug efficacy for different demographics and iterate over time to create more specific and efficient products. 

“Pharma companies are also launching devices aimed at specific medical issues”

The solutions availed by the patients causes them little to no disruption in their existing habits. But for pharma companies, the ability to collect data effectively from smart devices, and making it available to the right people is a complex technology venture.

Having said that, these following requirements are generated to carry out further process

  • Cloud space is required to collect and store data and put special attention on its security, and HIPAA compliance
  • Showcasing this data to patients, caregivers, and healthcare professionals will require data visualization solutions, as well as dashboards with access controls to avoid access to any restricted users. 
  • Making this data available to existing healthcare record and management systems would also require you to think of creating and managing the right APIs

Additionally, pharma companies are also launching devices aimed at specific medical issues.

blockchain security

It will help in -

  • Storing patient’s data safely and securely
  • Authenticating every drug and ensuring no counterfeit drugs reach the market
  • Transparency and traceability of consent, and reliability of data during clinical trials

augmented and virtual reality

“Investments made in VR technology can remodel the way treatments are done for mental/ psychological challenges like chronic pain, or stress”

Augmented reality can help patients in being an active member in their healthcare process instead of being passive recipients. AR can assist doctors and patients to understand the complex medical challenges and the treatment options to better envisage what they are dealing with, and accordingly take better treatment decisions on time.

 

Investments made in VR technology can remodel the way treatments are done for mental/ psychological challenges like chronic pain, or stress.

gamification

Gamifying health issues to give them an interesting twist is proving out to be an effective remedy in encouraging patients to stick to their treatment and healthcare plans. It fascinates patients and inspires them that leads to improved patient outcomes. 

A person using tab to play game

For instance, Sanofi’s Monster Manor is a game for children with Type 1 diabetes that motivates them to keep a check on their glucose levels. It is integrated with BlueLoop Glucose (BG) tracker application.

“Solutions in the form of games can naturally compel kids and help vastly in improving outcomes in pediatric medicine”

Every time as children will enter their BG information into the BlueLoop app, they will be rewarded with a “piñata” to crack open in Monster Manor.  Pinatas are all sort of fun items inside, from “Beanz” that helps children collect more monsters, to “gold” that will buy their monsters new pets.

Such type of solutions can naturally compel kids and help vastly in improving outcomes in pediatric medicine. To implement the same efficiently, they do need secure applications and seamless integration into patient information systems.

Here is the link of video showcasing how technology is and will transform the pharma industry. Watch now-

Data-Driven Decision Making

Pharma companies are launching new and more targeted products & service lines with data driving the execution part. The data is provided on what health challenges the population is expected to deal with, how new products are impacting patient outcomes, and an array of other factors that impact R&D, manufacturing and sales.

These companies should start to link and filter the data they have accumulated in different technical and organizational silos, which in turn,  will bestow them with a huge opportunity to improve their pipelines, products, and strategies. This way they can bring in use the internal and external data sources to drive superior results in R&D and marketing to boost their internal procedures.

“Identifying risk factors prevailing in patients at an early stage can ensure early treatment and hence better chances of success”

Preventative Treatment

  • The data analysis and evaluation helps in keeping up with the trends and accordingly create predictive models of biological processes or the impact of certain drugs.
  • Identifying risk factors prevailing in patients at an early stage can ensure early treatment and hence better chances of success.

Generating Revenue

  • Big data strategies can drive value through innovation and advance complex decision making to generate up to $100 billion annually.
  • Clinical trials will become more cost-efficient as companies will rely on data modelling to anticipate success outcomes and only spend time in those trials that comprise of a higher probability of success. 


“Data visualization and analytics solutions that can leverage all the data to offer accurate insights would also be crucial for pharma enterprises”

The implementation of big data can significantly improve the workflows, boost process automation, and increase diagnostic accuracy. Top companies like IBM, Google, and Microsoft have already their own AI healthcare projects and are apparently investing more in this area.

Professionals in the same industry will have to work around the strategies to level up their game of data collection and analytics abilities to be able to successfully battle against these giants in the new market landscape.

The first step towards this would be framing a wall-to-wall data infrastructure that’s robust, accessible, and secure. Data visualization and analytics solutions that can leverage all the data to offer accurate insights would also be crucial for pharma enterprises.

Improved Patient Experience

In this modern era, the pharma industry is no new to inculcate the digital strategy centered around their patients for a better and enriched experience. Pharmaceutical companies are moving way beyond drug stores and doctors and investing in new services that are originating from it.

Comprehensive Medical Solutions

Pharma companies are focusing on offering packages to patients that might come handy in every medical solution instead of providing them with one-off products. These all-inclusive offerings encompass everything from digital health apps to services and devices bundled along with the prescribed product. This comprehensive approach like this can easily level up the pharma companies in the industry, with companies making an effort to own the entire patient relationship rather than just serving a portion of it.

Voice Applications

Voice technologies in pharma are currently limited to applications like quick medical scribes or speech-based guided instructions. However, more can be contributed in this field to serve elderly people better and manage chronic conditions or as the physician's assistant. 

4 hexagons and 2 cylindrical shaped container connected with each other

It is estimated that by the end of 2019, HIPAA-compliant voice and chatbot applications for healthcare will gain eminence as well-known companies like Amazon, Apple, Google, and Microsoft will vigorously compete on voice solutions.

Summing up

With the continuous evolvement in the pharma industry, pharmaceutical enterprises are required to offer the top-notch range of medical products and services to stay on the top. And given the current trends, the ability to do that not only comes from medical expertise but also technical expertise. 

Revamping internal processes by having a close understanding of the consumers’ medical needs and technological expectations will be required, to tap and invest in new market opportunities.

So, it’s time for pharmaceutical players to keep an eye on the trends, and start collaborating with technology partners that can ultimately help them conceptualize and create a completely new set of products, services, and processes.

Topics: Healthcare & Life sciences, Digital Experience

Strategy For A Successful Digital Experience

Posted by Kimi Mahajan on Aug 26, 2019 5:54:00 PM

In a recent study by Qualtrics, 65% of respondents expressed that their experience on a website or app is an important factor in their willingness to recommend the brand.

Enterprises need to offer exceptional experience and put the consumer more at the center to create a connection and foster it to win loyalty.

With more than 82% of consumers turning to their cell phones to help make a product decision, how should enterprises strategize to craft a great experience for them?

Why is Digital Experience Important?

The digital experience is the resulting impression of a company in a customer’s mind after an overall digital interaction. Even the smallest businesses are realizing the importance of digital channels in customer relationships and are focussing on their digital journey. Consumers prefer digital self-service support rather than getting assistance from a support person over the phone.

It is clear that these digital moments are shaping essential KPIs that will ultimately inform the path to purchase and retention, resulting in the need for a mobile-first mindset as important than ever.

A digital experience consists of many different journeys that determine if the overall customer experience was positive. It depends upon whether a consumer visited the website to buy something that caused the positive interaction, or a consumer came to get support? Did the brand interaction educate them for the purchase decision, or did they do their own competitive comparison or price shopping exercise?

Game Plan for a Successful Digital Experience

To lessen frustrating customers and refrain them to move towards to competitors due to poor digital experiences, businesses should focus on the following 5 goals for an effective digital experience strategy.

Functionality

According to Forrester, 61% of U.S. online adults are unlikely to return to a website that does not provide a satisfactory experience.

The functionality of the website or application plays a pivotal role in improving usability and accessibility in your user experience. The web experience created is the greatest competitive differentiator in the digital age.

A great way to explore functionality is to build a plan for “moments of truth” to map customer journey, to track positive interactions or touchpoints where frustrations exist.

It’s fundamental to understand that great user experience doesn’t come with flawless design, but comes with impeccable functionality.

Omnichannel

To create a seamless digital experience, the web app should be designed in line with other channels.

Customers are not restricted to using a single channel and rather prefer multiple channels to interact with your brand. So when you ensure users to experience omnichannel seamless journey across all interactions, you build trust.

The key features of the web app should be uniform across all channels and a conscious decision should be made to add additional functions specific to each channel. Also, the actions users take using one channel should affect all other channels. The user experience should be optimized as per the context of your channel, with a fair promotion strategy to ensure that the omnichannel customer experience is channel-neutral. An integrated approach should be followed to allow customers to choose their touchpoints without losing out on features or content.

Convenience

Users prefer interacting and seeking support through digital means with little human interaction and prefer to solve their own issues and find their own answers. Self-service is more common than ever as customers use their smartphones to conveniently access information, make payments, schedule appointments, book travel, and find answers to support questions.

As per Global State of multichannel customer service report, 90% of people now expect brands to offer self-service options.

The key for brands to be rated highest in terms of customer satisfaction is to offer them a choice of self-service options, along with offering a seamless connected experience when moving between channels.

By flagging reported repetitive cases and using surveys and metrics such as Customer Effort Score, and Customer Satisfaction Score to discover key issues can help in enhancing the overall process of self service.Game Plan for a Successful Digital Experience

Personalization

It’s a known fact that a huge number of options can make it more difficult for customers to make a decision and turn them away from choosing a suitable product or service.

91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands that recognize, remember, and provide them with relevant offers and recommendations.

Enterprises have been able to leverage the power of machine learning and deep learning technology to have powerful technological capabilities at their fingertips to help them create personalised web experiences. By producing rich insights into an individual’s wants and needs by aggregating customer’s data and learning from it in real time, these insights help businesses deliver the right consumer interactions that become a powerful differentiator for their brand.

Deliverability

Deliverability defines the effort and enjoyment that users perceive when navigating through the experience.

Both empathy and friction are two critical agents in achieving deliverability. It involves learning about the difficulties people face, as well as uncovering their latent needs and desires in order to explain their behaviors.

Guarantee smooth deliverability to users by understanding their pain points, their likes and dislikes and reason for buying your product in order to provide them with delightful experiences. Gain insights about customers by asking the right questions to get to know where they are getting stuck. They are the real brand promoters of your business and you would want to keep them happy by taking into account their feedback for improving their experience.

Customer feedback plays a critical role in improving deliverability and needs to be solicited at various stages in the experience, rather than simply at the end of the journey. This will allow you to map their emotional journey throughout their experience and identify where negative emotions occur.

As customer experience begins to claim the title of key brand differentiator, businesses cannot afford to make the fatal mistake of ignoring the importance of digital experience strategies.

Topics: MarTech, Digital Experience

Powering the telecom transformation with APIs

Posted by Sanjay Rohila on Aug 16, 2019 4:03:00 PM

Moving into round two brought with it the metaphor of The concept of Telco 2.0 has been around for quite some time now. It has been around moving away from the competition with OTT and concentrate on forming complementary ecosystems that benefit both. Telcos began moving away from being mere carriers and becoming more visible within the value chain, essentially transforming from unidirectional to bi-directional business model. 

This meant becoming an ‘enabler’ in the communication supply chain. From proving singular services, telcos started to facilitate an ICT and application platform that could connect diverse businesses and service providers (upstream consumers)  to consumers (downstream consumers) . This model again saw telcos becoming the key link for a wider variety of consumers. 

Telcos are uniquely qualified to become a central broker in this exchange economy because of the amount of data and network infrastructure already at their disposal:

  • Information and Identity: The telephone numbers is a key piece of information that telcos own, and that’s linked to a host of other personal information on users. This also becomes a key identity maker and used for two-factor authentication by most OTTS to strengthen their security. 
  • Business Intelligence: Telcos have a lot of data from both mass and business users, and the tools to leverage that information to better connect service providers to consumers.  
  • Distribution: CSPs own the networks that OTTs use; the fiber, copper, coaxial and wireless broadband networks.
  • Billing and Payments: Telcos have a well established payment relationship with the subscribers, and can become a secure payment broker, offering businesses the ability to seamlessly offer services to a large user base. And for customers, it means ease of payment, either through their mobile numbers or just by adding all payments to their monthly phone bill. 
  • Customer Care: CSPs already have a well established customer care network, with access to a large user base, and the experience to handle care. This makes them uniquely positioned to offer outsourced customer care services to businesses and service providers. 

 

Now, there are several different technology and organizational aspects that need to be addressed to make the telco transformation complete. But a key peg in the whole scheme of things are APIs, especially when you consider how the whole model depends on the ability to connect and deliver information from massively disrate systems. APIs are the very instrument of transformation across technology, network, operations and business services.

We have taken a broad look at how telecom enterprises can leverage APIs to create new revenue streams. Here we try to break that down into the specific teleco APIs that can be turned to new products in the communications ecosystem.

Productizing Different Types of Telecom APIs

To begin with APIs were seen as a solution to expose different types of data and services and allow disparate systems to effectively communicate. However, there has been a recent paradigm shift in how APIs are perceived. They have moved beyond being a mere solution, and are increasingly seen as products that can be leveraged to open uniquely new revenue streams. This productization fuels design thinking and focus on who exactly are the consumers of any given API. And when these consumers are classified, telcos get three distinct types of APIs, with differing levels of complexity and RoI.

Telecom APIs - complexity of productization

Internal APIs

The first level telco APIs are internal, leveraged by their own applications that connect the telco and its various existing services to the consumer. These typically are low complexity API productization models that revolves around the core services. The data and information that arise from the existing infrastructure and network are bundled into API products developed solely by the telco, and made available for usage. 

Some of the common API products in this category are location, messaging and identity services. And these can be leveraged by telcos own-brand applications and OTT services like: 

General information: Applications that share general information about the telso with the consumers - plan options, mobile phone options, accessories available, store locator, ratings, and reviews. All this contributes to the bottomline by ensuring that the telcos offerings are accessible and available to the consumers within the digital economy that they are tuned in to.

Custom information and transactions: Applications that personalize the relationship between the telco and each of its consumers. The first strata of information and functionality being made available here are custom plans and packages for the users, usage data, upgrade eligibility, checking account balance, bill payments, changing account features, account maintenance (password, address, etc.). All of this can be easily made available by pulling information from different internal telco systems via APIs. 

Leveraging the phone hardware: Using telco applications on a phone also makes it easy to leverage mobile hardware features and functionalities - GPS tracking, camera, digital wallet etc. These facilities, in conjunction with the telco’s internal APIs can be used to provide specialized services to their users. A few examples could be providing telco store locations on the app in combination with the phone’s GPS. 

Besides this, internal APIs also streamline intra-organizational access to different data systems, make it easier and faster to build new solutions and applications. There’s ans estimated 5-10% savings  in terms of development effort and lower QA testing requirements, with the adoption of internal APIs. Designing and Implementing an API Monetization Roadmap for Globe Telecom - Case Study

Partner APIs 

These set of APIs are all about creating a platform where other businesses and service providers can build upon. The key idea is to make telecom APIs access data from the telcos own and connected partner systems and make it available for other providers to leverage. Some common possibilities here are:  

  • Content services – streaming media, news, stock information  
  • Online services – social media, video chat, messaging, search, shopping  
  • Technology services – hosting (i.e. cloud), caching, payments  
  • Connectivity services – support for intermittent connectivity  
  • Device integration – smart phone, wired telephone, tablet, computer, television  
  • Business services – analytics, billing, accounting, coupons 

Other businesses can build on these services with their value additions and rely on the telecom to manage the infrastructure and selected business services. 

Specific industry partners can also use telecom APIs to build B2B offerings. They can rely on telcos to offer billing or messaging service APIs to act as key aspects of their service offerings. For example - OTAs can partner with telcos to provide log in/authentication to their portals, payments, notifications, and push custom phone plans for bookings to specific destinations. 

With the rise of connected cities and virtually anything as a service, the phone number can become a singular digital identity for consumers. And almost any service provider, in any industry, can partner with telcos with offer their services, whether that’s by leveraging the data telcos have, or the network infrastructure, or even the phone hardware. All this is if telcos focus on identifying the emerging opportunities and building the right API ecosystem. 

In all these cases, the API products being designed are typically medium complexity and offered with a degree of federated services. The monetization opportunities here are majorly volumetric, as in the third-party service providers are charged as per the volume of API calls made in any given period. 

Partner APIs also make it easier to onboard new partners onto the telcos ecosystem and ensure quick time-to-market for new partner services. An estimated 5-20% savings accrue  from partner APIs owing to the consistent and self-service processes, reduced onboarding time and improved partner experience

Public APIs

Several of the APIs used for internal and partner platforms can be opened to the public for greater use by third-party developers. This allows telcos to further monetize their data and network, while leveraging new revenue streams. 

For example, open access to telco offers and plans data can be used by comparison applications and help drive more subscribers to the telco. Opening up APIs that securely expose user phone number and messaging can allow telcos to charge all third-party applications that use two-factor authentication via OTPs.

Several similar revenue options can open up for telcos with public APIs. However, in most cases, a single telco by itself may not have enough scale or access to data to become a truly game-changing resource for service providers. These are also high-complexity API products that could benefit from co-development models with a greater resource pool. And in such cases it makes sense for CSPs to come together on a federated API platform.

This is when several different telcos join together to offer a host of different APIs and share the cost of development and deployment. The federated platform, on the other hand, supports each participating telco with delivering their niche digital services, managing the full partner ecosystem, and providing common business processes as required. The federated platform also brings together the combined data of all telcos to offer more well-rounded and complete data sets for use by service providers, and manages revenue sharing for the participants.

Most telcos today are at the initial levels of API maturity with a broad vision and some basic APIs at play. Some have an API platform, exposing internal APIs like messaging or payment for third party providers. But the challenge is to scale their API program, unify different development tracks, and move them to a federated API platform. For this, telcos need to look for experienced teams that can take them from what they are, to where they want to be.

Srijan is working with leading telecom enterprises in the US, Europe and APAC regions. We are aiding these enterprises’ digital transformation journeys, leveraging data science and analytics, APIs, AI, machine learning, and chatbots to create tailor-made business solutions.

Rolling out your telecom API initiative? Talk to our experts and let's explore how Srijan can help with API productization, monetization and governance. 

Topics: Telecom, API Management, Digital Experience

Customer Experience is Your Defining Micro moment. Brace Yourself

Posted by Akshita Rawat on Jun 18, 2019 5:27:00 PM

The attention span is getting shorter. Reaching out to acquire new customers is good, but retention gives better ROI. Getting to know your customers and building relationships with them is easier. As per Hubspot, the cost to acquire new customers has increased by over 50%, in the last five years.

With consumer expectations and behavior continually evolving this shouldn't be surprising. Micro moments filling in the consumer experience journey, they want to discover, resolve their problems, watch, buy, ‘now’.

These are intent-rich moments (for businesses), exactly where the decision is made. You miss out on the important intent signals, and they move ahead.

How do you plan to acquire and retain your customers before running out of patience?

Uncovering Concept and Some Stats, First

People today reach out to their smartphones before anything. The behavioural changes and expectations for speed, driven by smartphones, has fractured the consumer journey into hundreds of smaller decision making, impressive moments.

The predominance of social media and importance of speed can be an enormous barrier or an effective tool.

Click, swipe, check, exit.

Repeat.

In these smaller moments of discovery, 64% of people find customer experience more important than price. Since customer experience is not static, micro-moments, as Google calls it, have truly changed the way decision journey is driven.

It is an overall impression you leave with your customer, resulting in how they think of your brand, across every stage of the customer journey. Multiple touch points factor into the customer experience, and these touch points occur on a cross-functional basis. 

The predominance of social media and importance of speed can be an enormous barrier or an effective tool.

Here’s why you should care about your customer experience strategy:

  • Customers who have had an unpleasant experience on a brand website are 88% less likely to return
  • 61% of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site they had trouble accessing, and 40% visitors end up visiting a competitor’s site instead
  • After one negative experience, 51% of customers will never do business with that company again.
  • 86% of consumers are willing to pay more for great customer experience. In fact, by the year 2020, customer experience is expected to overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator.


In all this, 

  • It is anywhere from 5 to 25 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep a current one.

Everything is not just about new acquisitions.

What Do Your Customers Want?

The #1 reason customers switch to a new brand is feeling unappreciated.

Daunting as it may feel now after reading the statistics, it’s really no different from your overall business strategy. Foremost, understand that you need to listen and empathize with your customer.

Because “..when customers share their story, they’re not just sharing pain points. They’re actually teaching you how to make your product, service, and business better” (Kristin Smaby, Being Human is Good Business).

If you can understand what makes your customer feel the way it does and why, it would be easy for you to find a solution between your brand and their needs — providing meaningful service.

Another important part of the strategy is to ensure, it is not limited to the customer-facing roles. Sharing the feedback and solution across the organization helps you improve overall customer experience and relationship.

How to Prepare Yourself?

#Customers remember the service a lot longer than they remember the price

Your relation with your customer starts the moment they discover your brand but it doesn’t end with the sale. It sums up any and every interaction they have with your business, both pre- and post-sale across different marketing channels.

What you sell bothers least, if you don’t know how to sell it, therefore start with:

  1. Understanding your consumers’ need

    While customer trust is quite hard to earn, things can be sorted with knowledge. Know about you customer -- their problem, goals, demographic, and so on -- the better chance you have to create meaningful experiences.

    Google identifies the micro-moments into four stages.
    “I-want-to-know” moments
    “I-want-to-go” moments
    “I-want-to-do” moments
    “I-want-to-buy” moments

    These can be leveraged by analyzing the data and working on the prospective ideas. A person searching for ‘Drupal 8.7 upgrade features’ on Google is provided with an awesome feature list blog on your website, you capture them in their I-want-to-know moment.

    That’s when they come back to your website again.

    A customer-first email communication strategy with appropriate CTA, later, should be able to help them to turn into their ‘i-want-to-buy’ moment.

    Ultimately, showing up gets your brand in the game to be chosen, not just seen.

    Make it easier to map out content and services, allocate your team’s time and resources, and achieve. 
  2. Listen them out. Patiently

    Other than assuming and translating data into perspective, the more accurate way is to listen and not speak!

    As it has been pointed out earlier, how when customers share their story, it is rather an opportunity instead of looking at it as a problem.

    Learn to listen.

    Because you know your opinion and needs well, except you don’t know theirs.

    Remember that even if your happiest customer will go about appreciating your service, bad word-of-mouth will travel faster and reaches more people.

    Americans tell an average of 15 people about a poor service experience, versus the 11 people they’ll tell about a good experience.

    The best way to get started is through asking your customers to be part of an honest customer satisfaction survey. It can help you gauge how your customers feel about your
    company, where you need to improve, what are your strong points.
  3. Share meaningful and real-time information

    The attention span is getting shorter. Reaching out to people is important but creating the right kind of messaging, all the more important. It’s important that you don’t allow automation to compromise personalized service.

    The predominance of social media and the importance of speed can be an enormous barrier or an effective tool. Whichever you choose to proceed with.

    Look what people are searching for - terms they are using, their key areas of interest – and create content and provide solutions that help for different channels of communication.

    Customers expect businesses to respond to their emails within an hour. And on social media it is even lesser. Simply, put, being there as part of the micro moments just isn’t enough.

    A delayed response can signal to the customer that you’re avoiding responsibility or you’re unprepared to fulfil their request.

    At the end of the day, people want to know that they are not only being helped by other people, but rather, that they are being helped by other people that understand their needs.
  4. Be Ubiquitous

    #Only 9% of customers will stay on the mobile site/ app if it doesn’t satisfy their needs.

    New smart devices are emerging, and consumers are embracing new ways to interact with them, like voice commands. As a result, the micro-moment behaviors kick-started by mobile will only multiply.

    50% of internet users looked for videos related to a product or service before visiting a store.

    Mobile quickly delivers results when they’re impatient, provides inspiration at their fingertips when they’re curious, and gives them a personalized experience when they’re demanding one. And customers overwhelmingly show appreciation for great service with their wallets.

The ROI of Customer Lifetime Value

Offering outstanding customer services is easier with proven better ROI. Lifetime customers also mean an increase in referrals, so you definitely understand the importance of customer loyalty. Turning the customers into the advocates for your business gives out better returns  

And the way to create advocates is to offer superior customer service.

  • Increasing customer retention rates by 5% increase profits anywhere from 25% to 95%.
  • A moderate increase in customer experience generates an average revenue increase of $823 million over three years for a company with $1 billion in annual revenues.
  • After having a positive experience with a company, 77% of customers would recommend it to a friend.
  • When it comes to making a purchase, 64% of people find customer experience more important than price.

Businesses should invest heavily in measuring customer satisfaction over time and work to consistently give better service

In this day and age, customers are making purchase decisions based on more than just the best price — they're making buying decisions based on shared values, engagement, and the emotional connection they share with a brand.

Be Genuine

Customer perception is one of the most valuable aspects of a company. Managing that perception in all its forms should be a top priority and is the responsibility of every single person in the organization. Keeping customer a priority should be a part of company culture.

Topics: Omnichannel, MarTech, Digital Experience

Can CIOs manage Digital Transformation while cutting costs?

Posted by Rajat Lal on Jun 3, 2019 5:50:00 PM

Early Encounters with Duality

Managing with Dual Strategies - a book by Derek F. Abell, was the recommended reading suggested to me early in my career - by a senior executive of ABC Consultants, India’s premier people management consulting company. I’d been in a pure sales representation role till then, moving into a new Corporate Planning function with my then company. This book was supposed to act as my Bible on the challenges faced by senior management.

I’ve forgotten most of the content I’d read then (to confess, I never read the book fully, save for a presentation I did to my Corporate Planning colleagues). But the book’s title has stayed with me all these years, and so also the subtitle Mastering the Present, Pre-empting the Future. I would see CIO equivalents in the 90’s struggle with early age technology initiatives, in a quandary whether to stay put in the air conditions environs where the Unix servers were hosted or go down to the business teams and figure out how to make life easier for them.

As was usual in that time, management wisdom then lay more faith on maximal utilisation of the former. The would-be CIOs had their KRAs quite clear - loads of report generation, and upkeep of the servers. And as it happens with most such concise pieces of wisdom that stick around in your head, I ended up applying this beyond work situations, to my personal life.

So ‘Mastering the Present’ became an early start to personal financial planning, on a self-generated spreadsheet. Jotting down all expenses each day, then doing ‘small-data’ analytics at the end of each month on where the money went. Over months and years, the sheet evolved to ‘Pre-empting the Future’ - tracking stocks, mutual funds and tax planning. The sheet is now an unwieldy behemoth with some 20 tabs, possibly tending to big-data proportions.

A blue pen pointing at a graph on a white sheet

The Contradicting Challenges Before CIOs

Coming back to work, and this dual strategy approach was applied more to my customers - largely CIOs or business-technology heads. The issues they’ve faced can largely be put under the ‘Present’ bucket of ‘managing’ Resources, or Costs. And the ‘Future’ bucket of all that goes in the name of Transformation, or ‘pre-empting’ its effects.

CIOs today deal with constant requests, expectations, demands, directives

The challenges CIOs face are essentially two - reducing or optimising  total cost of ownership, while creating Value via Transformation. But the contradiction between these two goals is perhaps as vast and unbridgeable for CIOs today, as they once did in Derek Abell’s book to a then greenhorn.

CIOs, today, deal with constant requests, expectations, demands, directives - to cut down on resources, merge functions or teams, pare down, or harmonise or consolidate vendor contracts. All the while launching into new digital transformation initiatives that seemingly come out of a parallel universe of meetings, conclaves, or business directives.

The CIO’s role seems to straddle the two universes, chasing one objective at the cost of the other.

Can Contradictions be Resolved?

Yet as a recent customer conversation revealed, this contradiction is not insurmountable. If the business goals and expected operational benefits of any initiative are clearly outlined - CIOs can bring about digital transformation and tie it in with reducing costs.

The CIO’s role seems to straddle the two universes, chasing one objective at the cost of the other


We undertook a focused study for a manufacturing company CXO whose remit was to ‘Optimise TCO in IT’:

  • we researched the company’s complete IT landscape
  • identified areas where costs were being sunk into servicing licensed software or infrastructure
  • identified where these were being deployed
  • and then came up with a list of business use cases → these licensed IT assets could be replaced by open source alternatives

 

In the process generating feasible options for mini, stand-alone digital innovation projects limited to a business unit or division - acting as a proof-of-concept for a larger transformation.

So what might ‘innovation’ mean, especially since ‘innovation’ and ‘transformation’ are heavily overused terms?

Being an Indian, I can’t help, indeed I guess I must be expected to, try to explain ‘innovation’ in terms of ‘jugaad’.

‘Jugaad’ vs ‘Frugal Innovation’ - What’s the Underlying Objective?

There are lots of books out there eulogising ‘jugaad’ but since I haven’t read any, I won’t refer them here. Also, the usual positive sense of the word - this or that entrepreneur finding a cheap alternative and making billions (they usually go bust soon after) - holds true less and less.

It's more likely to be in line with this comment (even if it's highly obnoxious) of the infamously sarcastic Prince Philip. While India has seen technology and economic boom since liberalisation in the 1990s and especially the last few years, a ‘we are like this only’ attitude prevails, and in many ways, the nation remains tied to its socialist past.

Despite recent efforts at a national level, this is the attitude that has spawned and nurtured a culture of circumventing laws, evading taxes, soliciting favours, lax service standards, and public litter...  

 … from being the stepping stone to ‘frugal innovation’, ‘jugaad’ has come to mean ‘finding short-cut ideas to cut costs/corners no matter if the objective is compromised’ as opposed to … what ‘innovation’ means - ‘translating ideas into replicable solutions at reduced costs, to help achieve the (customer’s) objective’

As long as the objective is remembered and respected - “the business goals and expected operational benefits” - and cost reduction scenarios worked out accordingly, we are on track with innovation. So CIOs/CXOs can manage with dual strategies, or indeed combine seemingly contradictory strategies into one.

Enterprise Transformation - Experiences, and Examples

Some examples to reference, on Digital Innovation and Transformation delivered using open source platforms, while reducing costs / TCO -

  • An Omnichannel CMS for a Telcos Digital Stores - with a global template framework enabling client teams in 21 EMEA countries to structure pricing & product information as per regional market needs. And an infrastructure solution for the client to shift their hosting to new servers cutting annual costs by hundreds of thousands of pounds  
  • A Video Analytics Solution for an Industrial Cleaning Solutions Company - a machine learning solution using Amazon Sagemaker, Lambda and S3 - on a scalable, pay-as-you-go model - analyzing scraped video feed data to log time-stamped asset performance ---> delivering cost benefits in terms of reduced costs of asset recall & repair, as well as reduced IT infra costs

And again, being an Indian, I can’t help but relate to some examples of successful, ‘frugal’  innovation - ‘jugaad’ gone right (or wrong..?) so to speak -  

We are yet to ‘Master the Present’ - inefficiencies still run dark and deep, many streets and lanes yet to sweep, and some more years to sow before we reap (my modest take on Robert Frost).

But we’ve made progress in ‘Pre-empting the Future’ - leaders globally in areas transformative in reach and scale - universal healthcare & insurance, digital payments and space technologies, for example. Things that might make us proud, and perhaps wake up Prince Philip from his sleep.

...

The views expressed in this blog are solely of the author and do not reflect, by any means, the view of Srijan Technologies. 

Topics: Digital Experience, Enterprises

Content Syndication, Staging, and Synchronization with Drupal

Posted by Akshita Rawat on Apr 8, 2019 5:31:00 PM

For the longest time, web content had one purpose - to get pushed on a web page. But everyone today wants content to be available across the board - on mobile devices, native apps, digital signage, and show up on third-party sites and social networks - if it is to garner the right audience.

However, making this happen is easier said than done. Some of the persistent challenges faced by large editorial teams involve:

  • Coordinating and approving content that’s ready to go live

  • Ensuring authors and contributors can access a central system to create/submit content

  • Publishing a number of content pieces on different websites/subdomains.

Introducing Content Staging, Synchronization, and Syndication

Between 2010 and 2016, the media consumption grew at a 2% rate. It makes one thing clear that people love to consume content and they will in the future as well.

This, in turn, puts a lot of pressure on content creators and marketers to create and push new pieces of content.

Here’s how you can ensure quality and quantity production:

Staging

Creating quality content involves a lot of work, checks, and approval. Big publishing websites might come across several challenges in the process, such as:

  • Publishing a number of articles at the same time, and doing it across different websites/ sub-domains

  • Getting approval in a centralized system

Intricate publishing workflow is a critical part of the content strategy for any organization that employs distributed management.  Editing the content on the live site can result in accidental publishing. To avoid that, a separate staging environment is needed in a robust workflow.

Staging and publishing without requiring the editor to log into the target site is what content staging would help with.

Synchronization

Once the content is approved on the different environments, it must be automatically updated for other website environments. Synchronization helps you keep your environments in perfect sync by automating the secure provisioning of content, code, templates and digital assets between them.

Drupal Content Sync

Source: content Sync

Administrators can create and schedule multiple synchronization tasks to automatically occur in the future. It will target different destination servers and websites, or manually execute synchronization tasks through the user interface.

Developers can leverage the API and event handlers to automatically synchronize any type of staging tasks according to custom requirements.

Syndication

The web is big and noisy. So much so that even though you are targeting a niche audience, chances of them landing on your blog depletes with each day. Syndication gets your content in front of a different audience who might not be aware of your website otherwise.

“Syndication is important because it generates brand awareness and more traffic.”

content_syndication_staging_and_sychronization_with_drupal_srijan  technologies                                          Drupal websites often syndicate content from Drupal planet

In simple terms, content syndication is republishing the content on a third-party website. Syndication works great for national and international media and publishing websites. There is no restriction on the kind of content that can be syndicated. The list can include blog posts, articles, infographics, videos and more.

It is a low-cost strategy which media and publishing websites like Huffington Post, CNN,  and NYTimes often use to garner a new audience. Syndication brings free exposure, backlinks, and greater organic traffic.

the_syndicate_image_srijan technologies

However, syndicated content is ultimately duplicate content. And duplicate content can create havoc with your SEO because Google loves unique content.  

While ranking the content it will only index the version that is original and larger, high-traffic website. You can make your syndicated content SEO-friendly by ensuring it is indexed correctly, on your site and on your syndication partner’s site.

Drupal Solutions for Content Staging, Synchronization, and Syndication

Drupal’s digital experience platform knows that your content must reach more than just websites. So yes, of course, it has modules for staging, syncing and syndication.

1. Workflow

Workflow, as the name suggests creates arbitrary workflows. Creating different workflows for the content saved as ‘draft’, ‘review’ and ‘published’, it can be assigned to the story node type.

  • Only users with role 'chief editor' can set stories to the published state. It also allows to set up workflow to alter states from form, page, comment, a special block, and a special workflow tab.

  • For content editors, it allows managing the view/edit/delete permissions for content types per user role and workflow state with its sub-module Workflow Access.

  • Another action it allows is the transition from Review to Published so that the node's status is set to Published (and becomes visible on the website).

This module is available for Drupal 8.

2. Deploy

The Deploy module lets users to easily stage and preview content. It can manage the dependencies between different entities, like node references, automatically.

Designed to have a rich API which can be easily extended in a variety of content staging situations, Deploy can be used for both single and cross-site staging.

It should be noted that the Deploy module doesn't provide any settings or configuration pages, and the user must ensure that the target workspaces and/or remotes are configured correctly (workspaces configuration pages are provided by Workspace module).

For UI, Deploy provides just a link to run a deployment between current active workspace and its target.

This module is available for Drupal 8.

3. CMS Content Sync

CMS Content Sync provides content synchronization features between Drupal sites using a Node.js based Sync Core. It is built to support the synchronization of a huge amount of data, including content and media assets between many Drupal sites that can't be handled by Drupal itself.

Drupal Europe - Content Syndication, Staging and Synchronization in Drupal

Source: DrupalEurope

The three use cases for the CMS content sync are:

Content Staging: Content Sync allows you to test code updates with your content and publish code and content simultaneously. It further allows editorial review processes to ensure consistent quality of content.

Content Syndication:  For distributed teams, it allows the content to be updated and deleted centrally. It pushes content and media items at any of your sites to publish them on any targeted remote site automatically.

Content Pool: This feature lets you update and delete these items from the source site or allows you to completely customize it on the remote site. Further, you can connect the remote sites. Each content item comes with a preview and link to the source site that makes it easy to identify and select.

If your enterprise manages a large volume of content over a multi-site architecture, staging, syndication, and sync are crucial. Srijan’s expert teams can help you optimize these processes and follow industry best practices. Just drop us a line and our team will be in touch.

Topics: Drupal, Planet Drupal, Digital Experience

Acquia Engage APAC, 2019: Unravelling Digital Customer Experiences with Srijan

Posted by Gaurav Singh on Mar 5, 2019 5:58:00 PM

At Srijan, we are all about creating ambitious digital experiences. And we are always excited to share our insights and project learnings with rest of the community. This year’s Acquia Engage APAC brings us this opportunity and we are proud to announce that Srijan is sponsoring the Morning & Afternoon tea at Acquia Engage APAC, 2019.

The event brings together some of the brightest minds in digital transformation to share ideas, make connections, and inspire. This year, it is being held at The Glasshouse, Melbourne, Victoria on Thursday, 7th March, 2019.

Success in this digital age, requires a futuristic, and well planned strategy and hat is what the conference aims to drive. The Acquia Engage event allows industry leaders to share their insights and experiences, success and learnings, when it comes to delivering best-in-class digital experiences.

Srijan at Acquia Engage APAC

The Srijan team at Acquia Engage APAC will have technology experts and leaders with years of industry experience:

Ashish Goyal, CEO at Srijan, is an experienced technologist with a keen eye for applying emerging emerging technologies for better business outcomes. With over 20 years of experience across industries, Ashish leads Srijan’s endeavours into a new era of enabling digital transformation for enterprises.

Arijit Dutta, Technical Architect at SRIJAN, is a skilled IT professional with 7+ years of industry and technology experience. He leads Srijan’s operations in Australia across all service streams, and is an avid contributor to the Drupal community.

Gaurav Singh, Business Head - APAC, is tuned in to the evolving needs of the region’s enterprises. With keen business and technology acumen, he helps drive digital transformation for enterprises with robust and scalable solutions across Drupal, API Management and AWS capabilities.

So if you are attending Acquia Engage APAC, make sure to connect with the Srijan team. We would be delighted to learn about your work around creating digital experiences, and some of our insights with you.

Topics: Drupal, Community, Digital Experience

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