Backbase is a small company with big plans for customer experience management (CXM). The company markets a CXM platform that puts control in the hands of the business users, explained Jelmer de Jong, the company's global head of marketing.
"It's lean and agile," he said. "It lets users access all enterprise content from a single place and adapt it for optimal omnichannel experiences."
Rather than offer a unified platform, many customer experience management vendors offer a number of different applications that are only loosely tied together — and leave it to the customers to pull everything together. Backbase claims to be an exception.
"Many of our competitors, including IBM, Oracle and Adobe, grew by acquisition. They have big, bloated customer experience suites that take a one-size-fits-all approach.. We started with one integrated portal and grew on the basis of market research and client feedback to create a flexible platform that really empowers our customers," de Jong said.
Tell Me More
Founded in Amsterdam, the Netherlands in 2003, Backbase offers a comprehensive suite of applications that help companies create, manage and deliver online applications so they can interact and connect with their customers. Its Customer Experience Platform (CXP) is "designed to create a totally customer-centric online environment, populated with powerful widgets that provide unlimited flexibility and functionality," the company maintains.
"The platform is so easy to learn and use that we can have your business online within weeks instead of months," de Jong told CMSWire. Backbase claims user experience (UX) is in its DNA. According to its marketing slogan, "the customer is at the heart of everything we do."
But marketing aside, some leading enterprises apparently agree that Backbase offers an interesting technology. Global organizations such as GE, ABN AMRO, AIG, Al Rajhi Bank, KPN, Bank of America, Barclays, ING, UBS and Visa are already using it. And the company is growing, de Jong said.
It opened a US office in San Francisco in 2005, relocated that office to New York City in 2010 and now considers it the North American headquarters. As de Jong said, North America is a key market for companies in the CXM space.
While the company counts many banks and financial institutions among its clients, it also has customers in other verticals, including retail, de Jong added.
Honors and Achievements
In the recent months, announced a strengthened focus on social capabilities within its flagship product, released a new version of its CXP, and earned some significant market recognition.
In January, Ovum named Backbase a market leader (.pdf) for next-gen, digital banking platforms and a must-have for banks' vendor shortlists. Ovum defines the Market Leader category as representing "the leading solutions that we believe are worthy of a place on most technology selection shortlists. The vendor has established a commanding market position with a product that is widely accepted as best-of-breed."
In early February, the Gartner MarketScope for User Experience Platforms listed Backbase as leading front-runner in the user experience platform (UXP) market. These platforms are important, Garner maintains, because they "supply consistent, high-fidelity user experiences across a breadth of services, and the sites and apps created by a UXP can be deployed across multiple channels and devices."
It was the second recognition from Gartner in five months: Last September, Backbase earned a place in Gartner’s Visionary Quadrant for Horizontal Portals last September for the third year running.
But that's not all. Less than a month ago, the audience at Finovate Europe 2014, a leading FinTech conference in London, voted that Backbase had the best new product demonstration of 67 presented at the show. Backbase launched its new Digital Sales and Enrollment Module, which features a streamlined, omni-channel loan application process for financial institutions.
Mobile and Web Content Management
De Jong was enthusiastic about version 5.5 of its platform, which adds mobile app development and new web content management capabilities for management of multichannel projects. Features include mobile augmentation, a mobile app manager and out-of-the-box blueprints for responsive design, hybrid apps and native apps.
It also includes import/export capabilities for all Backbase CXP assets, including complete portals, apps, widgets, layouts and templates, making it possible to share assets across portals, portal servers or even between other vendors and the enterprise portal.
Combined, the added functionality enhances the core agility of the platform — and capitalizes on the "lean, agile portals" that Backbase has long been promoting.
What's it Do?
CXP enables users to create rich, interactive web portals and mobile applications. More importantly, it enables business users working at the customer end of the platform to change, edit and manage relevant customer experiences, without constant intervention or assistance from the IT department.
It's expanded capabilities are part of the company's evolution, de Jong said, adding:
We went through a transition where we said we are no longer just a portal company; we also want to deliver a customer experience platform, something we have been developing since that decision was made. From customer experience platforms, we expanded into things like web content management, cross channel mobile delivery or digital marketing. We feel that the future is in onmichannel management and we have been developing with this in mind."
While many vendors can manage content, websites, mobile apps or other channels, the key is "putting everything on a single platform that can support any device, any channel and also ensure sure that the experience across all devices, all channels in seamless," he said. "This is particularly true now in that many of our customers, are starting their content journey on one device and finishing on another device."
Why should anyone care about customer experience? In the banking and financial sector, where Backbase has a strong presence, financial services consultant Roger Peverelli has some ideas. In his book Reinventing Customer Engagement: The Winning Model for Banks and Insurers (check out the webinar here), he identified four key points:
- Customer engagement is essential to building trust.
- As marketplaces become more crowded and competitive, customer engagement is one area where a brand can set itself apart.
- Customer engagement is a primary source of profit -- customers who have a good experience with a brand are more likely to buy a second product
- Regulators are paying more attention to customer engagement: Every aspect of the customer experience is now coming under the microscope.
He also pointed to recent research from Forrester, which found that:
- 47 percent banks don’t measure their own performance when it comes to customer service / engagement
- 71 percent don’t have a comprehensive overview of their customer engagement policy
- 79 percent do not structurally train employees to engage with customers
Peverelli said turning customer engagement into an economic engine requires a careful blend of core business values and strategic design principles. But he is preaching to the choir at Backbase: That's exactly what the company wants to do, de Jong said.