Not to be left out of the online customer experience updates, IBM officially announces a few of its own. And it's tossing in the next generation of intranet suites to boot.
A Revamped Customer Experience Suite
What we are looking at here is the next version of IBM products that make up its customer experience platform. This includes Websphere Portal 8, Web Content Manager 8, a new version of Web Experience Factory, new Forms (formerly PixelPerfect) and social software. Add into that the tools and platforms for mobile, native social communities, rich content and analytics and you have the full suite of CXM software.
Also key to IBM's CXM suite is the integration of assets across the enterprise, bringing business context to everything that happens in this suite.
You can buy all the pieces separately, but when you know you need the whole shebang, it's all right here, tightly integrated.
Some of the new capabilities with this latest version include:
- The ability to integrate content, pages and analytics providing an analytical overlay on content areas.
- Integrated A/B Split Testing and multivariate testing
- Better LOB tooling, including real-time awareness.
- A new content template catalog.
- Tighter integration with backend data via standards like CMIS .
- Owned social communities can now be connected to external social networks like Facebook
- A new responsive design approach for mobile experiences
In addition, IBM's new Forms solution is now available after a year long beta program. It enables multi-page webforms (a good example is applying for insurance online).
Bring Customer Experience to the Intranet
IBM also announces the new Intranet Experience Suite today. It is essentially the same foundation of products that support both the external and internal customer experience. According to Gary Dolsen, IBM's Director of Web Experience, 56% of customers use the platform for external CXM and 70% use it for internal CXM (that means there is a 26% overlap of customers who use IBM's platform as a shared solution).
Dolsen told me that 90%+ of IT budget is owned by marketing, and there is an increasing focus on the explosion of data (you don't hear many marketers refer to it as big data), social media and this need to hit mobile first. All of this implies a suite of functionality that is required to support customers both internally and externally. But that suite has to be agile enough to change over time. Dolsen believes IBM has developed that suite.
It certainly has all the right components, not the least of which are its analytics capabilities that can help marketer's create deeply personalized and contextual experiences.
You do have to wonder if the suite of products is too big and complex, and how agile it really is given how long Websphere portal and Web Content Manager have been around. That being said, there are a lot of enterprises building their CXM strategies on IBM's platform, and it does still hit the leadership position in almost every Gartner and Forrester report for customer experience and social business technologies.
In addition, it is IBM's ability to tightly integrate with backend systems that demonstrates its belief that customer experience is one piece of a bigger web experience picture.