Pegasystems introduced what it called "its most significant product news in company history" at the PegaWorld customer conference in Las Vegas this week. The newly launched Pega Infinity digital transformation software suite encompasses all of the company's products and includes enhancements to Pega’s customer engagement applications and digital process automation (DPA) platform. Pega officials stated in a release that the suite connects front-end digital customer experiences with back-end process automation.
As part of the launch, Pega introduced its new artificial intelligence (AI)-backed Self-Optimizing Campaigns, designed to help one-to-one marketing that includes real-time strategy recommendations. The AI learns from each consecutive wave of a campaign to serve up a mix of offers, actions and treatments to reach pre-ordained goals.
The release also included new customer interfaces to enable marketers and customer experience professionals to deploy digital consumer experiences across any channel. Pega officials also said they are updating their no-code UI development tools and REST-based APIs to connect to third-party UI tools.
Pega Infinity will also include many enhancements to back office processes including built in robotic process automation capabilities, access to a larger bot library and enhanced virtual assistants for email fitted with optical character recognition.
In other customer experience software news ...
Canto Debuts DAM Features
Canto, a provider of digital asset management (DAM) software, has debuted new features for its SaaS DAM solution. The announcement also introduced a new name for the product, formerly known as Flight, to Canto. The new additions include:
- Google Chrome Extension: Users can drag images from Chrome directly into any application that accepts drag-and-drop functionality.
- Canto Connect for Mac OS: A desktop app that keeps personal digital asset collections in sync and available offline.
- Language settings: Individual users may select their preferred UI language including English, German, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese and Dutch.
- Custom branded portals: Set up private or public galleries to distribute digital assets within on-brand portals.
- Enhanced commenting/annotating: This includes sending notifications to groups when content is ready, asking/answering specific file-related questions and annotating images.
Sprout Social Releases Social Index
Sprout Social has released its Sprout Social 2018 Index report which analyzes consumer and marketer habits on social channels. Researchers found 97 percent of marketers used Facebook, and 83 percent reported it as one of their most used channels for ad spend. Twitter (88 percent) and Instagram (83 percent) followed close behind in usage and played a supporting role when it came to ad spend (38 percent and 13 percent, respectively).
Some additional insights included consumer patterns on each network:
- The top reasons consumers use Facebook are to engage with friends and family, share information with family and friends and find entertainment.
- 71 percent of consumers like or follow company pages on Facebook.
- 39 percent of consumers have sent a message to a brand on Facebook.
- Engaging with friends and family, entertainment and inspiration are the top reasons consumers use Instagram.
- 51 percent of consumers used Instagram regularly, and more than half of those people (30 percent) like or follow a brand.
- 42 percent of consumers have used Instagram Stories.
- Consumers turn to Twitter for entertainment, news and engaging with friends and family, differentiating it from Facebook and Instagram.
- 43 percent of consumers use Twitter regularly, and more than half (27 percent) of those follow brands.
- 19 percent of consumers have sent a message to a brand on Twitter, and 13 percent of consumers have engaged with brand content within Twitter Moments.
Factual Report Cites Concerns with Google, Facebook
It isn't always good news for Facebook. In the new Factual Location Based Marketing Report (commissioned by Lawless Research), marketers cited concerns about Facebook-Google "duopoly" in online advertising. Researchers found data is locked within walled gardens and marketers are unable to learn from it or apply it outside of the platforms.
Among the brands and agencies surveyed, 92 percent have one or more concerns about the advertising duopoly, such as: false impressions (38 percent), transparency (36 percent) and pricing (36 percent). Further, according to the report, 71 percent of marketers are seeking alternatives to the duopoly for online advertising.
Accenture Acquires designaffairs
Accenture has entered into an agreement to acquire designaffairs, a design consultancy headquartered in Germany. Accenture officials said in a release the acquisition will add to Accenture's ability to design smart products and services manufacturing company. It will also complement offerings around smart products, smart services and platforms.
Designaffairs, which brings 100 employees to Accenture who operate out of Munich; Erlangen, Germany; Shanghai; and Portland, Ore., offers services in industrial, user interface and material design, interaction innovation, mechanical and usability engineering, prototyping, design research and brand. The new company joins Accenture’s network of studios, which are part of the Accenture Innovation Architecture.
Microsoft Veteran Joins Amperity
Customer data platform provider Amperity has hired Microsoft product veteran Chris Jones as senior vice president of product.
"Adding Chris to the team is a major win for Amperity and for the brands we serve," Kabir Shahani, CEO and co-founder of Amperity, said in a statement. "Chris has made significant contributions to some of the most defining software products of our generation, and will leverage these experiences to help us scale and accelerate our value in the marketplace."
Jones at Microsoft most recently co-created and led an initiative to accelerate healthcare innovation through artificial intelligence and cloud computing. He also drove all product development efforts for the company's collaboration platforms as corporate vice president. In previous roles he led the development of Windows, Internet Explorer and Outlook.com.
Study: Half of B2B Buyers Make Up Minds Before Talking to Sales Reps
More than 70 percent of B2B buyers know what they want before talking to a sales representative, according to a new report from CSO Insights, the research division of Miller Heiman Group. And almost half of those B2B buyers identify specific solutions before reaching out to sales reps. The report — “The Growing Buyer-Seller Gap: Results of the 2018 Buyer Preferences Study” — is based on a global survey of 500 decision-makers. It also found that just 23 percent of B2B buyers view sellers as a top resource for solving business problems, only one-third (32 percent) say sales reps exceed their expectations and more than two-thirds (68 percent) see little to no difference between vendors.