The Record - Issue 19: Winter 2020

86 www. t e c h n o l o g y r e c o r d . c om F E ATUR E With technology already beginning to play such a crucial role in the customer experience, the role of the marketeer will see significant change. Research conducted by Accenture in 2019 showed that 90 per cent of CEOs and CMOs believed that the role would change fun- damentally over the next three years. CMOs will be required to adapt to the many new capabilities that will become available to them, with the skills required to leverage them effectively being both technical and creative. To help enable this transformation, Microsoft and Accenture are piloting an alliance in South Africa to provide marketeers with data, cloud solutions and technology to enable the trans- formation. The alliance will use the respective expertise of the two organisations to help busi- nesses develop their customer experiences. While Accenture Interactive develops and deploys the customer-facing marketing experi- ences, Accenture Technology will provide con- sultancy on the deployment and implementation of digital technologies, with Microsoft’s Azure platform and business applications underpin- ning these activities. “If you imagine customer experience to be like the theatre, front of house is everything the customer experiences,” says Oskar Nilsson, go-to-market lead for global advisories & GSIs in the Middle East and Africa for Microsoft. “But a successful production relies on so much more. The customer may not be aware of what’s going on backstage and behind the scenes, but those activities are essential for the show to go on. Our alliance has front of house, backstage and behind the scenes working together to deliver outstand- ing customer experiences.” This future of this cooperation can be illus- trated by a scenario in which a person is return- ing to their apartment after a day at work. When parking their vehicle, Microsoft Azure IOT Hub could enable a message to be sent automatically from a sensor to an elevator, so that it is open when they arrive. When they enter their apart- ment, the TV will play an advertisement featur- ing their favourite pizza from a local delivery company, with Azure Cognitive Services having selected the most appropriate ad content based on the time. Their streaming device can then ask if they would like to order, with Cognitive Services again taking the response and commu- nicating with the vendor’s app to bring up the payment confirmation screen on their phone. If the person then orders the pizza, Microsoft Stream Analytics will collect the anonymised data of their behaviour for analysis. “Customers expect a personalised approach, and they buy into products and services that meet and exceed their expectations,” says Townsend. “Data-driven insights hold the key to more empathetic, relevant and nimble commu- nications, and organisations with their fingers on the data pulse will be those that rise above the competition and succeed in the future. Ambitious marketeers will seize this opportu- nity to raise their game, embrace the potential of new technologies and champion data-driven insights across their organisation. They’ll work with trusted partners to ensure that they have the skills and tools they need to innovate and delight the customer at every touchpoint.” “Ambitious marketeers will seize this opportunity to raise their game”