Salesforce and Microsoft. Is the team a game changer of digital marketing?

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Since Salesforce announced partnership with Microsoft® in May 2014 (1),  there might be a lot of rumors about this team.  Dreamforce in 2015 was held in San Francisco in the U.S on 15-18 September.  I found that this partnership is progressing rapidly.  As you  know, Salesforce is a king of CRM and Microsoft dominates the enterprise software market. Most of us use MS office365™ in our daily life.  Let us consider why this team might be a game changer in digital marketing.

 

1. One to one engagement

Salesforse said “How can you create One to one engagement with your customers? (2) There must be many answers. In my view we need to know what customers want more deeply in a real-time basis, then we should react it. To do that, we should have a mechanism to process massive amount data from customers effectively. I want to call it “Front, Back and Middle” mechanism. Front should face customers directly and collect data such as e-mails, phone calls, click-logs on mobile devices, purchases of products, payments, claims, and so on.  Back should record and store the data collected from front into storages or database.  Middle should analyze the data and provide insights to front so that front can make better business decisions. These processes are recurrent an they should be done many times in a seamless manner.  Sales personnel can obtain information and insights from this mechanism in real time-basis and face each customer one to one basis. In my view, that is “one to one engagement”.

 

2. The combination of strong Front and Strong MIddle/Back

Salesforce(SF) is a king of CRM. It means that SF is the strong front.  Microsoft (MS) expands its PaaS,  MS AZURE™ aggressively.  MS AZURE™ has a function of machine learning called AZURE ML . In MS AZURE™, there are many choices of database. Therefore, MS has strong middle and back.  Users can enjoy this strong combination of “front, middle and back” as the partnership between SF and MS is deepened recently.  I hope I can choose many functions from SF/ MS and set up systems based on my own preferences  in the future.   In my view,  this combination might be better than combinations between other big IT companies as corporate culture of SF/MS seems to be similar each other.  Since Satya Nadella became CEO of MS in Feb 2014,  MS culture seems to be changed from a traditional software company to a startup-minded cloud company.

 

3. More choices for users

PaaS can be used independently. Technologies are developing so fast, however, it seems to be difficult, that only one company covers everything to satisfy users’ needs. Therefore, partnerships like SF/MS may appear in IT industry in the future. It is good because users can have more choices  to reach their goal.  You can combine tools/ modules and try to pursue your own “one to one engagement”.

 

 

Since Facebook appeared in 2004,  SNS and message tools are getting popular and popular, especially in younger generations all over the world.  In principle, communications in SNS and message tools are one to one basis.  Therefore, it is natural that marketing activities by companies are also shifting from mass communication-type marketing to one to one engagement.  Mobile phones will be available at lower cost in emerging markets in the future and more people will be connected to the internet. It means that one to one engagement will be more important than it is now for companies that want to reach customers.

Although there are overlaps between two big IT software companies,  it seems that their partnership is strengthened going forward. I would like to keep watching what is going on between the two companies.  It must be exciting, isn’t it?

 

 

Source

1. Salesforce and Microsoft

https://www.salesforce.com/campaigns/microsoft/

2. Twitter of Salesforce

 

Salesforce, Dreamforce and others are trademarks of salesforce.com, inc. and are used here with permission.

Microsoft, Encarta, MSN, and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.

 

Note: Toshifumi Kuga’s opinions and analyses are personal views and are intended to be for informational purposes and general interest only and should not be construed as individual investment advice or solicitation to buy, sell or hold any security or to adopt any investment strategy.  The information in this article is rendered as at publication date and may change without notice and it is not intended as a complete analysis of every material fact regarding any country, region market or investment.

Data from third-party sources may have been used in the preparation of this material and I, Author of the article has not independently verified, validated such data. I and TOSHI STATS.SDN.BHD. accept no liability whatsoever for any loss arising from the use of this information and relies upon the comments, opinions and analyses in the material is at the sole discretion of the user. 

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Revolution or evolution? Who wins, Google or Toyota in 2025?

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Google is a big IT company and Toyota is a giant of automobile industries. They may be categorized in different industries.  However, they must be in tight competition in future because both of them will provide automobiles with artificial intelligence (AI).  Let us consider this competition here.  On 4 Sep, 2015,  Toyota announced that it  collaborates with MIT and Stanford University to develop artificial intelligence to be used in automobiles  and robotics(1).  Toyota thinks drivers can be supported by AI effectively. On the other hand, Google has been developing “self-driving car”, which needs no human  interventions. It seems that Google hired John Krafcik, a car industry veteran who previously led Hyundai’s business in the U.S  to work at Google self-driving car project (2).  It seems that the competition between Google and Toyota has already started.

 

1  Definition of “automobile”

Although both of them use the term of “car”,  each “car” is a little different from each other. According to Toyota, drivers should control their car while AI can support and assist drivers.  On the other hand,  Google promotes self-driving cars, which can drive without human interventions.  The purpose of each “automobile” is the same. It is the transportation from place A to place B.  However, each automobile looks completely different. Toyota AI automobiles might look the same as ordinal automobiles.  They have a steering wheel, accel and brake pedal. On the other hand, Google self-driving cars have no steering wheel, no accel and brake pedal. They may be more compact than ordinal automobiles.

 

2  Self-driving car technologies and human centric technologies

Technologies of each “automobile” are similar.  Both use state of the art technology “Artificial intelligence”.  But the aim of each is a little different.  It means that “Support” vs. “Control”.  I remembered Toyota used “Fun to drive” as a corporate statement in the latter half of 1980s.   Driving is fun because drivers can control cars by themselves. And Toyota uses the terms of ” human centric technologies”.  In my view,  Toyota thinks AI exists to support drivers and it is important to keep a good relationship between human and AI while human should play a major role in driving.  On the other hand,  Google thinking is simple. AI can control automobiles better than human. That is it!

 

3  Revolution or evolution?

The self-driving car is completely new for us in our daily lives. So it sounds revolutionary.  On the other hand, Toyota AI car still needs driver and AI can assist drivers. So it sounds an evolution to me.  Evolution, however, is not always easier than revolution. Because Toyota “human centric technologies” should include “human being” as a major part of the system. According to the video on Toyota websites, Toyota focus on collaboration between human and artificial intelligence. Therefore, human behavior should be analyzed and predicted so that AI knows when and how AI intervenes control of the automobile. If it is not accurate,  this system does not work effectively.  It seems to be more difficult than the system without human intervention is.  AI should learn not only automobile behavior, but drivers’ behavior.  As long as drivers take control automobiles, it is necessary and critically important for automobiles with AI.

 

 

Which automobile do you like better?  The self-driving car is OK for you?  Consumers may have different opinions by country. For example, ASEAN countries, including Malaysia are in the time of motorizations.  Therefore, many consumers want to own and drive their cars by themselves. In addition to that,  the train systems are not so convenient yet in most of the regions so they need their own cars anyway.  On the other hand,  in Japan, consumers are not so enthusiastic in owning cars anymore, especially for younger generations.  For example, in 1980s, Japanese automobile companies produced many sports cars, which were stylish and reasonable for young consumers. They were very popular at that time. Now there are some because sports car is not so popular for younger generations in Japan anymore. In additions to that, in the big cities of Japan such as Tokyo and Osaka,  there are a lot of train networks so there is no need to own cars in daily lives.  Therefore Japanese consumers may be more likely to accept self-driving cars. I am sure each country should consider regulations about automobiles with AI carefully based on the needs and  preferences of the people.

No one knows who wins Google or Toyota In 2025. But I am sure we need a lot of discussions about regulations, insurance, public transportation planning, jobs, and so on. I would like to keep watching it going forward.

 

 

 

Source

1. Toyota Establishes Collaborative Research Centers with MIT and Stanford to Accelerate Artificial Intelligence Research,  website of Totoya motor, 4, September 2015

http://newsroom.toyota.co.jp/en/detail/9233109/

 

2.  Yes, true: I’m joining the Google Self-Driving Car project in late September. 13, September 2015, Twitter of John Krafcik

https://twitter.com/johnkrafcik?lang=en

 

3. Google Self-Driving Car Project

http://www.google.com/selfdrivingcar/

 

Note: Toshifumi Kuga’s opinions and analyses are personal views and are intended to be for informational purposes and general interest only and should not be construed as individual investment advice or solicitation to buy, sell or hold any security or to adopt any investment strategy.  The information in this article is rendered as at publication date and may change without notice and it is not intended as a complete analysis of every material fact regarding any country, region market or investment.

Data from third-party sources may have been used in the preparation of this material and I, Author of the article has not independently verified, validated such data. I accept no liability whatsoever for any loss arising from the use of this information and relies upon the comments, opinions and analyses in the material is at the sole discretion of the user. 

What will the food delivery service be in 2025? Let us imagine now!

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This week’s topic is about food delivery service in the future.  Syikin,  one of the readers of my articles,  requests me to write this. So I would like to go to Kuala Lumpur in 2025,  10  years later from now.  Let us imagine what happens there!

 

Now we are in 2025. I am working in the office at KLCC.  While everything is changed from 10 years ago, twin tower still remains the same.  At lunch time, I always use the service of food delivery called “something to eat”.   It is a start-up business out there that does research and invents smart food delivery service. I like this service very much.  I use it 3 or 4 times a week because it is convenient and reasonable.  On 11:00AM everyday,  the recommendation of menus for lunch is sent to my mobile phone.  This is not just a picture of dishes. This is 3D virtual reality and can be projected on my desk. These dishes look so real!  It must be good for their sales, too. Their recommendations are completely personalized for me. The service has a historical data about orders from me in the past. So it understands my preference of taste, ingredients, cost sensitivity, perfectly.  I can order dishes by just saying ” I want Japanese potato salad, Chinese fried rice and coke” because computers can understand English conversations just like us. There is no need to use buttons on the screen of a smart phone anymore.  Payment is made by digital currency automatically. Food and dishes are delivered by self-driving cars in the city.  There is less traffic jam recently because traffic can be control by computers so they can deliver efficiently and just in time.  I do not worry about my lunch at all. Just enjoy it!

 

This service is a 24 hour operation so I can order anytime I want. It is very good when I have a night shift work. I am wondering who works at midnight in the kitchen to serve dishes.  I ask public relation personnel for this service about that.  She said “There are automated factories to cook dishes. There is no human operation. Our chef robots are so intelligent that they can cook many dishes.  Each robot has artificial intelligence in it. “.   It sounds like automobile factories in 2015.  In addition to that, many vegetables are also brought up at the factories, too.  So there is no worry about procurements of vegetables even though we have massive natural disasters such as flood, drought and typhoon or cyclone, which cause diminish of supply of vegetables.

 

One of my favorite services is about the nutrition report.  This report is prepared and sent to me at the end of the month.  It tells me what I ate, how many calories there are in my dishes and what kind of nutrition is needed to keep healthy.  It is good to monitor my daily meals so that I can live a healthy life.  Actually, I like sweet things very much so there are sometimes warnings about over-calories. Yeah, I should control it despite its temptation is very strong!

 

I have heard that their predictions of sales of each dish are very accurate because the company developed the state of the art statistical models by itself.  It enables them to have less waste because it can control inventories based on the predictions of sales. It is good not only financial conditions of the company, but the environment in society.

 

Recently,  the Japanese government announced that it will introduce basic income to support poor people in 2026  The Japanese economy has been shrinking for a long time and poor people are increasing rapidly.  Some households can not sustain the basic meals every day as they are unemployed.  By introducing a basic income,  they can obtain basic meals everyday.  Food delivery service “something to eat” supports Japanese government to establish meal stations all over Japan.  Because “something to eat” has superior technologies about cooking, serving and predictions of sales. The service can provide basic meals with less cost.  Japanese government expects it works very well.  Especially households with single parent need this support urgently.

 

 

This story is a fiction based on my imagination. So I am not so sure it happens in this way. But  I am sure the more data are obtained, the more personalized and more efficient services are.   Robots with artificial intelligence start working in service industries. In 10 years from now, they must be far more intelligent than they are now.  I would like to go to “something to eat” in 2025!

 

 

 

Note: Toshifumi Kuga’s opinions and analyses are personal views and are intended to be for informational purposes and general interest only and should not be construed as individual investment advice or solicitation to buy, sell or hold any security or to adopt any investment strategy.  The information in this article is rendered as at publication date and may change without notice and it is not intended as a complete analysis of every material fact regarding any country, region market or investment.

Data from third-party sources may have been used in the preparation of this material and I, Author of the article has not independently verified, validated such data. I and TOSHI STATS SDN.BHD. accept no liability whatsoever for any loss arising from the use of this information and relies upon the comments, opinions and analyses in the material is at the sole discretion of the user. 

 

 

Linkedin bought a predictive marketing company. What does it mean?

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I think many people like Linkedin as a platform of professionals and they are interested in what is going on in the company.  Last week, I found that “Today we are pleased to announce that we’ve acquired Fliptop, a leading provider of predictive sales and marketing software.1″  (David Thacker said on the blog on 27 August, 2015 ).  Linekdin bought a leading predictive marketing company.  What does it mean? Let me consider a little.

 

1. What does “Fliptop” do?

It is a marketing software company. On the website, it says  “DRIVE REVENUE FASTER WITH PREDICTIVE MARKETING”, “Increase lead conversion rates and velocity.” and “Identify the companies most likely to buy”.  It was established in 2009 so it is a relatively young company. The company uses technologies called “Machine learning” to identify potential customers with high probability of purchase of products and services.   According to the website of the company, it has an expertise of standard machine learning algorithms, such as logistic regression and decision trees. These methods are used for classifications or predictions.  For example,  the company can identify who is likely to buy the products based on data, including the purchase history of each customer in the past. It hires computer science experts to develop the models for predictions.

 

2. What will Linkedin do with Fliptop?

As you know, Linkedin has a huge customer base so it has a massive amount of data generated by users of Lnkedin everyday.  This data have been accumulated every second. Therefore Lnikedin should have an ability and enhance it to make the most out of the data.  Linkedin should analyze the data and make better business decisions to compete other IT companies in the markets. In order to do that, there are two options, 1. Technologies developed In-house,  2. Purchase of resources outside the company.  Lnkedin took an option of “2” this time. Doug Camplejohn, CEO of Fliptop, said “We will continue to support our customers with existing contracts for some period of time, but have decided not to take on any new ones. We will also be reaching out to our customers shortly to discuss winding down their existing relationship with Fliptop.”.  Therefore Fliptop will not be independent as a service provider and will be integrated into the functions of Linkedin. It seems that knowledge and expertise of Fliptop are seamlessly integrated into Linkedin in future.  I am not so sure what current users of Fliptop should do as long as I know now.

 

3.  Data is “King”

This kind of purchases has been seen in IT industry recently. Google bought “DNN research” in 2013 and “DeepMind” in 2014. Microsoft also bought “Revolution Analytics” in 2015.  These small or medium size companies have expertise in machine learning and data analysis.  When they try to expand their businesses, they need massive data to be analyzed. However, they are not owners of a massive amount of data. Owners of a massive amount of data are usually big IT companies, such as Google and Facebook.  It is sometimes difficult for relatively small companies to obtain a massive amount of data, including  customer data.  On the other hand, big IT companies, including Linkedin, are usually owners of huge customer data. In addition to that, big IT companies now  enhance resources and expertise to analyze data as well. Once they have both of them, new services can be created and offered in a shorter period. The more people use these services, the more accurate and effective they can be.  Therefore, it sounds logical when big IT companies acquire small companies with expertise in data analysis and machine learning. Big IT companies definitely need their expertise in data analysis and machine learning.

 

 

From the standpoint of consumers, it is good because they can enjoy many services offered by big IT companies with lower costs. But from the standpoint of companies, competitions are getting tougher as this occurs not only in IT industries but many other industries. Now Linkedin seems to be ready for this competition, which comes in the future.

Machine learning is sometimes considered as engines and data are considered as fuel.  When they are combined in one place, new knowledge and insights may be found and new products and services may be created.  It accelerates changes of the landscape of the industries. Mobile, cloud, big data, IOT and artificial intelligence will contribute to this change a lot. It must be exciting to see what happens next in the future.

 

 

 

Source

1. Accelerating Our Sales Solutions Efforts Through Fliptop Acquisition, David Thacker, August 27, 2015 

http://sales.linkedin.com/blog/accelerating-our-sales-solutions-efforts-through-fliptop-acquisition/

2.A New Chapter,  Doug Camplejohn, August 27, 2015

http://blog.fliptop.com/blog/2015/08/27/a-new-chapter/

 

 

Note: Toshifumi Kuga’s opinions and analyses are personal views and are intended to be for informational purposes and general interest only and should not be construed as individual investment advice or solicitation to buy, sell or hold any security or to adopt any investment strategy.  The information in this article is rendered as at publication date and may change without notice and it is not intended as a complete analysis of every material fact regarding any country, region market or investment.

Data from third-party sources may have been used in the preparation of this material and I, Author of the article has not independently verified, validated such data. I accept no liability whatsoever for any loss arising from the use of this information and relies upon the comments, opinions and analyses in the material is at the sole discretion of the user.