Customer data platforms give big picture insights

By Leon Gettler, Talking Business >>

COMPANIES EVERYWHERE have to deal with tons of data on different platforms, from customer relationship management (CRM) platforms to customer data platforms (CDP) to customer loyalty programs, point of sales systems, and all their marketing tools. The problem is how do they integrate it?

Enter the customer data platform, or CDP. It aggregates all the data and uses artificial intelligence to make the data more meaningful for companies.

It’s an important tool in a digitised market where customer-centricity gives business a competitive edge.

Tom Treanor, the chief marketing officer for Treasure Data, the California-based enterprise CDP that powers an entire business to shape customer-centricity in the age of the digital customer. He said CDP is becoming important for business.

“A lot of tools are focused on what’s the function that they serve. All these tools are developed in how they manage the data. There is no one tool that cuts across all those tools and allow you to aggregate it in one place and makes that data useful back into those tools,” Mr Treanor told Talking Business.

Mr Treanor said by aggregating all that data, CDP “makes all the other aspects of that stack better”.

“It actually improves the stack by giving more intelligence to each of those tools as well,” he said. 

PERSONALISING CUSTOMER DATA

CDP personalises the data and makes it more customer-centric, Mr Treanor said.

“There might be some personalisation tools that handle one channel or focused on things like email or the web, which is very transactional, but this allows [more], since you’re aggregating data across the whole experience, “ he said.

“I can include sales and support and other functions in there, that are customer facing. You actually get that omni-channel view of the customer as opposed to a lot of these tools that are looking at a view of the customer within a particular silo,” Mr Treanor said.

“To be able to do omni-channel personalisation, having the advantage of that data that sees the customer across different experiences, whether it is in-store, on the web, whether it’s talking to support, then you can personalise the message and make recommendations, whether it’s on the web site, or that support call or whether it’s in an email campaign.

“You can have the information to personalise at the customer level or at the segment level. You can utilise AI (artificial intelligence) to make predictions.”

BREAKING DOWN SILOS

Mr Treanor said companies with no centralised management of customer data, which sits in a lot of silos, cannot manage customer data well. This is critical for marketing teams and for risk reduction in their compliance.

Customers that have used Treasure Data’s CDP platform include the global brewer Anheuser-Busch – which produces beers such as Budweiser, Bud Light and Stella Artois – and Subaru. 

Mr Treanor said customer data was important for much more than marketing.

“What we’re looking to do is utilise the customer data in sales and support as well and across other divisions,” he said.

“When we work with the data teams that manage these organisations, they find it of value and sometimes the product teams utilise the data and can do activations within their product.

“People, sometimes for the first time, understand how many customers they actually have,” Mr Treanor said. 

“There have been cases where all these different systems tell them different information about how many customers they have, so [when]they unify their data, they know how many customers they have and they actually have insights about those customers and a better understanding of the customer journey.”

www.treasuredata.com 

www.leongettler.com

Hear the complete interview and catch up with other topical business news on Leon Gettler’s Talking Business podcast, released every Friday at www.acast.com/talkingbusiness

https://play.acast.com/s/talkingbusiness/talking-business11

ends

To succeed, business leaders need new insights … Anaplan

By Leon Gettler, Talking Business >>

WITH BORDERS CLOSED, the airline industry struggling, pressures on global shipping and supply chain disruptions causing spikes in global inflation, Anaplan has its work cut out.

Anaplan is a cloud-based platform that helps organisations transform. It’s used by leading Australian and New Zealand enterprises across consumer packaged goods (CPG), retail, finance and healthcare to help these companies better plan for the future.

Andy Thiss, the head of Anaplan ANZ, said companies needed to address the supply chain problem with rapid scenario planning because “to be able to flex with the times is really going to help organisations”.

“That’s where a platform like Anaplan really helps to play and streamline that whole process,” Mr Thiss told Talking Business

GET BEYOND SILO THINKING

He said companies should think beyond silos when dealing with supply chain issues.

“Organisations have been planning for a very long time, some are doing it better than others,” Mr Thiss said.

“Organisations typically plan in silos,” he said. “So there is a sales function, a marketing function, there’s a finance function, IT, HR. What they do really well historically is record that. So they have a CRM system, an ERP system. And then at the other end of the spectrum, they report on it.

“The problem we’re solving, what we’re helping organisations with is what we call the messy middle.

“So between where the source system lies and the reporting system lies is a convoluted web of spreadsheets, power points, multiple lines of rework where you can bring in a platform like Anaplan. It will connect those source systems to the business intelligence tools to allow you to basically use that as crystal ball to predict the multiple scenarios you might need to in an ever-changing environment.

“What it is, is getting these organisations to understand that by connecting these different silos, they’re going to be much faster, more agile and ultimately have a competitive advantage out there in the market place by leveraging this data which is technically sored in various different components of the enterprise.”

TRANSFERABLE ACROSS INDUSTRIES

Mr Thiss said this process could be used successfully by any industry.

“We work across financial services, services aligned to business, telcos, mining, engineering, construction, retail,” he said. 

“The big problems we’re solving, that we’re seeing at the moment, do tend to be around supply chains and workforce planning here in Australia.

“It’s quite an interesting time for us, being a cloud-based platform. The only thing I would say there is the ability to collaborate in real time is absolutely critical. It’s got to be fast, it’s got to be agile, it’s got to be quick and then it has to have the ability to connect these other systems so you can make use of that data, make smarter decisions faster.”

Mr Thiss said organisations were now realising more than ever that they cannot do what they have always done.

He said Anaplan was a transformational technology that connected up all the data to allow business leaders to do demand planning for their products and services.

“By helping them connect all the systems, the variables, at speed, in real time and accurately, they’re able to make better decisions and much faster,” Mr Thiss said.

He said a cloud based platform not only helped bring the different data points together but was also critical in collecting information from staff working remotely in different countries, cities and states. 

www.anaplan.com

www.leongettler.com

Hear the complete interview and catch up with other topical business news on Leon Gettler’s Talking Business podcast, released every Friday at www.acast.com/talkingbusiness.

https://play.acast.com/s/talkingbusiness/talking-business9-interview-with-andy-thiss-from-anaplan  

Empired finds a secure silver lining in the cloud

By Leon Gettler, Talking Business >>

THE BIG CHANGE in the last two years to remote working – and working from home brought on by the pandemic – has created a big challenge for cloud-based systems

Empired practice manager for the modern workplace, Jaen Snyman said the changes with the pandemic left many organisations unprepared to have most of their staff working from home.

“That’s where the cloud and public cloud make a big difference,” Mr Snyman told Talking Business.

“If you do have that set-up, then it doesn’t matter where you are accessing from, you can still get to your applications, you can still get to your business, you can still do your work as per normal.”

This, however, had changed the security landscape for businesses. 

“Previously, your devices would have been on your network at some stage, so you could patch it and manage your devices and make sure your laptops are patched to the latest security updates,” Mr Snyman said.

“Now it’s created quite a bit of a challenge where people rely on you to be on the network to do it but you’re not, you’re working from home.”

COMPANY IS STILL LIABLE FOR SECURITY

Securing the network would create major challenges for companies with remote workforces as the onus would be on the companies whose workers are now connecting to their environment from an unsecured location and unsecured network.

“I don’t know if your home network is secure, I don’t know if your neighbour is listening in to your wireless and tapped into it and what other devices might be on your network and if those devices are actually secure or if any of them has been breached,” Mr Snyman said.

He said hackers were now using the principle of “lateral movement”.

“That means if I hack one of your devices in your home and compromise that one, then I can move to another device on the same network laterally.

“I don’t need to hit your primary objective first. I can hit a soft target first, spoof your passwords that you use and try those passwords to other devices that might be on the same network.”

He said they could do this on any system, including business systems on home offices.

“If that is the CFO working from home, and I manage to hack into his kids’ computer, because the kid might not have a strong password, and dad uses that computer every now and again, and happens to use the same password he uses at work, then I know the CFO’s password and I can try it on his corporate identities.”

SUBSCRIPTIONS DRIVE THE CLOUD NOW

Mr Snyman said subscriptions were now driving the adoption of cloud technology, which is often used for CRM (customer relationship management) and ERP (enterprise resource platform) systems.

Because it’s already built in the cloud, businesses can also configure it to add value to their applications, to arrange it the way they need it.

The back-ups are done and the disaster recovery is in place, he said.

“All of that plumbing and maintenance is done by the provider and you as a customer can solely focus on the business value side of it,” Mr Snyman said.

While cloud is secure, the onus still comes back on the company to provide their own level of security to ensure there are no breaches.

“The application itself is secure but you yourself can make mistakes and give people access,” Mr Snyman said.

“If you don’t implement proper procedures and policies, for instance for password controls, to allow your users to use very simple passwords, or no passwords at all, then you have a fairly high risk of being compromised,” he said. 

www.empired.com

www.leongettler.com

 

 

Hear the complete interview and catch up with other topical business news on Leon Gettler’s Talking Business podcast, released every Friday at www.acast.com/talkingbusiness.

 

ends

Unions welcome ' long overdue' offshore renewable energy laws, but it's ‘unfinished business’

THE Electrical Trades Union (ETU) and Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) have welcomed what they are calling "long overdue laws to facilitate offshore renewable energy projects". 

It is a critical first step by the Federal Government in allowing the development of offshore renewable energy, especially offshore wind, which the ETU and MUA have long been advocating for, according to MUA assistant national secretary Adrian Evans

He said the unions were now calling on the Federal Government to immediately begin consultation on the location of Offshore Electricity Areas to give certainty to projects that will create jobs, clean energy and economic investment in regions already slated for offshore wind. The areas included are the Gippsland region of Victoria; the Hunter and Illawarra regions of NSW and; the Rockingham/Bunbury/Geographe Bay region of West Australia.

Mr Evans said Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor "must make the consultation on the Gippsland Offshore Electricity Area his highest priority".

“Star of the South, the Gippsland and Latrobe Valley communities, and maritime and electrical workers have already waited years for the government to get this legislation in place,” Mr Evans said.  

“The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) is already planning for an Offshore Wind Zone in this area. The Federal Government needs to catch up and give project proponents the certainty they need.”

ETU assistant national secretary Michael Wright said the Minister "must complete this consultation and declare a suitable Offshore Electricity Area before any offshore wind developers can apply for a Feasibility Licence".

“Building offshore wind will play a critical role in creating thousands of jobs for workers affected by the energy transition, whether they work in coal-fired power stations, coal export ports or offshore oil and gas,” Mr Wright said.

“These projects can create a strong and consistent supply of renewable energy, next to the heavy industries that need it, and also create green hydrogen in bulk for use by these industries while delivering regional diversification and opportunities for workers.”

The MUA and ETU also cautioned there was still more work to do on the legislative framework for the industry with the need for further regulations to be developed for the licencing process for each project.

“The government needs to create regulations which must be used to maximise the use of local goods and services, the employment of local workers (particularly energy workers) to foster opportunities for training and skills development, and to increase employment and income opportunities for First Nations people,” Mr Evans said.

“However, this work must not delay the process of declaring Offshore Electricity Areas.

“The consultations needed to make appropriate declarations of these areas must occur now, to allow time for strategic environmental assessments, feasibility studies and planning.

“And while the important environmental, feasibility and planning is being completed there is unfinished business with the new offshore renewable laws.

“Despite union concerns the proposed framework requires offshore renewable operators to cross multiple Work Health and Safety jurisdictions each day and removes important rights for workers, the Government ploughed ahead," Mr Evans said.

“Substantial work is needed to ensure that the Work Health and Safety provisions are fit for purpose and properly harmonised with the national Work Health and Safety system.” 

Priority areas

The four areas the ETU and MUA are proposing that consultations begin on declaring Offshore Electricity Areas are:

  1. As a priority, a Gippsland Offshore Electricity Area, which is already being planned by AEMO as an Offshore Wind Zone, and is the site of projects planned by Star of the South and Flotation Energy.  Significant transmission capacity is available now.
  2. An Illawarra Offshore Electricity Area, which is already being planned by AEMO as an Offshore Wind Zone, and is the site of projects planned by Green Energy Partners and Oceanex. Significant transmission is available with a low expansion cost.
  3. A Hunter Offshore Electricity Area, which is already being planned by AEMO as an Offshore Wind Zone and is the site of projects planned by Oceanex and Newcastle Offshore Wind. 10 GW of transmission capacity is available now, making it the lowest expansion cost of any Renewable Energy Zone onshore or offshore.
  4. A Rockingham/Bunbury/Geographe Bay Offshore Electricity Area, which is the site of projects by Green Energy Partners and Oceanex.

ends

Fast way to e-commerce developed by Australia’s Holland

By Leon Gettler, Talking Business >>

MAKING A SPLASH in the American capital markets is completely different from how it works in Australia according to Domm Holland, the Sydney-born, Florida-dwelling 34-year-old who is the co-founder of Fast.

Fast is a technology that provides a single-click checkout button. With a one-time sign-up, it claims to free consumers of the need to remember passwords or re-enter personal details, making it much easier for them to utilise e-commerce.

It’s a one-click checkout for every website. Fast operates as a third party loaded on to websites, providing users with a quick check out form where they put their email, name, phone, delivery address and credit card details. Once they have done it, they can do this on any website that has a Fast check out button. 

After coding the original version of Fast in 2019, Mr Holland attracted capital from Silicon Valley venture funds and has gone on to join the Australian Financial Review Young Rich List.

Mr Holland’s journey began when he teamed up with former Uber operations executive Allison Barr Allen. The two are thought to remain the largest single shareholders in Fast. They actually met on Twitter.

ALLEN AND HOLLAND DEVELOP FAST IN US

Domm Holland had arrived in San Francisco in June 2019. He didn’t know too many people so he connected with Allison Barr Allen on Twitter. They met for coffee and he explained to her what he was building.

This fitted in with a thesis she was writing about ‘frictionless finance’. She introduced him to one of the world’s leading fintech investors, Jan Hammer from Index Ventures, who invested $2.5 million.

Mr Holland then went back to Ms Allen and invited her to come on board as a partner, to build the company. Mr Holland has since gone on to raise $US125 million ($168 million) from payments platform Stripe and several Silicon Valley venture capital funds.

He said the big difference between running a tech venture in San Francisco versus Australia was that everything in the US had a larger scale and there was a better ecosystem for start-ups.

America has a population 15 to 16 times bigger than Australia’s and the capital markets in the US reflect that kind of scale.

As well as that, the start-up eco-system in the US is more mature than the one in Australia.

“There’s a lot more capital available and the capital is more readily available for earlier stage start-ups,” Mr Holland told Talking Business. “Australia prefers to de-risk opportunity further or invest in lower risk opportunities.at an early stage.”

MORE VIBRANT USA ECOSYSTEM

The second big difference is the ecosystem

“There is an incredibly dense ecosystem of talent here,” Mr Holland said.

“The vast majority of the world’s largest tech companies have come to a very small radius here, so all the staff of those companies all have stock in these companies and have made a lot of money. They all became angel investors or (have) founded their own companies.

“There is an incredible wealth of knowledge. It’s also a really sophisticated market in terms of start-up employees,” Mr Holland said.

“Typically sales people or admin managers of tech companies or office managers understand how start-ups work and the different stages that start-ups o through with different funding milestones and different revenue targets. They understand that better than a lot of Australian founders just because it’s a very sophisticated start-up market here.

 “This ecosystem is unparalleled, from experience. Australia just hasn’t had the density or wins of large tech companies – and start-ups that have sold for billions of dollars – that you have here.”

www.fast.co

www.leongettler.com

Hear the complete interview and catch up with other topical business news on Leon Gettler’s Talking Business podcast, released every Friday at www.acast.com/talkingbusiness.

https://play.acast.com/s/talkingbusiness/talking-business40-interview-with-domm-holland-co-founder-of

CreditorWatch keeps an eye on the future while scanning the business past

By Leon Gettler >>

CREDITORWATCH chief technology officer (CTO) Joseph Vartuli says workplaces have changed tremendously with the pandemic.

Remote working will now become permanent – and businesses will have to have to make most of machine learning, data analytics and artificial intelligence

CreditorWatch was started about 10 years ago to manage the trend of ‘debt hopping’ where suppliers switch companies without paying their arrears. Generally, it’s been the same offenders, according to Mr Vartuli.

CreditorWatch was started as a crowdsourcing business to share the names of dubious businesses. It now has the technology to provide ‘deep dive’ insights into businesses and their practices.

With the impact of COVID sweeping through the economy, businesses are now turning to CreditorWatch to assess the risks on their ledgers. CreditorWatch also provides data for the Federal Government’s economic index, giving it insights into trade payment behaviour of individual businesses and industries. 

Mr Vartuli said that as technology experts, CreditorWatch was not shying away from the prospect of employees working remotely. But as it appeared working from home was going to become more or less permanent, then the big question for companies was about looking at the work environment of their employees.

Was it a distraction free environment? Were there enough rooms with a partner working from home as well? How did they manage to work from home while home schooling their kids?

“Flexibility is what we’ve always been proud of. We provide a lot of autonomy to our developers and give them goals. We need to be a lot more flexible during these periods,” Mr Vartuli told Talking Business.

GOODBYE 9-TO-5

Mr Vartuli said the 9-to-5 model does not work anymore.

“We’re finding it’s unrealistic,” he said. “People need breaks throughout the day.

“They need to find a little more autonomy in terms of how they manage that workload and deliver that weekly workload each and every week,” he said.

“So giving them that autonomy and giving them that ability to choose, themselves, when and how they work is a big part of it. Supporting them in terms of resources, whether that’s stand-up desks or chairs has played a big part as well.

“We’ve also given all our developers an extra day off every month to take a long weekend every month, to let them recharge during this pandemic.”

Because developers are less committed during the pandemic when people are working from home, CreditorWatch provides online team bonding, continual education, as well as packages every month.

“I think we’ll have a remote working lifestyle pretty permanently,” Mr Vartuli said.

EYE ON THE FUTURE

He said when developers came back to the office at the end of the first lockdown, the company implemented a two-day-a-week-in-the-office policy, which worked well.

He said businesses needed to watch out for machine learning, data analytics and artificial intelligence. These were the big trend ahead and had been going ‘gangbusters’ in the last few years because the technology had become more accessible.

Mr Vartuli said businesses could now examine the data coming in to see what they could monetize and examine the big trends ahead.

“I think 70 percent of CEOs globally think AI is going to play a big role in the next five years in most industries, if not all,” he said.

“So even if you‘re not keen or don’t understand it, I think you should start dabbling in it. It’s definitely going to be a big part of the next five to 10 years for every single business.”

www.creditorwatch.com.au

www.leongettler.com

 

Hear the complete interview and catch up with other topical business news on Leon Gettler’s Talking Business podcast, released every Friday at www.acast.com/talkingbusiness.

https://play.acast.com/s/talkingbusiness/talking-business33-interview-with-creditorwatchs-cto-joseph-

The FluBot virus: is it Android's COVID?

By Ash Klemm >>

THE Android malware called the FluBot virus is still spreading throughout South East Queensland and Australia, with people reporting up to 10 messages a day from random numbers. 

But, FluBot doesn’t just send annoying messages. It also steals passwords and login information to your online accounts, personal details, and banking information.

FluBot uses the data to steal your money, take over your accounts and perform online identity theft while sending SMS messages to new victims to spread itself further. All without the users’ knowledge. 

FluBot has so far been detected mainly in South East Queensland. However, it is likely to spread to the rest of Australia, as it has in Europe and the States.  

How the FluBot virus works 

An infected device sends an SMS message that contains a phishing link. The message claims the user has a missed call or has a new voicemail. 

The message provides a link to retrieve the voicemail or see who the missed call was from. Following the provided link will take you to a web page displaying a trusted brand (like Telstra or Optus) and prompt you to install an app to listen to the voicemail message. If you permit the install, the Flubot malware will be loaded on your phone.  

Once downloaded, FluBot, asks for accessibility permissions. If granted, it gives itself more extensive app permissions and becomes a system app. Then it wreaks havoc.

How to remove FluBot virus

Although many companies have offered ways to remove FluBot, they can be tricky, with no guarantee they work. The safest and surest way to remove the FluBot virus is to do a factory reset on your phone, which erases the malware. Here’s how you do a factory reset.

Remember, restoring any recent backup may restore the malware if your data was backed up while the malware was installed. Be sure to use a backup that is dated earlier than when you think you got FluBot.

After you’ve removed the malware/virus from your phone, change your passwords as a precaution. Do not change your passwords before removing FluBot.

Remember: A factory reset on your phone will delete everything, including photos, phone numbers, apps.

How to stay safe from FluBot and other mobile malware  

Mobile phones are not immune to online threats. Malware, phishing, unsafe networks, and other threats for mobile phone users also exist.

FluBot is just one of the newest threats out there. Here are a few things you can do to protect your mobile phone and digital life on the go.

Use antivirus for mobile devices: 

Malware targeting mobile devices is becoming increasingly common. A quality antivirus for mobile phones will help keep your data safe and warn you of any nefarious software. A lot of anti-virus companies offer bundle deals for PCs and mobile phones.

Don’t open suspicious links:

Stop and think critically about the message and the link, if you think it could be malware, contact the sender via a phone call before clicking any link. Mobile devices are used on the go, making it easier to fall for phishing scams, because we aren’t always paying attention. Remember, no reputable company or authority will ask for personal information through email or SMS.  

Avoid shady apps:

While there’s no unambiguous way to tell a suspicious app from a genuine app, start by thinking about what you use it for. If it’s not necessary, there’s no point in getting it.

If it doesn’t work for you, delete it immediately. In the case of voicemail, your phone can do that; you don’t need a separate app for it.

Don’t download apps from unofficial app stores. It’s not a good idea to enable the 'Install from Unknown Sources' option.

www.suretyit.com.au

 

 

About the author, Ash Klemm

Ash Klemm is Surety IT' s business development manager and senior relationship manager, with more than 20 years experience in sales and marketing. But it is his curiosity and natural problem-solving abilities that make him the perfect first call for all Surety IT's new customers, to help determine what is wrong, how Surety IT can help and what the best solutions are moving forward.

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