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IBM Digital Experience: An "Umbrella Thought" Story

  |  July 31, 2013   |  Comments

IBM's Digital Experience, announced last week, is an "umbrella thought" for looking at its many tools that let businesses produce digital communications for customers, employees and business partners.

It's a marketing suite. It's a business process tool. It's an enterprise knowledge platform. It's three digital initiatives in one. IBM's Digital Experience, announced last week, is an "umbrella thought" for looking at its many tools that let businesses produce digital communications for customers, employees and business partners.

IBM says the software tools let line-of-business employees produce, share and distribute data-driven digital content on the fly to all mobile and social channels without help from the IT department.

IBM Digital Experience is not exactly a new product release, according to IBM's director of Digital Experience software, Gary Dolsen. Instead, it's a concept designed to highlight better integration among IBM Customer Experience Suite, IBM Employee Experience Suite, Tealeaf, Coremetrics and the Unica products.

"Customers want to be able to start in one spot and move out from there," Dolsen says. "We built nicely pre-integrated points with Coremetrics, Unica and Tealeaf if someone wants to pull those in.

IBM has been making major moves into enterprise marketing, acquiring cross-channel marketing software maker Unica and analytics software provider Coremetrics in 2010, followed by digital customer experience management vendor Tealeaf in 2012. IBM rebranded Coremetrics as IBM Coremetrics Web Analytics and Digital Marketing Optimization Suite.

Unica is now known as Cross-Channel Marketing Optimization, and IBM rebranded Tealeaf as Customer Experience Management. This latest announcement rebrands IBM Customer Web Experience Management as IBM Digital Experience, placing the acquired technologies under one new umbrella.

IBM's enterprise customers usually do integrate some or all of the solutions within Customer Experience Management, Dolsen says. "They've found if they can do that in a more central way, they can be more adaptive to market and reduce IT costs. Our clients are asking for nicely pre-integrated suites of functionality that include being able to measure results."

IBM gives the example of marketing and event teams hosting a conference and publishing a variety of digital assets, including client interviews, show floor footage, audio and text overlays to a range of social, mobile and online channels. In another example, HR executives could use the technologies to connect new hires with seasoned employees who could accelerate the orientation process by answering questions and providing insights into the company's practices and culture.

The new integration among digital marketing products extends to IBM Employee Experience Suite, which was rebranded in January 2013 from IBM Intranet Experience Suite. It also now has pre-integration with the array of digital experience products.

Intranets and external websites are converging, according to Dolsen, with businesses realizing that it's just as important to engage employees as it is to attract customers. He says, "The number-one usage pattern now for people building internal-facing sites is to be able to better support customer interaction." For example, the Staples intranet is designed to provide all employees with consistent and usable information about the company's products and offerings. "So every time a customer has an interaction, they get consistent information. There's an authentic brand experience and consistency across multiple channels, including traditional brick and mortar."

The best way to understand the announcement, Dolsen says, is, "IBM Digital Experience is the umbrella thought for how people would launch a portfolio of sites, be able to listen to results and drive people back to their site."

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Susan Kuchinskas

Susan Kuchinskas has covered interactive advertising since its invention. The former staff writer for Adweek, Business 2.0, and M-Business covers technology, business and culture from Berkeley, CA.

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