CMO's top 10 martech stories for the week - 20 June 2019

All the latest martech, customer tech and adtech news from Optimizely, Zendesk, Adobe, Bold360, Acquia, Adform, Genesy, M-Files, AnyVision and Meltwater

Optimizely secures US$105m in fresh financing 

Digital optimisation technology player, Optimizely, has closed US$105 million in new financing, bringing its total funding to date to $200 million.  

The latest capital raising includes $50m in Series D funding and was led by Goldman Sachs Private Capital Investing, with substantial input from Accenture Ventures. As part of the latter’s contribution, the two companies will work more closely on a new suite of high-value services to complement Optimizely’s experimentation platform.  

“As more business is done online, companies understand optimising the digital experiences they deliver to their customers is the difference between winning and losing in their respective markets,” Optimizely CEO, Jay Larson, said. “The combination of Optimizely and Accenture can deliver game-changing value to companies serious about winning in today’s digital economy.”  

Optimizely also extended its line of credit with Bridge Bank. According to the vendor, the investment signals a tipping point in digital experience optimisation and is a reflection of its category leadership position. It noted clients have tripled investments in digital experience optimisation in the last two years, with the platform now handline more than 6 billion events daily.  

Bold360 engagement suite expanded  

Bold360 parent company, LogMeIn, has taken the wrappers off a new suite of Bold360 products, taking advantage of its artificial intelligence (AI)-powered customer engagement platform.  

The trio of new offerings includes Bold360 Service, is designed to help brands support customers in their channel of choice and includes self-service for improved operational efficiency, along with more personalised engagement in human agent interactions.    

Bold360 Advise is about making centralised customer information accessible to everyone and in particular, finding job-critical information. Bold360 Acquire, meanwhile, is based on conversational chatbots proactively guiding website visitors through personalised shopping experiences in real time.  

“We’re expanding Bold360 to deliver conversational AI to all customer touchpoints – from sales, to service, to post-sale support,” LogMeIn SVP and general manager, customer engagement and support solution, Paddy Srinivasan, said. “This new suite of solutions helps bring the best of AI-powered bots and front-line employees to all the places customers need them most.”       

Zendesk announces new self-service experiences, support offering  

Customer management platform vendor, Zendesk, has extended the reach of its AI-powered solutions offering into new channels. It’s also introduced a new offering aimed at uniting customer-facing teams across an organisation.  

The company’s Answer Bot has been expanded across all Web and mobile channels, a move that allows clients to provide better always-on, self-service to end customers. Businesses can implement Answer Bot via API, Web widget and mobile

SDKs, as well as integrate these into email and Web forms. Answer Bot also surfaces recommendations to staff as they speak to customers, contributing to a more efficient and accurate experiences.  

Alongside this, Zendesk has debuted new capabilities within its Guide Enterprise knowledge management product aimed at helping customer experience teams leverage automation and AI to develop, maintain and manage more complex knowledge needs across multiple brands, products and services.  

Additional features are oriented around content lifecycle automation and enterprise-level customer. One such self-service enhancement is Content Cues, which provide signals to content managers to maintain and improve their knowledge base based on support inquiry trends.  

There’s also Article Events, which help companies better manage content throughout its lifecycle; plus Flexible Hierarchies, or multiple theme templates and search enhancements aimed at making it easier to manage more complex knowledge needs internally, externally and across multiple brands or services.  

A third launch this week is Zendesk Duet, bringing together Zendesk Sell and Support together in one combined offering. The vendor said the solution is designed to help businesses operate their sales and service teams in unison. Supporting this is an open and flexible App Framework for Zendesk Sell. Early access partners include MailChimp.  

Acquia brings fresh Lift into it personalisation capabilities  

A new tool from Acquia is being pitched as a no-code solution for marketers looking to build and launch personalisation into their digital experiences.  

Acquia Lift is optimised for the Drupal CMS platform and designed as a unified and marketer-ready interface for executing customer profile management, segmentation and personalisation in one place using point-and-click capabilities. Key features include simple campaign creation, the ability to test and target without having to code, enhanced scheduling, and defined personalisation campaign types for A/B testing, targeting or content recommendations.    

Acquia said it’s also built in real-time dashboards and advanced analytics for reviewing and optimising activities, helping validate marketing investment. Global customers already using the new platform include Wendy’s, Bayer and BlueCross BlueShield.  

Adobe unveils Technology Previews  

Adobe says its new Technology Previews functionality will give Adobe Analytics users the ability to access forward-looking prototypes being developed off the back of its Sensei AI engine in real time.  

Positioned as an industry-first way for enterprise users to leverage new innovations faster, brands will be given quick access to the latest technology features as Adobe builds out product roadmaps. Specifically, brands can preview early-stage AI and machine learning technology, as well as share feedback in real-time with the vendor’s tech teams, around analytics innovation.  

One of the first cabs off the rank is prototypes for reimagining the customer journey with AI by surfacing insights not clear to the human eye, such as reasons for irregular spikes in app uninstalls. Adobe also wants to better tap machine learning to identify ideal audiences by providing new forms of audience segmentation using AI. A third Technology Previews project is designed to accelerate a brand’s ability to predict a customer’s future actions by analysing billions of historical and real-time data points.  

“As a pioneer and long-time leader in marketing analytics, Adobe Analytics is well-positioned to continue to aggressively innovate on behalf of brands that rely upon us day in and day out,” said Adobe Analytics senior director, product marketing, Jeff Allen.  

“Technology Previews will help us continue to move brands to higher levels of maturity with analytic – going beyond simple vanity metrics – tapping into deep data insights to refine every part of the experiences they craft for their customers.”  

Adform makes bid for industry consolidation  

A new Trusted Partners Program has been launched by Adform with the ambition of giving global advertisers a means to consolidate and optimise their outsourced services and integration processes.  

The adtech platform player’s new provides access to a curated directory of trusted partners offering what it considers the highest quality services, solutions and products to meet each brand’s needs. The Program kicks off with nine verified partners across various specialisations including audience data, verification, media and marketing automation software: ADmantX , Adsquare, Eyeota, Freewheel, Global Data Resources, Integral Ad Science, SAP, SAS and Semasio.   

According to Adform, each meet rigorous standards for accuracy and use reliable methodologies to enhance campaigns for advertisers, marketers and brands. Adform will work closely with the partners to ensure the solutions respect user privacy.  

“With transparency at its core, Adform’s Trusted Partners Program provides deeper integrations, higher standards of service, and strengthens our commitment to providing easy access to best-in-class digital advertising services and data,” said Adform VP business development, Filippo Gramigna. “We remain an open platform, however this approach allows for a tailored and resource efficient approach for all partners.”  

Genesys aims to orchestrate new customer journey management  

Genesys says its new AI-driven orchestration capabilities will help clients better harmonise AI customer communication applications from marketing through to sales and service.  

The new capabilities are designed to connect native and third-party technologies – and their data - to improve customer journey management. The vendor said this allows users to map business logic, perform various back-end system integrations and swap AI providers in a streamlined way. They’re based on Genesys Cloud platform and harnessing a common data framework.    

For example, to coordinate Genesys AI and chat and voice bots when a customer begins an interaction, the platform looks to detect if escalation is needed, and uses predictive routing to identify the best employees to match the call to. It then passes the inquiry on with full context attached.  

Supporting this is a new analytics dashboard from Genesys showcasing customer intent, visualise containment rates and optimise bot usage in a single view.  

“In customer service alone, on average, nine out of 10 enterprises deploy AI for six distinct uses, such as automated self-service, chatbots in instant messaging and IVR support,” Genesys chief product officer, Peter Graf, commented. “Genesys AI is an elegant solution that masterfully links underlying technologies and synchronises data and event streams as needed.”  

M-Files extends Salesforce Customer 360 with management offering  

Information management vendor, M-Files, has launched a new solution for Salesforce’s Customer 360 platform. The AI-powered platform enables unified access to customer-related documents and data stored in other enterprise repositories directly within Salesforce, integrating M-Files content services directly within the familiar Salesforce user interface.

The vendor said its aim is to provide easy access to out-of-the-box document management, compliance and governance features via the user interface where Salesforce users spend most of their time throughout the day. Capabilities are available across both cloud and on-premise and include content repositories, version history, security, collaboration, workflows, eSignatures, compliance support and more.

M-Files also provides direct access to external repositories and other line-of-business applications such as on-premises file shares, OneDrive for Business, SharePoint, Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, legacy ECM systems, such as OpenText, and ERP applications, such as NetSuite and SAP.  

Facial recognition software startup secures US$74m  

AnyVision, a four-year old startup specialising in body, object and facial recognition software, has secured US$74 million to pursue its ambitions.  

The company vision company develops software solutions to make all connected cameras smart in order to recognise face, body and objects. These are aimed at use cases such as security and surveillance, mobile authentication, access control and real-world analytics. Users include banks, stadiums, casinos and retail.  

The company is pitching itself as an ethical recognition player, and said its technology doesn’t collect or share user data nor capture images. Instead, data is rendered into mathematical vectors, which act as cryptography.  

Those fresh faces putting money behind the business include M12, Microsoft’s venture fund, DFJ Growth and OG Technology Partners. Previous investors include LightSpeed Venture Partners, Robert Bosch, Qualcomm Ventures and Eldridge Industries.  

“There are very few times in business when you have the opportunity to build an entirely new industry alongside leading ecosystem players,” said AnyVision CEO and co-founder, Eylon Etshtein. “We have the optimal combination of industrial validation and financial horsepower to become the leader in this industry.”  

Meltwater goes exploring  

Meltwater has launched a new dynamic search and analytics experience dubbed ‘Explore’ within its media intelligence platform.  

Explore is designed to help PR, communications and marketing professionals spot if an event, product or brand is trending in the news and/or on social media via ad-hoc and unlimited searches across social and news content (including Reddit) via the Web platform and the Meltwater mobile app. Users can also set-up instant alerts, create new searches as well as analyse content and trends via dashboards and reports on-the-go via the mobile app.  

Explore is now available for new and existing Meltwater clients.    

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