New company aims to matchmake Aussie brands with CX emerging tech
- 23 July, 2019 07:18
Customer strategy consultancy, Ellipsis & Co, has taken the wrappers off a new company aimed at bridging the gap between Aussie brands looking to solve known customer pain points, with emerging CX solutions globally.
Ellipsis managing partner, David Parsons, described Beyonde as a ‘broker’ that will help local organisations find new technologies available on the global market, all with the aim of securing competitive advantage. Rather than take a reseller approach, however, Beyonde is pitching itself as a matchmaker that will identify, evaluate, design, then help implement and manage these solutions based on a client’s pain point.
Overseeing these efforts is inaugural managing director, Simon Rowles, who’s spent the past 20 years in customer loyalty, financial services and technology startups. It’s a resume that includes leadership positions with AMEX, Diners Club, Carlson Marketing Group and AIMIA in New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Asia-Pacific, as well as consulting on fintechs for KPMG.
Rowles said it was during his time with AIMIA that he noticed an exponentially growing pool of vendors covering customer experience (CX).
“Many classic vendors just don’t have these kinds of solutions,” he claimed. “So many of the relationships have ended up being struck up by luck – a client has read about something in another country that’s working well as a model, and they reached out. There was no rigour, discipline or focus to enable these kinds of models.”
On the strategy side, five-year old Ellipsis has also born witness to ongoing CX disruption, particularly around customer loyalty, that could possibly be addressed by technology solutions operating in another market.
“Our customers are struggling to get good returns out of their loyalty investments based on legacy and traditional models,” Parsons told CMO. “The funding of those initiatives is challenging, and there’s a proliferation of me-too or other offerings. And consumers expect more.”
Then there’s the convergence of payments and loyalty, Parsons said - something Beyonde is now focused on.
“There’s been a movement from physical to digital cards, but a more advanced way of thinking about it is how you can link all your loyalty cards to your payment card so whenever you make a payment, you don’t miss out,” Parsons explained. “That’s a big challenge in retail, finance and travel.
“But the big loyalty companies aren’t prepared to disrupt their own models - they want to issue cards and do things the way they have always been done. One big territory for Beyonde is taking friction out of old models that might exist, in this case, around loyalty. We see this demand in market.”
There are also profound industry changes such as Open Banking, another area of interest for Beyonde.
Finding the right fit
Some tools Beyonde will match clients with will fit into existing tech stacks, while some may be standalone or replacements.
“But almost all fit a formula, which is an unknown solution to a known problem,” Rowles said. “A couple we have introduced in the Australian market fit this model.”
“Normally, you either go and pick the best tech and be the reseller and dealer, or you become the licence holder. What Beyonde will do is leverage the strong market presence but have a best-of-breed set of solutions to tap into.
While Beyonde was unable to share examples with CMO at time of writing, Rowles said criteria to identify the right companies firstly includes good funding, such as Series A, B or higher. Secondly, the company needs to have a very large, credible client demonstrating business case value-add “with rigour”. Sandboxing this approach is an overarching aim to be customer experience focused and end client-led.
“Most of what we’ve offered so far is an additive to what clients already have and differentiates the offering for those deploying it,” Rowles said. “And it’s a ‘land and expand’ service for these companies coming offshore.”
For instance, Beyonde could provide a footprint and go-to-market operational support for global tech startups looking to come into the Australian market, taking some risk in the process.
“If it’s the wrong tool for the wrong clients, then no one wins. But if we match well, there’s upside for all,” Rowles said. “The way we structure ourselves is about scaling with the right partners to make the most of their value.
“This is finding a niche, not finding a single solution then plugging it in everywhere… It’s also opposite to what a mega vendor might be, aggregating all the bits and pieces servicing partners for a select customer set.”
To indicate latent demand in market, Rowles said Beyonde brought on its first partner several weeks ago and has already met one retailer four times about the proposed solution.
“We really hit a nerve on something they’ve been struggling to do,” he said. “It’s a significant project, so probably a year away from launch. But what they have said is the pace is much quicker than expected and we’re convinced it’s because of our model. Ellipsis knew the problem, which is why we chose the partner, and it’s customer-led, not product pushing.”
Parsons said the glue is leveraging trusted relationships Ellipsis has already established in key verticals such as finance, travel and retail.
“After five years, we have customers saying they love the strategy Ellipsis provides but they’re struggling in some cases to get competitive advantage because their current set of vendors aren’t offering all the parts they need,” he said. “We found we were pointing these clients to innovative companies overseas but without the ability to properly ensure it could work out.
“This is about bringing these things together – we have trusted relationships, and we see the market underserved by innovative solutions. It allows us to help customers be successful beyond the strategy.”
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