Our Blog - Differentis

How easy is it to become a Digitally enabled business?

By Ron Mackintosh

Date 1 March 2016 Tags ,

Many companies still have a long way to go on their Digital Journey.

It’s not just about a mobile app, e-commerce platform or social media driven marketing. A true Digital journey needs to create better experiences for customers, aiming to improve service and deliver greater efficiencies.

So, if you’re the CEO of a forward thinking company, with a very diverse portfolio of offerings and services, nervous about your whole approach to Digital, what do you do when you realise there are duplicated and conflicting Digital initiatives? You ask for help.

Differentis worked with in-house teams to identify 12 core Digital Capabilities and then matched these to the initiatives against customer journeys to build a Digital Blueprint. The Digital Portfolio was rationalised; stopping the redundant, reshaping the poorly aligned and accelerating those that could deliver early wins – all in a matter of months.

One year on and the business is becoming Digitally Enabled; now armed with an effective (and used) CRM solution and (according to the customers) already offering a superior customer experience. It is well on the way to becoming an industry game changer.

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Postcards from the Edge of IOT, # 1 – IOT is not the ‘Internet’ and not ‘Things’

By Jim Patience

Date 22 February 2016 Tags ,

Not the ‘Internet’:

Your smartphone is smarter because it’s connected to the Internet. Gadgets in your home are not (yet) because of protocols, expense, URL limits and security. Most of the complexity connecting smart home devices is in overcoming these hurdles. This will not be easier until IPv6 is spread wider.

So most ‘Things’ are not yet directly connected to the ‘Internet’.

Not ‘Things’:

Physical Things are the trickiest place to put anything. Things can be complex yet require a simple interface (e.g. white goods). ‘Things’ are more often a collection of simple “devices” which combine to perform a valuable task, e.g. a ‘thermostat’ is actually an on/off switch, a temperature sensor, a clock and some schedules.

So ‘Things’ are not the Things that you think they are.

BE CAREFUL, or in a couple of years, you could be the Betamax of the IOT world.

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Get Smarter with IoT

By Jim Patience

Date 3 February 2016 Tags ,

Hard. Earned. Insight.

High Performance IOT platforms are hard to design well.

Without experience, they are typically built poorly, resulting in long delays for new devices and applications, slow and unpredictable performance and high costs to run. However, a well designed IOT platform will allow rapid integration of a wide range of new devices and development of applications, at low cost.

AlertMe – an innovative company – had by 2011 several years of experience in the design and management of “Things,” but the difficulties of success were putting unprecedented demand on their platform. And their new shareholder/client wanted to roll out remote heating control and “Safe and Secure” products to their millions of customers.

They were therefore faced, at an early stage, with the challenges of scale and complexity that many current players are only just starting to address.

Differentis worked with AlertMe to design their massively scalable IOT platform. We helped them with its analytics, manage the delivery programme, manage the build and roll out of the business change programmes and support the investors and advisers to meet the challenge of handling over 10 billion IoT data points a month, processing 1 billion smart meter reads a month and providing personalised energy data analytics to 370,000 homes.

Centrica acquired the business in early 2015, which now underpins its well known Active Energy Management, Home security and Home automation package, and is central to their Smart Home offering. There are now hundreds of thousands of devices connected to its systems.

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How the best companies embrace Digital, a “One Direction” story

By Ronald Mackintosh

Date 22 January 2016 Tags , ,

Employees and customers are starting to demand new ways of interacting which can only be achieved through digital processes and technology.

Most companies still have a long way to go on their Digital journey; often making the same mistakes, and learning the same lessons, painfully.

It is not only about mobile apps, bolting on an e-commerce platform or social media driven marketing; Digital creates the opportunity to build new personalised  joined up experiences for Customers, Partners and critically, Employees, changing the way your business is run.


So what is the key to shaping Digital initiatives to drive these experiences for your customers, partners and employees?

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Social CRM – how to find clarity in a blurred world

By Differentis

Date 23 May 2014 Tags

The rise of social networking sites has meant that customers are no longer prepared to be fed the traditional marketing, sales and service monologue from companies. They feel empowered with peer dialogue through online communities and have started to take greater ownership of the conversation with businesses which may be able to help them achieve their needs.

Traditional CRM strategies focus on managing relationships based on customer transaction history for the optimal extraction of value from the customer. These strategies create operational efficiencies in customer-facing activities to free up staff time to sell and resolve service issues e.g. opportunity management and pipeline visibility. Additionally they can create optimised offers for customers, leading to higher value customer purchases. This approach however is insufficient when it comes to customers whose trust lies in their peers. Customers are demanding engagement, not monologue, and want trusted relationships with authentic, timely communications.

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