Internet of Customers: Customer Experience Automation Meets IoT?

The Internet of Things creates many new types of customer touchpoints and communication channels, which can fundamentally change how you manage the customer relationship.
By Glenn Johnson

In the construction industry, modular homes manufacturers can use IoT data from each component to streamline production and assembly, as well as provide real-time reports to homeowners regarding product delivery times.

Internet of Customer Challenges
The Internet of Customers is a game-changer in the sense of enabling new business value, but it does create a systems integration and business process orchestration challenge. IoT systems can be viewed as an overlay on existing IT systems that needs to integrate CRM, other legacy systems and new connected devices. With multiple platforms, numerous protocols and large numbers of application programming interfaces (APIs), IoT systems integration can be a challenge. In addition, as the IoT of Customers connects more devices together, it provides more decentralized entry points for malware, creating more complexity and new security risks.

Middleware, in the form of a systems-integration platform, can provide an interface between all of the different systems to provide a unified programming model to interact between the devices and legacy systems. Providing a common solution to data integration, management and security issues increases efficiency and reduces risk. In addition, built-in adapters to third-party solutions and development tools can speed up the process of creating IoT applications.

As we enter the era of the Internet of Things, CRM solutions will evolve and take customer service to the next level, by enabling enterprises to better understand their customers and offer proactive support.

Having a better understanding of the customer journey is the best way in which organizations can build a strong brand and lasting customer loyalty. Those that leverage the IoT to gain insights into each step of the customer journey can gain a competitive advantage, and having tools to simplify and speed up the process can make this capability available to businesses of all sizes, and not just the giants.

Glenn Johnson is the senior VP of Magic Software Enterprises Americas. He has presented his views on the Internet of Things at dozens of industry meetings and conferences, and his interviews about software industry issues have been aired on NBC's Today Show, as well as E! News and Discovery.

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