What is the “smarter web” and what does it mean for business?

By Chris Lee

How businesses manage, articulate and exploit the wealth of online data concerning their industry, brand or customer base is a massive challenge. To get some insight into best practice, NMK caught up with Rob Mathieson, founder of web-based software firm AYO Digital, who has spent a decade in digital industries.

Define “the smarter web” for us

The smarter web is about looking at web technologies and using them to solve business problems. The Internet is a very versatile tool, allowing us to connect systems and objects on a scale never been envisaged before. By tying all these together it provides a huge amount of data, which in turn can be manipulated and converted into market intelligence.

We are at a key turning point, where billions of devices around the world are forming a giant mesh of data, each acting as a sensor to our behaviour or actions.

Why does it matter to marketers/brands?

Marketers and brands should be especially interested in this, as it allows their customers to interact and engage with them on many different levels. Primarily the objective is to simplify any transactional process, reducing overheads and in turn cost. This aspect should be constantly refined, optimising it at all points. It is then possible to build management systems around the transactions, allowing businesses to gain insight into their sales trends, customer behaviour, etc. This can assist with forecasting and estimating capacity utilisation.

What are three key things brands should be doing to best capitalise on the “smarter web”?

– Use technology to automate processes. You can massively reduce overheads within an organisation by identifying work which doesn’t need to be completed manually. This could be anything from simple document generation to third party software integration.

– Pull customer data into a central management system. It’s surprising how many businesses still operate off spread sheets and legacy systems. By building web-based management tools, you can access all your customer data at any time and from any location. What device you use should really be irrelevant. With the correct tools you should have insight into every part of your business.

– Effective use of technology will make your transactional processes easier and faster. By making your customers life simpler and cheaper, they are more likely to keep engaging with you.

You recently worked with Renault, tell us a bit about that project

Renault have launched the new Clio within the UK. AYO Digital worked with them to deliver a VIP portal, targeting all 135,000 of their UK customers. This allowed each one of them to login to the campaign website and book themselves a test drive. By providing the customers with self-service tools it massively reduced the cost of the campaign, removing the need for any manual processing.

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