After the shock caused by the two drops of rain that fell Monday night (in the San Francisco Bay area it almost never rains between the end of April to late October), SemTech’s nearly 1,000 participants gathered for the keynote speech that opened the conference.
As if to disprove the critics who still paint the world of semantic technologies as a very technical and niche sector, when it comes to addressing business problems, the first speech was completely dedicated to one of the most important issues for companies across all industries—customer.
Bill Guinn, of Amdocs, delivered concrete examples of how a system of customer care, where semantic technologies are fully integrated with traditional CRM solutions, can create value. It started from the three areas in which we can construct a process of interaction with customers.
1. Customer Care:
2. Revenue Generation. A second area where the intervention of semantic technologies can add value is linked to revenue generation, because it allows you to manage detailed information on customer preferences, starting from the opinions expressed on blogs, forums and social media. Understanding customer needs enables the chance to make targeted offers, and can influence ideas for promotions and product development. The analysis of customers’ links with the social network can multiply in proportion to the investment: targeted offers for a customer can also be extended to his contacts, who are likely to have similar tastes and needs.
3. Customer Churn. Another area where semantic technologies can deliver value is that of customer churn, or the process by which we choose one product over another. The real-time analysis of the reasons why, which are most often expressed in written text as part of the company’s own communications, can help enable early attempts to keep the customer relationship alive (such as through special offers , discounts, etc.).
In the second speech we heard about the application of semantic technologies in the world of online publishing, a timely topic given the continuing state of crisis in the sector. In recounting the experience carried out with the BBC, John O’Donovan’s Press Association, described why the solution that many people traditionally use to address the poor performance of a site, that is, change the Content Management System, is the most expensive mistake an online publisher can make.
The value provided by the semantic comprehension of online content, especially when it comes to articles and news, has proven its significant and measurable ROI for some time now. O’Donovan showed that a semantic system that categorizes, creates metadata and, in a nutshell, gives a little order to content is of considerable value because it can determine:
The experience of the BBC, as well as some Italian newspapers, such as Il Sole 24 Ore, shows that this is possible even with relatively small investments. It is difficult to understand because so far, only a limited number of publishers have implemented these innovative solutions and integrated semantic functionality into their systems. What is certain is that the opportunity must be seized now because tomorrow may be too late.