11月 102018

"The customer is always right," was popularized by pioneering, successful retailers such as Harry Gordon Selfridge, John Wanamaker and Marshall Field. I remember a variation on this idea — Rule 1. The customer is always right. Rule 2. If the customer is wrong, go back to Rule 1.

This fundamental premise of customer service remains true regardless of channel: brick-and-mortar store, mobile device or website.

Emerging technologies provide retailers the opportunity to differentiate themselves with data and analytics that enhance the customer experience. Retailers can partner with the analytics using data associated with past and present interactions and through systemic innovation can capitalize on future customer interactions.

SAS has been a Red Hat partner for more than 15 years. Its retail customers use Red Hat technologies across many parts of their organizations. Red Hat Enterprise Linux is the preferred choice for many SAS retail customers because it provides a stable, reliable platform with a low total cost of ownership. SAS® Analytics, when paired with Red Hat Middleware, allows teams to seamlessly integrate retail data movement from the edge to the data center. In addition, both companies have developed a joint workflow to ensure that customer problems are resolved quickly.

But what does this partnership really mean to the retail customer?

Four factors that make retail analytics real

Better scalability. Seasonal factors can significantly impact the retail industry. A spike in demand around signature events -- planned and unplanned – can result in order-of-magnitude variations in the volume of data to be processed. The larger the data volume, the higher the compute and storage resources required.

That’s where cloud can come in. SAS Analytics with Red Hat open cloud technology allows retailers to scale their analytics up and out as their business climate evolves by automatically provisioning additional resources.

Faster time to analytics. The digital customer is not only motivated by the products available through the retailer but also to the overall shopping experience. A robust IT strategy has become even more important to the retailer.

Retailers need to continually develop new features that draw customers to the store for the experience. The goal is to entice a digitally-minded customer to get offline and come to the store. Red Hat solutions power DevOps implementations that speed time to market.

Increased flexibility. The digital world would be a lot simpler if everyone a single cloud solution. But it is a hybrid world out there with a multitude of workloads that are best suited for a diverse array of environments including bare metal, virtual machines, private and public clouds.

Workloads may need to be moved across these environments as well. Red Hat technologies allow retailers to virtualize their SAS analytics over a range of secure deployment options, including public, private, and hybrid clouds.

Added security. Data being such a precious commodity, digital retailers may have to be more concerned in some cases about the security and privacy of their customer’s data than the goods they sell! ‘Adversaries R Us’ are always on the prowl in the digital neighborhood, continuously innovating newer ways to penetrate the enterprise to access the customer data.

Prevention is better than cure, even when it comes to data security. With the SAS and Red Hat platform, customers benefit from continuous built-in security, offered end-to-end on trusted platforms and augmented by automated patching and proactive remediation in compliance with regulatory standards.

There you have it!

SAS and Red Hat provide a platform that supports every phase of the analytics life cycle to ensure that the Customer will always be right! Let me take it a step further. If such partnerships are not leveraged to benefit the customer, Retailers will be proven wrong!

How else can they drive a partnership with analytics?

The customer will always be right with open analytics was published on SAS Users.

4月 172018

Peak moments from SAS Global Forum“Customer experiences are defined by peak moments”, said Dan Heath, in his typical charismatic fashion during the keynote on the Executive Track of the SAS Global Forum 2018. Customer experiences is not an alien term by any means but "peak moments?" What was that?

The best way to get a detailed understanding is to simply get your copy of The Power of Moments authored by the Heath Brothers. Heath went on to use examples from a bank in Canada where the ATM would have a human dialog with the surprised consumer just walking up to withdraw a few dollars and would pop up a free ticket to Disney for a mother of two or a round trip ticket for a grandmother to be with her beautiful grandchildren. Peak Moments. OK, now I get it.

Heath also challenged everyone in the audience – including yours truly – to submit our own interpretation of peak moments within the next 24 hours to get a free copy of his book. But, as luck would have it, I did not get around to submitting it because the peak moment I experienced was a few hours later during the SAS Grid Dinner. And it was no surprise that this conference was in Denver with a beautiful view of the glorious mountain peaks -- the perfect backdrop for customers to experience their peak moments!

Peak Moments from SAS Global Forum

Fast forward to the SAS Grid Dinner. A panel of customers using SAS Grid Manager with years of experienced insight had a great conversation with the audience with the discussion eloquently moderated by Cheryl Doninger, VP, Business Intelligence, Research & Development, SAS. It was clear that this was a panel that had done many things right from the get go and taken up the challenges of technology, culture, change management different ways. It was really nice to see them openly share their experiences and findings for the benefit of the hundreds of members in the audience listening with rapt attention.

And, then it hit me! We were looking at SAS customers on the panel. Going back to Heath’s assertion, I started wondering what could have been the peak moment for every one of these customers as they continued to evangelize the enterprise-wide adoption of SAS Grid Manager. Here is a synopsis of various peak moments shared by the customers in response to my question. Heath! Are you reading this?

Peak Moment One
SAS Grid Manager users are happy with the uptime and availability of Grid Manager. One customer called it a Layer of Happiness.

Peak Moment Two
Users who had initially issued a stern warning – “You ain’t taking my PC SAS away” – were happy to see 25 percent to 50 percent performance and throughput improvements with SAS Grid Manager.

Peak Moment Three
The loudest and most aggressive naysayer who was opposed to the migration to SAS Grid Manager became an advocate after experiencing tangible proof points and measurable outcomes.

Peak Moment Four
200 users were seamlessly migrated without any glitch. Worked like a charm! Nodes were decommissioned unbeknownst to the user.

Peak Moment Five
Taking a moment to reflect on the overall experience – what could have been and how smooth the overall experience was.

Peak Moment Six
Certify models when moving from previous platform to the SAS Grid but no code changes were needed to move the models.

Peak Moment Seven.
SAS Grid Manager being fully utilized at 80 percent to 90 percent capacity just like the mainframes. Maximizing the utilization is always a strong indicator of systemic adoption across the enterprise.

There you have it.  These were peak moments that the customers shared in response to my question.

But, here is what I was pleasantly surprised by! It took them seconds to come out with their respective peak moments. They did not have to reflect. They did not have to think hard. It came to them naturally. And that is what made it a peak moment for me! Just seeing these real-life customers share openly what worked for them and their users and why. These seven peak moments took me to seventh heaven!

So, Dan Heath, I could not meet your deadline of submitting my peak moment because I was waiting to experience one myself – albeit a tad bit late! Guess what could be another peak moment for me? You reading this blog and sending me a copy of your book!

What are your peak moments as a customer?  What are peak moments your customers have experienced?  Please share them here.  And we will wait for the Heath brothers to synthesize that into another wonderful book for the rest of us to read!

Peak moments define SAS Global Forum 2018 was published on SAS Users.