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Digital Experience

IBM Amplify: Keynote Highlights

Harriet Green, general manager Watson Customer Engagement, kicked off IBM Amplify 2017. She highlighted Retail Pulse, a chart across many categories, devices, etc. It shows all the aggregated data from various customers’ anonymized data. Watson is on an incredible roll with adoption. In 2017 more than 1 billion people will be impacted by Watson in healthcare, IoT, and Customer Engagement.

Key customers:

  • H&R Block
  • Salesforce signed on for Watson
  • Northface
  • HSN
  • Banorte
  • 1-800-Flowers

Over the past 24 months, IBM has been hard at work infusing Watson throughout their marketing, commerce, and supply chain platforms.  The Watson APIs are open and available to anyone but you still need Watson itself. Note: Watson is integrated today with all these products.

Customer Engagement is about optimizing and personalizing experiences while at the same time doing it at scale.


  • Sprint is eliminating blind spots to see hidden patterns in customer interactions around new phone releases.
  • Kyocera is optimizing their channel. They are transforming their marketing and integrating to their supply chain.
  • Harry and David is adopting the full suite of IBM Watson capabilities

IBM Chief Marketing Officer Michelle Peluso

Question: How is your profession changing?

Answer: So much has changed in technology. At first it was just keeping up but now it’s about using the power of information to create great experiences.

I reached out to a few of my friends and asked them a few questions about the opportunities cognitive will create.

Jeff Blueck: So much that’s missing is humanity plus insight

Kaia Bauchamp: It’s about building depth and caring for customers

Rob LoCascio: Cognitive can be the new CRM. Understand and engage them immediately

Seth Farbman: I’m most excited about how AI and Cognitive can help us understand the emotions of people better

Neil Blumenthal: Treat others as they want to be treated. AI can better help us understand what people want.

Julie Bernstein: Our whole goal is to know more about you than you know about yourself. Make shopping better, more effective and make you look fabulous

Rich Lesser: Bring me ideas, solutions, and information organized to make my life easier. I want it to be centered around my life and my challenges

John Tien: AI can provide business like Citi with the ability to create a curated experience at the place where the customer wants to be met.

Term: Dark Data or data only understandable by technologies like Watson

Cognitive has to take understanding and THEN create experiences that are more understanding and meaningful. It’s the marriage of all this data that the power of cognitive really comes to life. Without Watson there wasn’t a way to live up to the promise of 1:1 marketing.

Kareem Yusuf, Chief Product & Technology Officer

What we’ve been doing

The Watson Customer Engagement Platform is all the tools across Marketing, Commerce, and Supply chain.

Key Concepts

User-Centric Design:

Seamless Integration: This is about seamless connectivity between all these products.  It’s about a shared platform across IBM and partner application. This also should include seamless navigation.

Cognitive Expertise: embedded AI to help you with decision making.  For a system to be cognitive, you must blend in domain knowledge.  You know a fire is hot but why?  A cognitive system should improve over time.

Definition: Cognitive system is one that understands, reasons, and learns about a particular subject.  If you touch that fire, you will burn your hand.

Some Cool Stuff

The Watson Platform first then input the data, then create new algorithms to understand the data. Now you can embed cognitive features in a specific tool.

Watson Content Hub

Helps with the tagging. IBM used the data and embedded this capability into content hub. Watson Content Hub allows you to automatically create metadata. By rejecting or accepting, the system continues to learn.

  • Marketing channel owner
    • Using Watson Marketing insights, he gets a snapshot of the data and drills in
    • Watson identifies data and drills into it which helps him see a new potential audience
    • He publishes the audience to a broader team
    • and then creates new campaigns around it
  • Christy uses Watson Customer Experience Analytics
    • Used the tool to identify issues, particularly a specific step during checkout. This was automatic. Watson pushes this to you.
    • She plays back the struggling journey and sees shipping prices and getting shipping data.
    • She goes to Fred to have him solve it. Fred uses Watson order optimizer to do this.  He gives it the goals and Watson works on optimizing it
    • Fred coordinates with the merchant team to enable supply chain
  • The Supply Chain person uses logs into the supply chain network and asks Watson to show her the open orders for the supplier.  Watson does this and creates easily accessible insights.

Melanie Butcher, Director User Experience

The team has been busy developing the concept shown in 2016.


  • In Marketing cloud, she launched the Marketing assistant
  • Asked it to analyze the email campaign
    • Taught Watson what a word was to better enable it
    • Watson can learn and has a couple levels of learning.
    • “how does this drop compare to campaigns over the last year.
      • Used a voice and typing interface
    • “What metrics did you use to calculate this?”
      • Watson showed “this” which is a very interesting test of AI.  Watson had to dissect the sentence and traverse the knowledge tree of the conversation to understand the context of “this”
    • “How is it trending”
      • Showed that the performance was trending down
    • “What is the subject line for this campaign”
      • Showed the subject line and the sentiment score
    • “Take emails from the past year and analyze the top and bottom open rates”
      • It analyzed the top email subjects and
    • “What is the sentence of the future is amazing with product x”
      • The sentiment is positive
    • “modify the campaign subject line to……
      • Watson then modified it and showed her the template
  • It can work with campaign lists, analyze sentiment of emails, etc.  Watson will continue to improve over time.

Announcement: Watson Marketing assistant is now available in preview mode.

Soon a variety of others will be able to use Watson this way as well.

Client Case Studies

Home Shopping Network

Showed a video of HSN with omni-channel capabilities, eCommerce, etc. Mindy Grossman, the CEO of HSN

Question: What have you done to transform?

Answer: You have to transform on a daily basis. The opportunity was to go from a selling network to a story network. A business that created content for 96 million screen needed to change to created different experience on 96 million different screens.  It’s about creating meaning. Technology + Meaning helps people create a connected life.

Question: I love that you use the term ‘ boundary-less retail’

Answer: With everyone using the words channel, you imaging silos and you just can’t have any siloed behavior. It’s about being boudaryless.  (HSN then trademarked the term”

Question: How do you get started?

Answer: You really have to engage the entire organization. If you don’t disrupt yourself then you will be disrupted.   It’s not a five year plan anymore, it’s an hourly plan. You have to encourage people to have an agile organization. Agile is the new smart.  Thirdly, you have to encourage risk and even reward. Lastly, everyone has to understand the vision and know what part they plan in that vision. (You can’t communicate it enough) Recognize and celebrate small successes.

Question: How do you think Watson can take HSN to the next step?

Answer: IBM has been a partner in this 10 year journey. Watson will be critical for us.  This engagement has to create the right new customers.  Help us get a person buying in one category to buy in other.  Mobile is now a flagship. It’s a destination, not a device.

Adidas, Peter Brook Global Director Omnichannels

Question: We all hear the term omni-channel. What does this mean to your organization

Answer: It’s about the consumer. Create and provide an experience regardless of channel. This includes retail stores, franchise partners, and the digital.  But you can’t ignore the digital factor. When you expand omni-channel out, you have to create a local experience.  Adidas added $3 billion to the bottom line and achieved $1 billion in eCommerce.

Question: How did you go about it?

Answer: We made a plan in 2015. We did an RFP and ended up choosing IBM as key partner.  After a year, we now have omnihub live and are taking it around the globe.

Question: How are customer orders working

Answer: From an omni-channel perspective. We launched in London a new concept called glitch for a football “boot”  You can get same day service.

Question: As you look at metrics of success, what are the metrics you use?

Answer: Sales, profitably. Net Promoter score is one of the key ones.

Question: When you think about Watson and cognitive, how will it help you?

Answer: We are here this week to learn more about how it will help.  We want to understand customers.  But ultimately, we want to put it together in a business sense.

Titan Company, Chief Digital Officer Diny Markose

Question: Tell us a little about Titan and opportunity.

Answer: India has 1,250 million people. Growth is expected to outpace china. Coming to Titan, we’ve been market leaders in our niches. We think we are fantastic at brick and mortar with 1,500 stores. Store associates know their customers. But in order to hold on to our market share, we need to improve our digital game

Question: Tell us a little more about your customers. What makes them choose Titan products?

Answer: We are good at making products that become a personal statement for our customers.  Titan has been an integral part of a consumers journey.  My first watch was a Titan watch.  My wife and I bought from the Titan jewelry brand.  It’s about great design, world class manufacturing, and great advertising.

Question: Can a customer reserve a product online to go see in the store?

Answer: Indian consumers are no different from others. 65% of customers go online before going to the store.  We are working on seamless omnichannel. We want them to discover and buy any way they want.  We have to keep making great products AND we must upsell within a category and cross-sell across businesses.  We have to know our customers.

Question: What about IoT?

Answer: We are working on analytics right now.  Coming up, we see more complex problems. Wearables like watches and eyewear will be the primary user interface while not being the primary computing tool.

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Michael Porter

Mike Porter leads the Strategic Advisors team for Perficient. He has more than 21 years of experience helping organizations with technology and digital transformation, specifically around solving business problems related to CRM and data.

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