Smart Master Data Management Will Power Your Customer Analytics And Insights

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It’s supposed to be a post omni-channel world. A time when personalization is the norm, but as customers we know this is not the case. When customers contact companies, the companies often don’t recognize who the customer is, and they certainly don’t know what the customer’s preferences are. The truth is customers rarely get the personalized and tailored experiences they desire.

Well it’s not a shortage of data about those customers.

So why is it that when customers contact companies, most companies seem completely unaware about anything specific regarding that customer, let alone tastes and preferences. The reason is delinquency when it comes to the aggregation and management of the customer’s data inside the company.

Companies have many challenges when it comes to using customer data, particularly data that is supposed to help the company make better decisions in real-time.

David Rowley, CTO of IAC Publishing Labs, and former executive at customer experience software vendor Sprinklr, said, “the notion of a centralized repository for key business data is an important aspect of providing a more comprehensive customer experience.”

But many companies don’t have this today.

This information is called master data. “Master data” can be about products, employees, materials, suppliers but also may include documents and sales. Rowley said, “A centralized master data store (the repository for the master data) can improve real time decision making and analytics, if information about the entities (e.g. customers) is stored centrally. This provides you with a single trustworthy source of truth about the customer.” Rowley added that you can report directly on that data, rather than having to aggregate customer data from separate systems. He said, “A central view of the customer, for example, keeps various systems in sync with what the customer has done.”

Vic Bhagat, CIO of Verizon Business Services, said, “master data is more important now than ever – the amount of data being generated today will pale in comparison to what will be generated in just a few more years.” He added, “Having a master data management strategy clearly defined — early on — enables a faster approach to analytics to deliver a more proactive, predictive, prescriptive outcome that customers expect today.”

As we established, companies struggle with their current state of their customer data management, but what happens when the business becomes a little complicated, such as with a merger or acquisition. How does the company merge all the new data with all the historical data? Master data management can also help with this.

We addressed the fact that many data systems that aren’t integrated. Sometimes data problems include the actual data sources, data duplicates, no data governance and no standards. Data is not always shared efficiently within the organization. Many of the world’s biggest companies operate like separate islands. Customer service and sales do not share a crm. The company does not collaborate around the customer to ensure a powerful customer experience. The company’s various departments operate in silos. More often than not the people working inside the companies do not even know one another in different departments, let alone use data that spans across the organization.

This is a challenge for organizations who need to create easy and elegant experiences for customers. Companies need to leverage data in real-time to make better decisions. Customer analytics are not helpful when one can’t trust the accuracy of the data. And with many companies today data is often too little too late.

“Leveraging Master data enables enterprises to clean, integrate, and supplement their data to ensure a complete 360 view of their customer. With this view, companies can make informed decisions, align different departments, and create world class online and offline customer experiences leading to sales growth,” says Rishi Dave, chief marketing officer at Dun and Bradstreet, a data and analytics company who provides master data.

End-to-end master data management helps clients make marketing campaigns 30% more efficient, improve upsell and cross-sell rates by 60% and increase loyalty members’ spending by 20%, according to Informatica.

Neopost Uses Master Data For A Transformation Initiative

Neopost, a market-leading global provider of mailing solutions, digital communications and shipping services, found that master data was critical for a transformation initiative. The company wanted a way to more competitively know and serve their customers. As Neopost focused on modernizing its offerings and delivery for the digital age, strong data management has played a key role.

“Besides developing the actual software we sell our customers, we’ve got to build an infrastructure where data quality is paramount,” says Steve Rakoczy, Neopost’s North America CIO. “You can make a mess really quickly in the electronic age if you don’t have your data right.” After using master data, Rakoczy said, “We can successfully manage our Salesforce environment for the first time in over a decade.”

Master data management can help your company create more compelling customer experiences, but first the company must decide on a strong data approach.

For more from author Blake Morgan sign up for her weekly customer experience newsletter here.

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This Made in India Game Is Easy to Pick Up, Really Hard to Master

This Made in India Game Is Easy to Pick Up, Really Hard to Master

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Bluk is an isometric platformer
  • The developer is based in Kerala
  • It’s a premium game for iOS

Bluk is a puzzle game made by Kerala-based one-man studio Pixelape Games. The core of the game is simple. You play as a block in a world of towers. Your goal is to hop across from one tower to the next, until you clear the stage.

This sounds very easy, but the game is actually quite hard. This is because of the way jumping across works. To jump, you tap the screen and then drag in any direction, and you’ll see a dotted line that traces your trajectory. When you release your finger, the block jumps across. The dotted line only shows half of your trajectory, so you’ll take a long time to master the art of landing the block on a tower.

You can’t cheat the system by making the dotted line lead to the next tower, because when you lift your finger off the screen you’ll usually see the block falling into the abyss, as the jump had too much power. It took us over 600 leaps just to clear the first level, so you can imagine how hard the game is. You could put a part of this down to our lack of skills, but mostly it’s the game’s difficulty level.

On clearing the first level – after repeated trial and error – you might think that you have mastered the game, and can clear stages more quickly now. Nothing could be further from the truth. That’s because the second stage introduces different types of towers – a white tower that’s slippery and a black tower which is sticky. The block tends to slide across the top of white towers and sticks to black towers. When you’re plotting the jump, you need to take that into account.

bluk_next_level_itunes.jpgWe don’t think every game needs to be easy and in Bluk’s case, the difficulty level is definitely a plus. We did feel that we were getting better at the game with each try. However we did find the lack of a story a bit disappointing. The developer mentions that “you can also follow the hidden storyline and make your mark in the special Hall of Fame.”

There is a story in the game, but it’s not obvious at all. The game’s description says that there’s some kind of a darkness growing among the pillars and your block needs to find out why and try and restore harmony. We don’t think hiding the story is a good idea. For a game with such a high difficulty level, the story could push people to keep playing. After about 800 leaps or so, we didn’t feel the urge to keep trying to clear levels. That is where a story could have helped.

That said, the game has some great visuals. Right from the nice design of the block, the towers, and the background, we were pleased with its art. The game’s controls are quite responsive too; the tap and drag is the only control option available, but it worked well for us.

The game lets you unlock certain abilities such as letting you see more towers. These abilities appear as glyphs over towers and when you land on the tower, you unlock the ability. The problem is that the game doesn’t explain how to use the ability. We only unlocked one such ability and we’d really have appreciated an explanatory note on what it does and how to use the ability.

The problem with Bluk lies in its lack of communication. We feel that the game could have been a lot better with a story that isn’t hidden and with special abilities that are a bit more obvious. The game looks great, has a pretty good soundtrack, and the gameplay mechanics are quite solid. We even like its high difficulty level. It’s a premium game for iOS and we think it’s well worth the asking price of Rs. 190.

Bluk is available on the App Store. You can pick it up for Rs. 10 for a limited time, after which it will cost Rs. 190.

Pros

  • Great art
  • Difficult
  • Responsive controls

Cons

  • ‘Hidden’ story
  • Abilities need explanation

Rating (out of 10): 7

Tags: App Store, Bluk, Pixelape Games, iOS, iPad, iPhone

 

[“Source-Gadgets”]

10 Tips and Tricks to Help You Master Alto’s Adventure

10 Tips and Tricks to Help You Master Alto's Adventure

Alto’s Adventure is a beautiful endless snowboarding game that launched on Android on Thursday. There are plenty of endless runners on Android and iOS, from the likes of Temple Run to Subway Surfers. Unlike those games, getting a high score isn’t really a big motivating factor if you are playingAlto’s Adventure.

The game has 60 levels, with three achievements per level. Completing these achievements is what will keep you hooked to the game. Beautiful art and a pleasant soundtrack only add to the game’s appeal. Alto’s Adventure is free on Android and you should try it. If you’re having trouble mastering the game or if you’ve just started and want some tips to get started, read on.

1. Alto’s Adventure is all about goals
Like all endless runners, Alto’s Adventure gets repetitive after a while. Your instinct might be to try and survive for as long as possible, but we recommend that you concentrate on your goals instead. Every 10 levels, you unlock a new character. Some of these characters are far better than Alto – the character you start with so try and unlock the new characters as soon as you can.

As soon as you’ve achieved the three goals, just crash and end your run right away. This will move you to the next level. We were often frustrated for a while because we were stuck trying to get that elusive rock bounce + grind challenge, which we’d managed comfortably a few times before reaching the level where it became one of the goals. The high scores will come towards the latter stages of the game’s 60 levels, so worry about distance later.

2. Grinds are the best Alto’s Adventure tricks
In the game you get a measly 10 points for a backflip, so if you are looking for a high score, backflips aren’t going to help much. Your biggest trick combos will involve a lot of grinds. You can grind over ropes (bunting grind) or roofs, for which you earn 5 points for every two metres you grind. If you manage a long grind, you get a bonus, which can really propel your score.

altos_adventure_grind_website_sc.jpg3. Upgrade the coin magnet first
Alto’s Adventure has a few different powerups such as the coin magnet and a hover board. The coin magnet lets you collect coins near you, even if you don’t pass through them. You will need coins to upgrade your powerups – such as to make the magnet’s power last longer. We suggest that you upgrade it to maximum first so you can collect more coins per run and upgrade other items.

4. After the coin magnet, save up for the wingsuit
The next item on your purchase list should be the Wingsuit. This lets you glide over the snowy landscape of Alto’s Adventure. Yes, you will be flying for a short while once you enable the Wingsuit. The more tricks you perform, the longer your character’s scarf is. When it’s at its longest, the Wingsuit button will appear on screen. You can use this to get out of a tricky elder chase or to chain your tricks.

5. Chain your tricks
In Alto’s Adventure, each trick in a combo bumps up the multiplier by one count. If you manage to finish off a long grind with an insane triple backflip and adding a Wingsuit flight right at the end, you are looking at a 10,000-point combo. Each of those tricks individually don’t result in many points, but combine them and you have a massive score.

6. Maya is the best
We aren’t going to spoil the game for you by revealing each of the characters and their special powers, but until you can reach level 51, Maya (level 11) is going to be the best character for most challenges. She finds it hard to pick up speed, but is really fast at backflips. We tried all other characters until level 51 and found that Maya’s fast flips make a big difference. After level 51, you’ll unlock the best Alto’s Adventure character. We won’t reveal the name or the character’s powers. Play the game and find out for yourself.

altos_adventure_dawn_website_sc.jpg7. Landing tricks makes you temporarily invincible
After you land a trick, you gain a temporary speed boost, indicated by a kind of a shield appearing in front of your snowboarder. This is when you can smash rocks in your path and put some distance between you and the elders chasing you. There are ice patches that will give you a similar speed boost, but landing tricks (even simple backflips) is the best way to get a boost. When you have a speed boost, you can’t crash unless you fall into a chasm.

8. Chasms don’t appear without a warning
Alto’s Adventure adds a bit of a challenge via chasms. Falling into one means it’s game over, but these don’t appear without a warning. Look out for warning signs, such as wooden boards with an exclamation mark on them in the background. Maya, being one of the slowest snowboarders in the game, requires a speed boost to get through most chasms. So try and land a trick before a chasm. You’ll usually find a grinding rope before the chasm arrives, which makes things easier.

Some chasms involve a drop to a lower mountain, so you will reach the other side without jumping. However there are others that involve a 20-metre ascent to reach the other side. Jumping just before reaching the tip of the ramp gives you the required elevation in these cases. If you’re having trouble clearing a chasm, you can use the Wingsuit to bail you out.

altos_adventure_night_website_sc.jpg9. Hoverboard’s not that bad
Most Alto’s Adventure players we’ve spoken to don’t like the hoverboard powerup much. It can distract you a bit when you’re on a roll. Apart from protecting you from rocks in your path, the hoverboard also protects you when you’re trying to land that elusive triple backflip. When you have the powerup, you get much more hang time on jumps, and are thus less likely to crash. It is particularly useful during longer runs, particularly after the 20-km mark where the landscape is strewn with rocks.

10. Rock bounce is an unlikely saviour
If you jump or flip and then land on a rock, your character will bounce back up. This often boils down to luck as it is not easy to control where you land. You should use rock bounces to squeeze in a backflip or two, as it could be the difference between a high-scoring trick combo and a record-breaking one. It’s also the only way we’ve managed to land a quadruple backflip (triple backflip + rock bounce + backflip again – the second backflip becomes a quadruple backflip). You might not know that it could also save you from crashing. If you land headfirst or sideways on a rock while attempting that outrageous backflip, you bounce back up.

These tips should help you get through some of Alto’s Adventure’s basic challenges. Landing some of the tricks might take a while, so be patient. It took us nearly a month to finish all of the game’s 60 levels, which means that there is a lot of replay value in this game. Having trouble with anything else in the game? Want to share your high score? Post a comment or tweet at the author via the link below.

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Tags: Altos Adventure, Android, App Store, Apple, Games, Gaming, Google, Google Play, iOS, iPad, iPhone,Mobile Games
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