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New open data initiative from Microsoft, Adobe & SAP

By Sean Mitchell
Tue 25 Sep 2018
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Today at Microsoft's annual Ignite conference in Orlando, Florida, three tech giants took to the stage to announce a strategic intiative. Together, the three longstanding partners are reimagining customer experience management (CXM) software segment.

A companies most valuable asset these days is often it's data. The three companies believe their new Open Data initiative is empowering organisations to derive more value from their data. Which in turn enables new digital service offerings and real-time customer experiences.

Silo'ed information and proprietary vendor lock-in seem like the target of the initiative.

At this stage the broad brush strokes have been fleshed our, with the three organisations promising more detail to come.

The problem is real and many businesses are struggle to attain a complete view of their customer interactions and operations, because they are unable to connect information trapped in internal silos. At the same time, important customer information also resides in external silos with intermediary services and third-party providers, limiting a company’s ability to create the right connections, garner intelligence and ultimately extract more value from its own data in real time to better serve customers.

Companies around the world use software and services from Adobe, Microsoft and SAP to run product development, operations, finances, marketing, sales, human resources and more.

The Open Data Initiative, has three guiding principles:

- Every organization owns and maintains complete, direct control of all their data. - Customers can enable AI-driven business processes to derive insights and intelligence from unified behavioral and operational data. - A broad partner ecosystem should be able to easily leverage an open and extensible data model to extend the solution.

Based on these principles, the core focus of the Open Data Initiative is to eliminate data silos and enable a single view of the customer, helping companies to better govern their data and support privacy and security initiatives. With the ability to better connect data across an organization, companies can more easily use AI and advanced analytics for real-time insights, “hydrate” business applications with critical data to make them more effective and deliver a new category of AI-powered services for customers.

“Adobe, Microsoft and SAP are partnering to reimagine the customer experience management category,” said Shantanu Narayen, CEO, Adobe. “Together we will give enterprises the ability to harness and action massive volumes of customer data to deliver personalized, real-time customer experiences at scale.”

“Together with Adobe and SAP we are taking a first, critical step to helping companies achieve a level of customer and business understanding that has never before been possible,” said Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft. “Organizations everywhere have a massive opportunity to build AI-powered digital feedback loops for predictive power, automated workflows and, ultimately, improved business outcomes.”

“Microsoft, Adobe and SAP understand the customer experience is no longer a sales management conversation,” said Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP. “CEOs are breaking down the silos of the status quo so they can get all people inside their companies focused on serving people outside their companies. With the Open Data Initiative, we will help businesses run with a true single view of the customer.”

To deliver on the Open Data Initiative, the three partners are enhancing interoperability and data exchange between their applications and platforms — Adobe Experience Cloud and Adobe Experience Platform, Microsoft Dynamics 365, SAP C/4HANA and S/4HANA — through a common data model. The data model will provide for the use of a common data lake service on Microsoft Azure. This unified data store will allow customers their choice of development tools and applications to build and deploy services.

With the Open Data Initiative, companies will be able to:

- Unlock and harmonize siloed data to create new value - Bi-directionally move transactional, operational, customer or IoT data to and from the common data lake based on their preference or needs - Create data-powered digital feedback loops for greater business impact, while also helping to enable their security and privacy compliance initiatives - Build and adopt intelligent applications that natively understand data, relationships and metadata spanning multiple services from Adobe, SAP, Microsoft and their partners - Technology leaders at top retail and consumer products companies, such as The Coca-Cola Company, Unilever and Walmart, have expressed support and excitement about the Open Data Initiative.

“This initiative from Adobe, Microsoft and SAP is an important and strategic development for the Coca-Cola System,” said Barry Simpson, chief information officer at the Coca-Cola Company. “Our digital growth plans centered around our customers are fueled by these platforms and open standards. A more unified approach to the management and control of our data strengthens our ability to support our growth agenda and our ability to satisfy security, privacy and GDPR-compliance requirements. The industry needs to follow these leaders.”

“Every day, 2.5 billion people use a Unilever product in over 190 countries around the world,” said Jane Moran, CIO, Unilever. “The Open Data Initiative from Adobe, Microsoft and SAP is an important undertaking that will help us reimagine customer experience management by bringing together data across our entire organization to build more direct, meaningful relationships with consumers in real time.”

“We’re excited about the Open Data Initiative and the value it will unlock for Walmart,” said Clay Johnson, executive vice president and enterprise chief information officer, Walmart Inc. “With greater ability to connect and harness the power of our data, we can enhance the associate experience and create entirely new ways to serve our customers online and in our stores.”

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