By Viswanath Srikanth
The explosion of big data has changed the way we do business, and this is particularly true for online commerce. With 2.4 billion Internet users worldwide, millions of transactions are taking place on a daily basis, resulting in a wealth of data about consumers and their desires. Thanks to advanced digital analytics and marketing technologies, businesses have the ability to analyze and capture this data to create personalized online experiences for their customers.
But gaining actionable insights from those users is not an easy task. Businesses rely on a wide variety of marketing and analytics technology from a large number of vendors to make personalization come to life. However, until now, there has been no standardized way to collect data about the interactions with customers across multiple technology platforms.
To make personalized marketing easier, IBM spearheaded an industry-wide effort to solve this big data problem. Today, a group of more than 20 companies announced that they’re developing the Customer Experience Digital Data standard. Through a standardized approach of collecting and managing data, this standard removes the barrier to innovation –giving businesses the ability to rapidly adopt new digital marketing tools and services. This makes it easier for new digital vendors to succeed and spurs innovation for the industry as a whole.
This initiative began last year when IBM led the formation of a group with the goal of creating a standard format for capturing and reporting interactions. With our long history of developing and supporting open standards, we recognized that this was a classic situation where an industry-standard approach would help simplify the process and make it easier for retailers to deploy more services to improve the customer experience.
Over the past several months, this initiative has gained significant momentum, and many of the major web analytics, marketing technology companies and online retailers, from Adobe to Google to Best Buy, have climbed on board in support. The standard is expected to be formalized later this year when the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) releases final specifications for it. IBM submitted the original version of the standard to the W3C in September last year and continues to chair the W3C community group today.
With this new data format layer, digital marketers will be able to more easily deploy new digital services and quickly integrate them into their systems. It will also reduce the need for ongoing data maintenance and auditing, freeing resources for more valuable work such as diving into analytics to develop insights and actions that help retailers better connect with customers.
It’s always exciting when the industry can work together to create an open standard that makes business work more smoothly for tech vendors, their clients and end customers alike. We’ve worked closely with our partners and our competitors to make this a reality. We encourage others to join the W3C group to make the standard even more powerful so we can all continue to innovate and make the most of the big data revolution.