Liferay: a single view for enterprise data

Liferay, the enterprise software vendor, today announced the launch of the Liferay Digital Experience Platform to help companies manage the end-to-end customer experience.  The Hub put some questions to Liferay CEO Bryan Cheung about the new offering.

What kind of system existed before Liferay DXP? To what degree was information inaccessible or less than useful?

Generally, what we find is that most large companies (enterprises) have a LOT of existing systems. Things like Oracle ERPs, SAP, several content management systems, a number of document management systems, SharePoint, etc. And, on top of all that they’re now using a lot of MarTech providers, which are usually SaaS—Eloqua, Marketo, HubSpot, LeadLander, etc. And they likely have Salesforce and that constellation of offerings (Pardot, RainKing, etc.)

All of those systems are designed to make the company try to prefer that system over all the others. For example, Salesforce doesn’t want you to migrate your data away from them, and they want you to think of Salesforce as your “main” system. And even though, e.g., Eloqua, Marketo, and HubSpot all have Salesforce integrations and little modules that can sit in Salesforce, the amount and quality of customer intelligence you get from within their Salesforce module is limited. To get the full picture, you have to go into Marketo or HubSpot or Eloqua directly.

It totally make sense because that locks people into their products, but it can be really frustrating for the users. For example, typically a sales rep has things they want to see from Salesforce, some key information from their marketing automation system, and some other key information that’s stored in the company’s internal systems deep in the bowels of their technical infrastructure. There’s not a single place they can go to get all that data in a single place. More importantly, no one is looking at that data as a whole and analyzing it to better understand the customer.

So one of the problems Liferay DXP is solving–not only for sales reps, but for marketing and customer experience folks–is get all that data in a single view, parse it out and carve only the parts that are most relevant to you, so the company can make intelligent decisions based on the data from ALL of those systems, not just one or two.

There is an implied “two-way street” here. On the one hand, you seek to offer the user a unique and useful experience. But what type of data are you looking for from the user to build that utility profile? Is that limited to data you garner from the user experience or do you identify the user and build the profile using data from other sources as well?

Our goal is for Liferay DXP to be able to garner data from as many sources as a company can, whether those sources were built using Liferay DXP or not. For example, you could have bank ATMs running Windows 95, but you still want user data like transactions, and whether they pressed the wrong buttons or were curious about an offer at the ATM, to make it back into DXP’s Single Customer View. We even want to support websites and mobile apps built in competing CMSes.

Also, as a result of what we do in my first answer, we can also use data tied up in those enterprise systems we mentioned to round out the customer profile.

Do you use data based on what the user does not do? Like filling a shopping cart, but not checking out? Or not spending as much time on one web page as opposed to another?

Yes. In general, we designed Liferay DXP to be both a framework and a polished solution, meaning that there will be things it can analyze and measure out of the box, but also our customers can customize it to measure additional things that are important to them. So a retail company absolutely could measure cart abandonment, and B2B marketers could measure clickthroughs to landing pages that don’t result in conversions.

What kind of sales gain is Liferay DXP expected to produce? Is there a certain percentage of increased sales you are looking to score? How can a better user experience increase sales? Are there any particular techniques that make it more likely a prospect becomes a sale?

We do believe Liferay DXP will have an impact on sales, but part of the story we are telling the market is that focusing too much only on sales can be short-sighted. We believe consumers today are tired from being over-marketed. Brands will be most successful when they are sensitive to the customer’s sentiment before targeting them: it might not be the best time to market an upsell offer to someone when they haven’t even gotten their initial purchase working, for example. We want our customers to think more holistically about the customer relationship: sell when it’s genuinely the best thing for the customer, but otherwise be generally helpful, listen to their needs, and respond by giving them the right thing at the right moment. 

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