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Everyone has a story or two of an experience with a helpful sales rep or sadly, too often a poor one ending in frustration for both parties. As a marketing manager for a leading software company specializing in unified information access, I constantly receive calls and emails from quota-based representatives claiming to want to know more about my key business goals.
The reality is they just want to tell me about their product or service which they promise will dramatically improve results because they've seen similar improvements working with companies "just like mine." What they fail to appreciate is that I believe my company is unlike any other business out there today.
I know this because the professionals I work with have invested great time and effort in building something unprecedented in the information management space – joining structured data and unstructured information together to provide better insight and actionable intelligence. If sales reps aren't going to educate themselves on what's important to me or, at a minimum, be somewhat familiar with my company's strategic initiatives, then why on earth should I spend time familiarizing myself with them?
For B2B companies, the typical sales model is a frontal attack on prospects where there's an expectation that a swarm of rep activity will generate enough pipeline to meet quarterly/annual goals. No doubt sales managers will argue there is a range of important differences in how reps execute that will generate better collective activity, in turn driving more qualified opportunities and increased revenues in shorter periods of time. However, the activity itself – regardless of the underlying sales methodology – will always be flawed when reps lack critical information relevant to the customer. This point is reinforced every time a new rep or one I've been working with struggles to answer a question, provides a poor recommendation, or lacks real understanding of my business and core objectives.
Rather than adjust my expectations down to accept mediocrity, I'm encouraged that sales rep behavior and execution will dramatically improve as companies implement next-generation sales enablement solutions like the ones Attivio is delivering today. During a recent sales enablement webcast showcasing what's possible for financial services institutions, 64% of attendees agreed the next-generation client-facing desktop would be a key differentiator and critical for their ongoing success. For the nearly two-thirds of companies that move to incorporate these types of solutions ahead of the ones who don't, not only will they be rewarded with better than industry average growth at the cost of their lacking competitors, but customers will realize a higher level of service, evidenced in short term satisfaction and long term loyalty.
It's optimizing businesses' sales enablement function for:
It's providing customer sentiment, along with relevant data from all information sources, at the right time so reps have better insight and actionable intelligence for more effective client interactions. This is what's possible today. This is the solution sales managers will deploy to ensure their preferred sales methodology is executed to the highest degree possible. This is how sales reps will connect with new and existing clients, discussing unique business needs and the relevant products and services that address those needs.
As more businesses embrace the necessity of using the latest technology to create competitive advantage or risk falling behind those who do, both reps and customers will benefit from time spent interacting with one another.
The swarm of activity will evolve from a numbers game where people, titles and verticals are segmented with canned If-this-say-that responses into one of true one-on-one consultation and collaboration. Reps will execute at a higher level, build stronger forecasts, convert more opportunities and reduce wasted time chasing bad deals.
More customers will enjoy superior service and longer engagements with trusted advisors. And for the sales managers who love to tinker with their sales methodology for ever-increasing efficiency, they can take credit for enabling rep performance for maximum success, with the confidence that a lack of critical information didn't undermine execution.
Jack Cooney has been in sales and marketing throughout his career and joined Attivio as a Field Marketing Manager. Previously, Jack held sales positions which included direct and channel software sales at Oracle as well as National Sales Director for Engineering and Computer Science at Pearson Education where he was responsible for business development for online learning products and associated sales training. Along with his passion for sales and marketing, he also enjoys taking his family to car shows and racing events in his "slightly modified" Mustang.
Industry experts Julio Gomez and Jim Dickie highlight the evolution of sales enablement and unveil the next generation approach that will quickly become a requirement in today’s fiercely competitive landscape.
Watch this webcast and you will learn how leading financial institutions are leveraging technology to drive sales enablement and create competitive advantage. In addition, the co-presenters will answer the following questions:
My colleagues and I had the opportunity to represent Attivio at the recent Tableau 8 Roadshow as a partner vendor. Unlike some BI events I have experienced over a number of years, the Tableau 8 Roadshow attendees were very much user-based rather than IT-focused. Attendees were interested in finding out how participating vendors add value to Tableau and help solve business problems, as opposed to being fixated on various technical aspects.
This business solutions focus suited my colleagues and me quite well: while my colleagues and I are very well-versed in Attivio's unique capabilities as an "Analyze Everything" platform, we are heavily focused on how AIE solves specific business problems and helps organizations get the more out of next-generation data visualization tools than they ever imagined possible.
For example, while some vendors might have talked about their products in the abstract with a lot of techno-speak, we demonstrated an actual healthcare data viz, developed by our partner Hitachi Consulting, that uses Attivio's Active Intelligence Engine (AIE) as the information backend. The data viz also addresses a serious real-world problem: healthcare providers not getting paid for all services provided – an issue the attendees readily understood, even if they did not work within the healthcare industry.
One major cause of uncompensated care pertains to missing diagnosis codes, which determine what a healthcare provider is paid for, and how much. Our data viz demonstrates a solution to this issue, presenting existing diagnostic codes assigned by patient, plus missing diagnosis codes that also should have been assigned! How is this possible?
The answer is that Attivio AIE automatically integrates and JOINs together assigned patient diagnostic codes (from a database) together with such unstructured information sources as physician progress notes (free-flowing text) and more. This unified information is then made available for data viz tools with the same ease as accessing a simple database.
The end result: compelling visual evidence of all services provided for each patient beyond what would be visible working with databases alone. In other words, Attivio enables a truly complete business picture.
Just as data viz tools enable users to create highly impactful data pictures, Attivio AIE provides a whole new level of unified information: linking and correlating relevant structured data and unstructured content (emails, documents, case notes, social media... any text-based source) – with no data modeling in advance required.
The payoff of next-generation data visualization tools like Tableau, recently noted by BI consultant Chris Gerrard, applies equally to the payoff provided by Attivio AIE as a next-generation information backend: it's all about "the reduction in the barriers, the friction, between people and their data, just like digital photography removed the barriers between people and the pictures they take."
Attivio dramatically expands what can be "seen" and "pictured" using data viz tools. It's the difference between taking an excellent "data picture" of a tree, and gaining the ability to take complete, vast "museum quality" data pictures that rival the iconic outdoor photography of Ansel Adams.
Just as data visualization tools like Tableau have ushered in a revolution on the BI frontend, Attivio is leading a similar revolution on the information backend, freeing business users and IT professionals alike from the "barriers" that separate silos of enterprise data and content from combining together to enable a complete picture; a true 360-degree view of the business that enables a new level of insights for new business success.
That message seemed to resonate widely with the event attendees, and we welcome the opportunity to bring that new level of BI-driven business value to your organization and your next-gen data viz tool of choice.
Attivio White Paper
Today's business environment requires leaders and managers to "analyze everything"! They need new combinations of structured data (databases) and unstructured content (documents, email, social media, etc.). Traditional BI and IT systems can't keep up, but Attivio can.
This paper will brief you on Attivio's Active Intelligence Engine® (AIE©), an "Analyze Everything" platform for complete, agile BI, integrating and correlating all your data and content silos, with no advance data modeling required.
The release of Active Intelligence Engine® (AIE®) Version 3.5 introduces an important set of new functions. Besides introducing new modules like Ontologies; features such as index rollback, image thumbnailing, and document preview and many essential enhancements including SQL, we have improved built-in support for monitoring the performance and health of your AIE infrastructure.
Version 3.5 offers a new user experience for those responsible for administration of AIE, defining the steps they need to take in order to act upon the areas in need of prompt action and quick turnaround. Monitoring and diagnosing AIE now involves little more than checking a screen or two in the AIE Administrator Console.
The key new administration features in AIE 3.5 include:
Each view offers visual insights into what's happening in AIE at any given moment, simplifying system administration. As a result, the time to discover and resolve issues is shortened, and the user experience is improved.
A new System Health Banner, which appears on every screen in the Administrator Console, summarizes the holistic picture of AIE health for administrators. The banner complements the System Status view, which — as the default view in the console — breaks AIE's status down into individual areas: Node Health, Connector Status, Important Events, Index Status and System Performance.
This view allows administrators to easily connect the dots and essentially helps them answer the question "Is there a problem with my system right now that needs my attention?." They are able to consume larger sets of information quickly and target the parts that may be relevant without visiting respective detailed views in other parts of the Admin Console.
This Administrator Console presents you with unified answers rather than forcing you to sort through lengthy tables of numbers as we see in legacy management user interfaces. For instance, with the Connectors view, users can now see connectors that are not running as expected, scan the list of recent events in the adjacent Important Events view and start to compile a set of root causes behind any connector issues without ever leaving the System Status view. Events at a warning or fatal level can be investigated to quickly ascertain what specific AIE instances or connectors were affected and why. The Event Acknowledgement Dialog solves the dual purpose of providing all pertinent information on the event and letting the user mark the event as being seen and/or resolved.
Index Status not only describes a selected index's configuration, but also related statistics. Looking at this information, one can determine for instance, if the index size has doubled within a day, indicating a potential performance spike. The Performance view's graphical visualization of crucial metrics lets you pinpoint bottlenecks that may warrant immediate attention.
Consider a scenario where, as an administrator, you notice that the System Health Banner is reporting a warning event that occurred in the past 24 hours. You go over to the System Status view and find that an event occurred pointing to low disk space on a node. If unchecked, this might become a factor in creating search performance and node health related problems. You open the Event Details dialog and dig deeper into the event description to find more information about the node. At this point, you can make an informed decision on adding more disk space and taking additional measures.
On the new Performance Monitor view, we provide even deeper insight and flexibility by giving you more than 700 pre-built metrics to graph. By creating multiple graphs, grouping specific metrics together onto one graph and zooming and panning, while having system events superimposed on the timeline, you can chart out a more informed investigation. Unlike the System Status view, which is intended to push summarized, timely and relevant information to you, the Performance Monitor helps you understand specific aspects of the system.
For instance, let's say that users of an application using AIE reported issues with sluggish search functionality today around noon. One could quickly create a graph and add specific metrics like:
Looking at these metrics in parallel over a timeframe, one can zero in on the bottleneck that was causing search to be slow.
For our customers, these are game changing capabilities. As Fahim Siddiqui, Chief Product Officer, IntraLinks states, "AIE's event-driven system and performance management have set a new standard of excellence that means we are able to proactively identify and resolve issues. For us, Attivio's Active Intelligence Engine is not just a technology; it's a key piece of our overall commitment to providing the best possible experience for our customers."
As we move forward, we could not be more excited. We have some cool new features lined up that will showcase Attivio's innovative user centric approach, not only in managing AIE but also in effectively putting the power of unified information access to work in your organization.
KD Singh Arneja has been with Attivio as Principal Engineer for over 2 years. KD has over fifteen years of extensive experience in designing, architecting and implementing enterprise level applications in multiple domains. Before joining Attivio, he was at MRO Software (now IBM) where he was a Lead Engineer for user interface of the MAXIMO Enterprise Suite. Prior to IBM, KD helped various software vendors develop large-scale web applications in areas such as Marketing, CRM, Data Analytics, Reporting and BI. He is an early adopter of technologies related to User Interface and User Experience Design fields. KD holds an MSc in Information Technology from University of Liverpool (UK). KD is also a Certified Scrum Master and Scrum Professional and loves building UI intensive applications using agile methodologies. He is also an accomplished Table Tennis and Cricket player.
Attivio AIE enables organizations to rapidly acquire, integrate and correlate enterprise information - structured data and unstructured content alike - in ways other solutions simply cannot match.
AIE was built from the ground up as a unified information access platform with unmatched agility. By easily combining related data and content without being constrained by a static data model, AIE enables quick iteration and deployment of new solutions, for rapid time-to-value while reducing risk.