'Customer--Engagement' software is a goldmine for CIOs: Stewart Bloom,Aspect

Yogesh Gupta

Steward Bloom, Aspect

Aspect has gone quite aggressive on its market strategy in India since 2013. We believe India is at tipping point which makes it an intersting time for us to invest here, said Stewart Bloom, CEO, Aspect.

Bloom is in charge of reinventing the customer experience via the convergence of information and technology that drives Aspect's corporate purpose of building customer-company relationships. There is a great need for today's organisations to invest in an effective and robust customer-engagement solution, he said.

Contact centres with the advent of mobile, social media and cloud appear an expensive and complex task for CIOs than say five years ago?
While building a high rise tower, the success comes in the architecture more so than in the construction. Many IT organisations we serve today are struggling with rationalising their technology decisions in the past. To help mitigate that fact, we invested heavily to improve TCO of our products. We also invested — years ago — in open standards that made our architecture attractive to IT buyers and also imparted a competitive edge.

Another big bet was building competency on Microsoft and integrate our platforms into Microsoft Business infrastructure. There are two kinds of customers — all Microsoft or 50% Microsoft and hence the topic becomes relevant in the contact centre with a single view of customer interaction through our integrated solutions.

How important are CFOs during buying of enterprise IT across organisations?
There have been few shifts on CIO landscape. More often than not CIOs come from business not necessarily technology background. They have tremendous pressure to rationalise that IT spend. Our value proposition as an expert of managed services is reducing the complexity faster and at lower cost to help focus on their core business. Thirdly, there is downward pressure varies by the industry. For instance all that fee based income has been regulated away so banks have less revenues and higher costs. They take the costs to the back office wherein our back office optimisation product resonates very well. Customer acquisition hence becomes more expensive as they need to hang on lifetime value for the existing customers. All the pressure on the architecture, standards, compliance comes as part of the equation on the buying decision for customer engagement strategy.

Many companies just aim very narrowly at CIOs. We make it a point to build those relationships across the various line of business and get that sponsorship much higher up in the organisation. We have a disciple internally called value based engineering to build an assumption model that looks at every micro lever of business benefits and cost reduction opportunities with our solution sets for the customers. This model with the industry benchmarks do rest on CFO table for few weeks as it improves the likelihood of selling more solutions at a high level of accuracy. A strong relation is thus developed as they know our focus on their business outcome than just pushing technology.

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