Microsoft On the Evolution of Digital Experience
After having interviewed many industry experts, with many more to come, I'm always inspired by the excitement they share over the emerging capabilities in the digital business world and the pride they have in the advancements they have seen go from far-fetched ideas, to capabilities we now can’t imagine living without.
At Episerver Ascend 2017, I enjoyed that so much when I got to sit down with Nir Mashkowski, Partner Director Program Management – Azure App Service and Azure Functions at Microsoft, shortly before he jetted back to Microsoft campus, aka, their corporate headquarters in Redmond, Washington. As mentioned in the video, Nir’s team delivers the Azure technology the Episerver Digital Experience Cloud is run on.
Having worked with the web since 1998, Nir has seen the entire evolution of the digital experience happen before his eyes, remembering when the only digital interaction with customers was simply through a desktop application, then with the advent of mobile devices, digital transformation started to crawl and now, it is in a full sprint as organizations can utilize the multitude of intricate and intelligent ways they can access and understand their customers.
The Cortana intelligence suite of course, was a popular topic of conversation at the event. Justin Anovick, VP of Product at Episerver, touched on it in his interview with us, explaining that one of the hiccups in everyone really utilizing the capabilities of artificial intelligence and machine learning was finding those specific use cases, and understanding it from both a technology and business perspective:
“Certainly personalization for product recommendations is very well known, people use that, understand it, any increase in conversions is great, you can easily measure that and so now it’s how do you apply some of those technologies to other use cases and we really do believe it’s the business understanding and the value to relate those use cases to the technology. So [organizations] may have the technology, we meet with the developers, and the partners and talk about it from a different angle from how the business would understand it, so it goes over their head, and they do usually park that technology until there is a good use case for instance and from a vendor perspective, we definitely believe it’s up to us to help productize those [technologies], or more importantly come up with those use cases, at least to give a pattern to say this is what you can do with our technology”
Another element of this advanced state of digital transformation Nir touched upon is the much richer and more robust universe of knowledge we have, thanks to interactive devices and IoT. In her article Internet of Things Forecasts & Best Practices, Venus references a great example of IoT and big data working together in Barcelona, a city using a big-data system on Microsoft Azure to understand and utilize information gleaned from a multitude of data points. This offers a better experience when it comes to city events, transportation and tourism. "Smart" cities like this are only going to increase in number, and while they seem scarily sci-fi to some, that kind of cohesion can result in positive changes and a more seamless livability when IoT and interactive device technology is effectively, and more importantly, ethically utilized.
Having Nir's insight on what has been achieved through his tenure in the digital business world is one thing, but to also hear his take on whats currently of value and achieveable through the use of Cortana and Episerver's Digital Experience Cloud is key. As well, Episerver's transparency, highlighted by Justin, in understanding what inhibits total platform adoption and how they are making an effort to remedy that, is a thought process definitely worth highlighting. As always, we are keen to follow along with the joint innovation resulting from the long-standing partnership between Microsoft and Episerver, and will bring you all the breaking news as it happens in months to come.