Long before the likes of Facebook and Flickr co-opted the color, the original Big Blue had established itself as a giant in a different era in tech. A perennial fixture of "most valuable brands" lists, IBM is pleased to announce that will be committing over $100 million to "globally expanding its consulting services capability to help clients with experience design and engagement." The Armonk, NY-based company is capitalizing on its strength in the Big Data with plans to open IBM Interactive Experience labs in Bangalore, Beijing, Groningen, London, Melbourne, Mexico City, New York, Sao Paulo, Shanghai and Tokyo.
In short, IBM is making a major foray data-driven service design, a nod to a broader definition of product as experience or interaction (a.k.a. the shift from physical to digital, hardware to software, etc.). Shannon Miller, a Global Strategy Leader at IBM Interactive Experience, shared more details on their vision for what the future holds both for IBM, its clients and the end user.
Core77: We've witnessed the rise of service design (i.e. experience design) as a discipline in its own right, what makes this a good time for IBM to make this major investment in this area?
Shannon Miller: We have seen growing client demand in the marketplace around experience design capabilities and the front office transformation—and this market only continues to grow as consumers continuously look for the next best experience. IBM is the only company that can bring research, creative and design skills together with data experts and a traditional consultancy to solve our clients' biggest problems. We see this demand globally and wanted to expand our reach to create centers around the world where we can collaborate and co-create with clients to develop innovative solutions.
To what degree is this data-centric approach to experience design an extension of the company's long history in the computer industry, and to what degree is a new frontier for IBM's strengths?
Technology is becoming ingrained into the DNA of every business and personal interaction, especially in today's customer-centric world, and IBM is helping clients understand their customers as individuals through the use of Big Data. While this certainly is an extension of IBM's 100-plus-year history and commitment to design, IBM researchers within IBM Interactive Experience invented unique algorithms that conduct the analysis for new capabilities—Intelligent Customer Profiles, Influence Analysis and Customer Identity Resolution. These join an existing portfolio of data-driven capabilities including Life Event Detection, Behavioral Pricing and Psycholinguistic Analytics.
IBM Interactive Experience is an industry first—a management consultancy and systems integration company combined with a digital agency powered by data and research. IBM Interactive Experience drives insights from data—including information on individual decisions, choices, preferences and attitudes—to transform the customer experience.
Can you briefly elaborate on specific projects or case studies you've developed?
IBM Interactive Experience helped Jaguar Land Rover transform the car buying experience with the Jaguar Land Rover Virtual Experience. Jaguar found that around 80% of consumers who test drive a Jaguar will buy a Jaguar. In order to extend its test driving experience beyond the dealership, Jaguar Land Rover worked with IBM Interactive Experience to develop the Jaguar Land Rover Virtual Experience, which is a digital application deployed on a PC-based system that allows customers to examine and change components of a virtual rendering of a car, using motion-detection technology. Customers are now able to engage and interact with almost life-size, high-resolution renderings of vehicles as well as take a 360 degree views of the exterior and interior, open doors, start the ignition and get detailed information on key features.
All data from the Virtual Experience is collected, which allows Jaguar Land Rover to get insight into which customization options—i.e. the color of the car, 2-door or 4-door, etc.—customers chose for the cars that they view in the Virtual Experience. All of this data can help Jaguar Land Rover with sales strategy and what they show in their physical dealerships.
What is IBM looking for when it comes to talent?
For IBM Interactive Experience, we're looking for talent that fits into the type of skills we're providing to our clients: creative and design, mobile, social, digital marketing, data and analytics experts as well as customer experience strategists.