November 11, 2013

Check out what’s in the IBM EMM (Unica) v9.1 release

IBM EMM (Unica) v9.1 recently came out and there are some cool new features, but there are also some unfulfilled promises.

I’ll start with the good stuff. 

Tech

IBM continues to put its development strength behind IBM Interact, the real-time marketing module.  They are enhancing their event detection capabilities by adding more sophisticated event pattern recognition and giving it a user friendly GUI in which to code the rules.  This includes things like allowing for time boundaries (fixed or rolling) and factoring of past offer dispositions into the equation of deciding what offers to serve up in real-time.  The thinking is that by adding more timely and relevant data points in to the marketing, it will yield higher conversion rates and, subsequently, measurable results.

In an unanticipated, yet not shocking, move, IBM has begun merging the Detect module into IBM Interact as an optional add-on.  They are calling it IBM Opportunity Detection for Interact.  While it’s not a full assimilation of the sister tool in this v9.1 release, the writing is on the wall; it won’t be too much longer before IBM Detect will cease to be its own product.

The other area IBM seems to be heavily invested in is the ramping up and further integration of their email messaging offering, IBM eMessage.  Now the creation of Offers in eMessage is based on product assets like: pictures, footers, copy blocks, etc. and then reconciled into the Unica’s centralized Offer library.  As a result, this added level of unison continues to streamline the overall experience, better aligning the metadata, including contact history for analytics.

Within IBM Marketing Operations they’ve done more to think like a Marketer.  They allowed for task approvals to occur within a dashboard portlet – eliminating the drudgery of going in to each project individually.  Additionally, they finally addressed how a single Unica instance can be used by employees from around the world.  With that in mind we should now be able to have workflows that factor people located in other time zones (eliminating the workarounds that I know exist – because I helped build some).

There are a few other enhances that are a part of v9.1. Although I have chosen not to call them out in great detail due to their limited impact:

  • When deleting an Offer folder in IBM Campaign you should be prompted to make sure this is the correct action.
  • IBM Contact Optimization has added the channel of ‘agent’ where thresholds and such can be set to more intelligently serve the Sales group.
  • The introduction of SPSS Modeler Advantage (Marketing Edition).  Think an OEM’ed version of SPSS lite.  It will be an add-on and marks the beginning of the end for IBM PredictiveInsight.

There is a lot to be excited about (and trust me, I am) with this new version, including the innate stability that comes after a ‘.0’ release – i.e. v9.1.  However, I’m still a bit disappointed in this post Active-X world.  Not only are users still limited in which internet browsers they can use (only IE and Safari), after some use of the v9 series suite I’m not seeing the leap in user experience that was promised/hyped. For instance, I find the pop-up feature if IBM Campaign flowchart editing to be a step backwards in convenience.

All in all, we foresee a lot of the v9.0 holdouts embracing v9.1, especially those organizations that are looking to bring more sophistication in to their marketing initiatives in the coming year.

If you have specific questions on working in IBM Campaign, we may answer them in Our Videos, so be sure to check them out.