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Exceeding customer expectations with seamless digital subscriptions

Informa Business Intelligence

Informa operates at the heart of the Knowledge and Information Economy. It is a leading business intelligence, academic publishing, knowledge and events business. With more than 7,500 employees globally, it has a presence in all major geographies, including North America, South America, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa and revenues of over £1bn.

Informa’s Business Intelligence division transforms customer engagement with CloudSense

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    Informa’s Business Intelligence (BI) division provides specialist data, intelligence and insight to businesses and professionals, helping them make better decisions, gain competitive advantage and enhance return on investment. Informa BI offers a portfolio of more than 100 digital subscription products, providing critical intelligence to niche communities within six core industry verticals.

    At the beginning of 2015, in order to improve customer engagement and make the transition from providing information and news, to intelligence and insight products and services, Informa BI undertook a growth acceleration plan centered around simplification and reorganizing the business around priority verticals.

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    Providing a personalized and integrated sales and digital delivery experience

    To deliver a friction-free, personalized and integrated sales and digital delivery experience across channels, Informa BI selected CloudSense’s Salesforce-native Platform to work in tandem with the Salesforce Sales Cloud and Salesforce Identity capability.

    We talked to Richard Peers, Informa BI’s Technology Platforms Director, to find out more about Informa BI’s business transformation. First covering the challenges the organization faced, before delving deeper into its revitalized digital landscape and how it has enabled Informa BI to achieve its business goals.

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    Customer experience undermined by legacy systems

    Prior to its transformation, Informa BI’s legacy technology stack undermined the business’ ability to provide the seamless experience today’s digital customers expect. The use of multiple legacy systems meant that business units were working across different platforms and using a variety processes. Richard Peers explained how the disconnect caused by these siloed systems was at the root of Informa BI’s issues:

    “Our data was poorly managed and reconciled across different legacy systems. We had more than 20 databases storing customer information that, taken in combination, had the potential to produce powerful customer profiles that we could use to deliver highly tailored marketing and personalized service delivery.”

    As well as limiting Informa BI’s ability to offer personalized sales and marketing, the incomplete data provided by its siloed systems meant Informa BI’s customer journey was disjointed. This impacted on the organization’s ability to onboard customers and control their access to content, undermining the customer experience in the process.

    It was clear that in order to scale the business in line with Informa BI’s ambitious growth plans, while becoming more efficient and agile, Informa needed to replace their systems with a single joined-up platform for every sales channel.

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    Making the most of Salesforce with CloudSense

    To transition to a single platform, Informa BI needed a single solution that provided Configure Price Quote, Sales and Subscription Order Management, Product Catalog, Entitlement and Self-Service capabilities, integrated together with a standards-based identity solution.

    CloudSense’s Salesforce-native Platform proved the right solution to extend Informa BI’s use of the Salesforce Sales Cloud and integrate their new capabilities with the existing Salesforce opportunity management and Identity solutions. Richard Peers explained how CloudSense enhanced Informa’s Salesforce capabilities, “CloudSense gives us the integrated platform capabilities we needed on top of Salesforce to deliver on our business objectives.”

    Richard continued, “CloudSense’s CPQ functionality enables us to model and configure our subscription products, including the specification of entitlements for customers. The Order Management generates entitle-able entities and the supporting subscription change processes, while CloudSense also provides the functionality to allow customers to self-manage their entitlements.”

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    A seamless, integrated 360-degree view of customers

    Through its single data model provided by CloudSense and Salesforce, Informa’s Business Intelligence division now has a seamless, integrated 360-degree view of customers that significantly improves its customer service, as well as driving Informa BI’s business insights by collating all forms of usage and buying data.

    Personalized sales and marketing

    The CloudSense Platform enables BI’s sales, pricing, product and business operations teams to rationalize their data and provide a single view of customers, including past purchases, renewals and content consumption.

    Informa BI’s increased knowledge about its customers, along with the agility of their platform, means it can deliver personalized, relevant messaging and content recommendations – ensuring a seamless, consistent customer experience across channels.

    Richard explained, “By having a single data model which covers our sales, buying data via accounts, contacts, opportunities, our sales order subscription data via subscriptions and services and our end user data via user identities and preferences we now have a seamless, integrated, single view of our customers which significantly improves customer service, as well as driving our own business insights through collating all forms of usage and buying data.”

    Friction-free content access

    The smooth customer journey continues uninterrupted with the automatic provision of friction-free subscription access to Informa BI’s customers through CloudSense and Salesforce Identity.

    Richard Peers reinforced the importance of Informa BI mastering its complex subscriptions, “The CloudSense Platform can handle the complexity of our digital subscription model and this has ensured we can now provide an experience that exceeds our customers’ expectations in a continually evolving industry.”

    Richard continued, “If a new customer signed a 6-figure plus contract with Informa, it used to then take us 48 hours to provision access for our customers to the digital services they had just signed for. Using CloudSense, we have now integrated our provisioning process with the sales process which automates access instantaneously for our customers. We have also provided self-service functionality to put power in their hands to self-manage.”

    The rationalization of Informa’s legacy digital estate has not only enabled Single Sign-On (SSO), but also ensured new services can to be brought to market faster and more efficiently.  Informa BI’s Technology Platforms Director said, “We can start selling and provisioning access to new products within 1 week, previously it took us several months to align all of our product and customer master data across multiple business functions and systems.”

    Tangible cost savings

    Along with delivering a joined-up, personalized customer experience, the project has also immediately delivered tangible outcomes. Informa have made considerable savings by decommissioning legacy solutions and the time savings the client services teams have already made.

    Sales are also rising, with optimized cross-selling and upselling, proactive client support and right-first-time fulfilment of products and invoices proving invaluable in driving more revenue.

    With improvements still to come, Richard Peers summed up the impact CloudSense has had on Informa BI’s growth acceleration program to date, “We are looking to achieve a total saving through decommissioning legacy solutions of £400k per year by the end of our program. And we will have enabled significant time savings in our client services teams to allow them to provide excellent service instead of being bogged down by constant data cleansing and administration activities.”

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“With CloudSense we now have a seamless, integrated single view of our customers which significantly improves customer service, as well as driving our own business insights through collating all forms of usage and buying data.”

Richard Peers, Informa BI’s Technology Platforms Director