First Look – Pitney Bowes Software update

March 6, 2013

in Analytics, Data Mining, Decision Management, Product News

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UPDATE: I wrote this review back in March but as part of the series on Marketing Decision Management I am writing about products such as the Portrait Suite so I have added it into the series.

I got briefed by the Portrait folks back when they first became part of Pitney Bowes Software but it has been a while and I recently got an update. Pitney Bowes Software is actually a top 100 software company with 1,600 employees with 10,000 customers, focused on enabling lifetime customer relationships. The software portfolio covers location data services (like the old MapInfo product) as well as customer communication management. Customers include companies in financial services, telecommunications and insurance (industries with intense customer relationships) with retail, public sector and healthcare all growing areas. Customers are increasingly worldwide with an increasing number buying multiple elements of the Pitney Bowes portfolio and a significant recent investment focus has been the globalization of the software portfolio.

The core product is the Pitney Bowes Portrait Suite. This aims to deliver a single version of the truth that allows companies to understand, predict and influence customer behavior. This customer insight allows for best practice orchestration of the customer lifecycle and connected communication across all channels, including things like direct mail and operational transactions like statements. Their core focus is on unifying customer communications, building on Pitney Bowes’ traditional strength in mail-based communications for statements and other service related items to bring together marketing and service, inbound and outbound, physical and digital.

Pitney Bowe likes to talk about optimizing the customer journey from acquire to convert, serve, grow, retain and reconnect after loss. Improving this journey means showing customers that they are heard, avoiding stupid inconsistencies, leveraging all your available data and doing so across channels and over time. Making sure that every customer interaction moves the conversation forward.  These customer interactions might cover email, Twitter, web, call center, surveys and print with every customer conversation or dialogue bouncing back and forth between channels.

The Portrait Suite is a single integrated set of capabilities for analytics and real-time decisioning that has evolved from the Portrait acquisition:

  • Portrait Dialogue
    Campaign management capabilities for two-way customer communication including social elements. Focused on the marketer as user and on proactive communication.
  • Portrait Interaction Optimizer
    Real-time decisioning and scoring for (primarily) inbound and reactive communication.
  • Portrait Explorer
    Focused on marketers to help them do segmentation and understand their customer base using a digital photo album or baseball card analogy that allows marketers to work with exemplar customers.
  • Portrait Miner
    Core predictive analytics product aimed at an analytic professional or data scientist with support for exploration, data enhancement, visualization, model building and management. Automation is pervasive but focused on improving throughput and model management.
  • Portrait Uplift
    A set of algorithmic approaches focused on uplift modeling – targeting those who are persuadable while avoiding those who would buy anyway, will never buy or will “buy” if left alone. My friend Eric Siegel wrote a paper for Pitney Bowes on this topic. This is available as a managed service too.

The suite supports an analytics maturity model as customers move from using Explorer to understand their customers, to Miner to determine ideal segments and create predictions to Uplift for advanced uplift modeling. These models can then drive real time scoring and decisoning in the Dialogue and Interaction Optimizer products. The suite includes data quality and master data management capabilities as well as the ability to integrate location data such as that provided by Pitney Bowes’ MapInfo services.

Future plans involve packaging up mobile/location-aware analytics, integrating with Microsoft Dynamics for the mid-tier, using uplift modeling in campaigns in a “lights out” way and default integrations with their document composition and delivery product EngageOne (specifically around transpromotional campaigns, embedding targeted ads in statements).

You can get more information on Pitney Bowes Software and the Portrait Suite here and they will be one of the vendors in the next version of our Decision Management Systems Platform Technology Report.

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