Software Technology Highlights from the 2018 Pitney Bowes Software Analyst Summit

May 7, 2018 12:22:28 PM

Last month, Pitney Bowes held a Software Technology Analyst Summit in San Diego, California. With 25 analysts in attendance from around the world, including senior executives from Pitney Bowes, the software team reviewed the company’s progress over the last year and offered insights into the short-term strategic directions of its software division. The event highlighted the launch of location-driven data services, user experience (UX) improvements to the location intelligence portfolio, expanded data and analytics features in the Spectrum Technology Platform, and a streamlining of the EngageOne communication platform. Pitney Bowes also showcased the upcoming introduction of its first fast and adaptable chatbot platform, EngageOne Converse.

Bob Guidotti and the Knowledge Fabric

Bob Guidotti, Pitney Bowes’ EVP and President of Software, brings his years of enterprise software experience to apply a disciplined growth strategy for the company. During his two-year tenure, Pitney Bowes’ software division has trimmed costs, streamlined its portfolio, slowed revenue declines, and shifted its investments to growth areas—primarily around digital—while also launching additional services and products within existing focus areas. Guidotti’s team is leveraging Pitney Bowes’ decades of intellectual property (IP) around location intelligence, layering other vetted third-party data sets, and packaging it as a service to enterprises with location-critical use cases. To deliver the message to the market, Jeff Winter (VP of Marketing and Communications) announced a new campaign focused around Pitney Bowes’ Knowledge Fabric. Simply put, the company’s software solutions can weave physical and digital points of information to derive insights for connecting people, places, and things.

Innovation through Design

Roger Pilc, Pitney Bowes’ EVP and Chief Innovation Officer, is implementing a culture of product innovation via three pillars of design, data, and cloud enablement. Of the three innovation pillars, the company focused heavily on product design to improve the user interface (UI) and UX over the past year.

Unlocking the Future with the pbKey

Pitney Bowes’ approach to data revolves around the pbKey, a unique master data identifier. Essentially, it is a unique number to identify an addressable item (mostly physical locations to-date) where attributes or a set of data points can be added. While there are many use cases, a major insurer provided a real-world example.

Insurance companies must determine risk during the policy underwriting process to determine the rate for premiums or whether to issue a policy. This insurer’s previous generation platform relied upon USPS ZIP odes to determine the location with a degrading degree of accuracy moving from ZIP 12 down to ZIP 5 codes. In one example, this method resulted in under valuing a risk for brush fire in a neighborhood where three homeowners policies were activated, and homes were later lost due to fire. Using the new platform, powered by Pitney Bowes’ layered data services and the pbKey, the underwriter could have identified the proper risk level and adjusted premiums or rejected the application.

Automating Customer Experiences

Chris Hall, VP of Product Management for Pitney Bowes’ Customer Engagement Solutions (CES), took the stage to share progress on the company’s EngageOne Communication Suite as well as the upcoming release of EngageOne Converse—an automated, deterministic chatbot platform. The CES group continues to focus on the customer lifecycle but is also adding pieces for self-service and automation.

Converse is intended as a lightweight chatbot platform that can funnel customers with a specific need to an answer. Unlike other chatbots that rely on Artificial Intelligence and train the software to respond to incoming inputs (which can be expensive and time-consuming), Converse bots are created from a knowledge base of questions and answers in a decision tree structure. If users get stuck in the process, the bot can direct them to another channel, such as a call center attendant or an EngageOne Video experience. Converse is intended to provide cost savings to enterprises through self-service for narrowly defined tasks, such as bill retrieval.

A Partner Strategy in Motion

Mark Taylor, SVP of Software Channels, has been focused on resetting Pitney Bowes’ partner strategy since he joined the company almost two years ago. Instead of building a large channel partner program, Pitney Bowes is focused on finding the “right” channel partners where its technology aligns well with partners’ expertise and vertical market focus. As a result, the channel business has seen a four-fold increase over the past two years.

Jim Gallo of Information Control Corporation was impressed with how accessible Pitney Bowes was at multiple levels (sales to product development to management) to ensure a successful client engagement. The redesign compensation and delivery models allow Pitney and its partners to focus all efforts toward the client.

The Bottom Line

By streamlining its software portfolio, resetting the channel partner strategy, developing a deeper customer understanding, and tuning its pricing models, Pitney Bowes’ software division has shifted its investments to areas where it sees growth (e.g., data services) while also stabilizing software revenue levels. In many ways, the concept of the Knowledge Fabric is analogous to Pitney Bowes’ recent journey. The company has stitched together disparate parts, and in so doing has created a tighter and more flexible organization.