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Alternative Data: Why You Need it & Where to Start

Today’s most critical asset in helping companies make better strategic decisions? Data. And in order to be a successful data-driven company with a competitive edge, internal data just won’t cut it. Companies must incorporate alternative data sources into the mix in order to take advantage of data-based insights, identify microtrends before they become exponential, and to successfully make key strategic business decisions. A perfect example of an alternative data source to tap into? Insights generated by SAP Partner NWO.ai whose solution harnesses machine learning techniques and human metadata to identify global cultural shifts early and throughout the lifecycle of trends.

The biggest challenges facing the alternative data era

As the complexity of companies and their source systems are growing at a rapid pace, business leaders are facing extreme difficulty in effectively managing these expanding systems of data. The complicated and time-consuming onboarding of data is simply not an option for organizations that need to operate efficiently and with agility. Organizations need a seamless and simple solution for accessing and onboarding data, while simultaneously preparing their systems for the cloud.

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Offering Bespoke One-On-One Mentoring To Employees Helps Retain Workers

What keeps CEOs up at night is worrying about how to attract, recruit and retain workers. The job market is so challenging that Apple is awarding bonuses up to $180,000 to keep software engineers from being poached by rivals like Meta, Amazon and Google. Deskless people who work in warehouses, fulfillment centers, restaurants, bars and department stores are being offered sign-on bonuses, wage increases, flexible schedules and free college tuition.

Innovative startups are seeking out new creative ways to help businesses mentor, upskill, cross-train and help employees succeed, so that the odds will increase that people will stick around. GrowthSpace, an Israeli-based tech company, offers a clever way to help CEOs fight attrition by offering personalized learning and development programs (L&D), driven by an artificial intelligence data-driven platform.

The startup connects workers with an appropriate mentor. The employee will have one-on-one, personalized programs that match each employee’s challenge with the right expert, coach or mentor. In addition to specifically tailored advice and guidance, based on the employee’s needs, managers receive feedback simultaneously that measures progress to ensure the plan is efficient and effective.

The Road To Fix The Massive Truck Driver Shortage Is Paved With Data

Hidden in the furor about disrupted supply chains is how the experience of the drivers delivering all those goods directly impacts the customer experience. That’s where Wise Systems comes in, offering an AI-based delivery management platform that originated at the Media Lab at MIT, when three of the company’s co-founders responded to a professor’s challenge to find the best way to change one billion lives with data.

“The free flow of goods is the lifeblood of communities,” said Allison Parker, vice president of marketing at Wise Systems. “We decided to apply machine learning to real-time data that captures what’s happening on the ground so organizations can better plan and continuously improve every last mile route and delivery. Drivers have an intuitive, easier experience managing their schedule directly from their mobile devices, while fleet managers have up-to-the-minute plan tracking for resource allocation and utilization.”

Data intelligence drives seamless delivery experience

Fast forward to a post-pandemic world facing an 80,000 driver shortage in the US alone, and Wise Systems is leaving legacy “dispatch and routing” systems in the dust. Clients in the food and beverage industry, as well as courier companies, rely on Wise Systems to synthesize orders by product volume, location, and timeframes into delivery stops for truck fleets and other vehicles. Fleet managers, dispatchers, and drivers can make tweaks, factoring in their knowledge, including customer preferences. The system monitors traffic and weather conditions in real time, alerting dispatchers to potential risks that could jeopardize scheduled deliveries.

“Automating the routing process for the perfect, seamless experience requires intelligence up front, along with ongoing monitoring as each day unfolds,” said Parker. “Drivers appreciate having full visibility into all the data about every delivery stop, including the number of products they’re expected to deliver. All they need to do is swipe in and out when they arrive and leave. The system can also record proof of delivery. They can also leave notes for themselves or future drivers on our secure app, such as a passcode for a loading dock.”

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GrowthSpace Gains Rapid Momentum as Employers Seek to Retain Talent With Personalized Development

GrowthSpace, a global leader in personalized learning and development (L&D) programs, announced its ongoing market momentum, driven by strong demand for its data-driven platform.

During 2021, GrowthSpace has substantially increased its customer count and doubled revenue since its Series A funding round closed in May. GrowthSpace also added new customers, including Siemens, to its existing customer base, which includes GoFundMe, Monday.com, Check Point, Ernst & Young, Intel, Johnson & Johnson, and Nespresso.

GrowthSpace solves the toughest employee development and mentoring challenges through the world’s first AI-powered L&D platform for one-on-one, personalized programs that match each employee’s challenge with the right expert, coach or mentor. The comprehensive GrowthSpace solution integrates coaching, mentoring and training that is specifically tailored to employee needs, while incorporating manager feedback and simultaneously measuring progress toward business KPIs for more efficient and predictable results.

The rapid momentum of GrowthSpace’s platform aligns with today’s evolving workplace, which was dramatically reshaped by both the pandemic-driven migration to remote work and the “Great Resignation.”

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nwo.ai’s story with SAP Data Marketplace: Unlocking the Value of Your Data

If you have a business, you likely have a lot of data. It’s your one true source for insight to understand your customers, their needs, and what they want.

But data is more than just information, it’s an asset. There are many ways to unlock the value of data, but few providers can give you all these benefits at once. The possibilities are limitless with SAP Data Marketplace’s ability to bring all of your data together in one place for instant insights and seamless integration into applications like SAP Data Warehouse Cloud.

In this story, we introduce you to a use case enabled by NWO.ai, a data & analytics startup, that is among the first Data Providers to be listed on the Data Marketplace. You will also be able to understand the main benefits of SAP Data Marketplace for you as a Data Provider, why it’s so important, and what value it can bring to your company.

“We want to give our customers an opportunity and an easy way to get instant insights from various alternative data sources and merge them with their operational information. And we see Data Marketplace as part of Data Warehouse Cloud as a perfect environment for that, because majority of the SAP products are already connected there. It is as simple as clicking and collecting all the necessary data, both internal and external, in one place.”

-Miroslav DimitrovChief Operating Officer at NWO.ai

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Sampler enters grocery retail with UNFI deal

Sampler is launching a grocery retail offering by partnering with UNFI, North America’s largest grocery wholesale distributor.

Since the pandemic disrupted the retail environment over 18 months ago, brands have been left to find new and innovative ways to reach consumers outside ambient in-store sampling. Sampler’s digital product sampling platform allows brands to send physical product samples, typically in the form of a regular box of new products to the homes of digitally targeted consumers, bringing the in-store sampling experience right to their doorstep.

Now, major grocers, including those the U.S., will get the opportunity to add a sample to a consumer’s order through a pop-up that appears at the end of a pickup or delivery order, the Sampler experience pops up and asks if the purchaser wants a product sample, part of a shopper marketing program move into the digital space.

“Food is one of the hardest things to sample…and has always been a pretty big category for Sampler,” says Marie Chevrier, Sampler’s CEO and founder. “We’re looking to food entrepreneurs find new ways of distributing.”

The UNFI team up comes on the heels of May’s Sampler / Dentsu Canada partnership, granting one another more access to startups and established CPGs.

“Dentsu was our way of showing that large media companies understand the importance of what we call ‘digital product sampling’ or ‘incentive-based marketing,’” Chevrier says, adding that and UNFI is another big supporter of that message.

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Pulkit Jaiswal and Imogen Low from nwo.ai named to Forbes 30 Under 30 2022

Using machine learning and human metadata to identify global shifts early and throughout the trend lifecycle, nwo.ai enables corporations and governments to get insights on sectors ranging from consumer products to global war. Low, a Westpac Bank Trust Scholar, ran SAP’s Machine Learning efforts in APAC at age 17. Jaiswal, a drone pioneer and serial entrepreneur, developed geopolitical trading signals for hedge funds. The company has $3.5 million in seed funding.

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SAP Startup Spotlight: Wisy

SAP invests in a lot of promising startups, and it’s sometimes hard to keep track of all of them. E-3 Magazine has selected the most interesting companies to showcase in our SAP Startup Spotlight Series. In this article, we will take a look at Wisy.

Min Chen is the CEO of Wisy, a startup that solves a $1.9T problem in the CPG and retail industry by optimizing operations, reducing out-of-stocks and waste with artificial intelligence. She is an award-winning serial entrepreneur and software engineer with 20 years of experience. In this interview, Min Chen will explain what problem Wisy is trying to solve, what makes her company different, and what’s next for the startup.

E-3 Magazine: What problem is Wisy trying to solve?

Min Chen: Wisy is solving a problem that affects everybody who shops at a store. All of us have had the inconvenience of not finding the product we want to buy, and this problem causes a $1.9T annual loss in the consumer-packaged goods (CPG) industry due to stockouts and waste. While stockouts can happen for several reasons, one of the most common causes is the lack of actionable data at the point-of-sale for CPG and retailer personnel to take timely, correct actions and prevent the problem in the future. Stockouts lead to losses in sales and waste as products are not sold before their expiry date because they are not being restocked on shelves in a timely manner.

Why is this such a difficult problem to solve?

Chen: Imagine a dairy company with over 100 different products sold at thousands of stores or the dairy department in a grocery store with thousands of products to choose from. Keeping track of product rotation, inventory, planogram compliance, assortments, and pricing of every product and every store is a daunting task that is still done manually. Manual retail execution processes rely on the memory and eyeballing capabilities of employees. It is no surprise that error margins are high, data are inaccurate and not actionable. High personnel turnover adds more challenges as new employees take longer to execute the same tasks and could make more mistakes due to their unfamiliarity with the company’s myriad of products.

How is Wisy helping to solve this problem?

Chen: Wisy has developed an artificial-intelligence solution that works in any mobile device to empower field employees to quickly identify retail execution issues and perform corrective actions quickly and consistently. Instead of verifying out-of-stocks manually, employees just have to snap a picture of the shelf and Wisy will identify issues such as out-of-stocks, planogram compliance, unauthorized products, and pricing issues. Employees won’t have to rely on memorizing the hundreds of products and their right quantities for each store to identify issues. Wisy will do that for them in a matter of seconds. It is likely to increase efficiency by at least 25 percent and accuracy to 90 percent, leading to potential combined benefit of 3 to 10 percent of revenue.

Israeli startup EasySend raises $55.5m to help enterprises build, maintain digital customer journeys with its no-code platform

EasySend, a no-code digital customer journey platform announced a $50.5 million Series B funding round led by Oak HC/FT. Existing investors Vertex IL, Intel Capital, and Hanaco Venture also participated in the round. The company also secured $5 million in venture debt from Silicon Valley Bank.

The announcement follows a year of accelerated growth; the company expanded its US revenues by ten-fold as it supported digital transformation for insurance, banks, and credit unions such as Cincinnati Insurance, NJM Insurance Group, PSCU, Sompo, and Petplan. The funding will accelerate EasySend’s growth in the US and other geographic regions as well as support expansion into new verticals and product use cases.

Tal Daskal, Chief Executive Officer, EasySend: “COVID-19 led to a massive shift in the way people interact with businesses online. EasySend helps enterprises accelerate their five-year digital transformation plans in just three months, making it simple for them to offer exceptional online customer experiences. We are grateful for the support we’ve received from Oak HC/FT and our other investors and are excited to continue helping more businesses make the digital leap forward.”

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Jebbit Declared Data Platform Now Available on SAP® Store

Jebbit today announced that its Jebbit Declared Data Platform is now available on SAP® Store, the online marketplace for SAP and partner offerings. Jebbit’s platform integrates with SAP® Emarsys® Customer Engagement and SAP Customer Data Platform and delivers engaging and interactive experiences that collect first-party, declared data or zero-party data (ZPD) customer data that yields personalization through safe and transparent privacy practices.

This partnership platform addresses the urgent demand of brands needing to know their consumers and transform their digital experiences. With its availability on SAP Store, businesses that use SAP solutions can now use the Jebbit Declared Data Platform to create beautiful product match quizzes and many other forms of interactive engagement that improve lead capture, conversion, and help personalize every step of the customer journey, increasing sales and lifetime value. These quizzes can be deployed anywhere digitally, and offline via QR codes.

“Marketers using SAP solutions can now leverage the Jebbit Declared Data Platform to personalize all stages of the customer journey from engagement, education, and conversion and consistently beat benchmarks for onsite conversion rates and overall engagement rates,” said Tom Coburn, co-founder and CEO of Jebbit. “Now, more than ever, consumers are pushing for greater transparency and control over their data and demanding value is delivered in return.”

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Machine Learning Builds Customer Advocacy Beyond Black Friday Spike

Savvy CPG leaders this holiday season are firing up customer advocacy with an online referral marketing platform that rewards high-value shoppers and their trusted circles for growth long after Black Friday sales peak. Sure, there will always be one-off bargain hunters who disappear when the markdowns are over. But the experts behind Mention Me, a referral marketing platform, help brands understand who their best customer advocates are so they can treat them right.

“Encouraging your high-value customers to spread the word about your brand extends sales beyond the seasonal spike,” said Andy Cockburn, co-founder and CEO of Mention Me. “These are the customers who purchase the most over time, and they’re inviting friends and family who trust them. Thank you rewards incentivize everyone to buy again, increasing repeat customers, and growing the entire customer base.”

Shopping is easier with a little help from your friends

Instead of viewing referrals as a simple marketing tactic, Cockburn said that Mention Me’s customer-led strategy “cracks the referral code” to increase consumer advocacy and long-term growth.

“At the heart of the referral is a complex social interaction between friends. In a split second, the customer is asking will my friends value this product, and view me positively or negatively for sharing it?,” he said. “Our Referral Engineering approach applies data science to put the right message in front of the right customer at the right time. This helps companies turn existing relationships with customers into growth by extending their lifetime value. Rather than looking purely at how many purchases a customer has made, extended lifetime value, or ELTV, also looks at how many new customers they’ve introduced.”

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SundaySky Announces 400% Increase in Customer Growth

SundaySky, the leading platform for video creation, distribution and optimization, announced incredible momentum following the company’s latest product release in the second quarter of 2021. Retail, healthcare, banking, telecom, financial services and other industries gained new self-service capabilities to easily create and scale videos without the extra costs or time demands of traditional video production.

Salesforce’s 7th annual State of Marketing report states that “Video is the star channel of 2021,” and will be the top digital marketing tactic with 94% of the 8,200+ marketers surveyed using video or planning to use video in the future. In addition to video creation, brands face many new challenges ahead, including the daunting maintenance of keeping content up-to-date. Organizations of all sizes also want to personalize content more and more for individuals as data becomes accessible from their customer data platforms, customer relationship management systems and other databases.

Highlights from this most recent quarter include:

  • 42% more new platform customers signed than in any other quarter in the company’s history, a 400% increase compared to the previous year
  • New customers testimonials from Anthem, REDCON1, Verizon, Merkle and Select Blinds
  • New product enhancements for self-service include: new creative themes and flexible scene templates; audio mixing and synthetic voice libraries for custom narrations; expanded music, font and media libraries; and the ability to create greater content relevance at scale with scene skipping and audience messaging
  • New partnership with SAP unlocked video for Commerce Cloud customers

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SAP Startup Spotlight: NWO.ai

SAP invests in a lot of promising startups, and it’s sometimes hard to keep track of all of them. E-3 Magazine has selected the most interesting companies to showcase in our SAP Startup Spotlight Series. In this article, we will take a look at NWO.ai. In this interview, co-founder and co-CEO Pulkit Jaiswal talks about what NWO.ai has to offer, how it is connected to SAP, and what’s next for the startup.

E-3 Magazine: Why did you start NWO.ai?

Pulkit Jaiswal: Prior to beginning my journey with NWO.ai, I was an entrepreneur in the drone industry. During this time, I understood the power of providing actionable insights as-a-service to large enterprises, powered by data that was previously untapped. Shortly after that, I started building signals that predicted geopolitical volatility for trading purposes, recognizing how global relations and natural disasters could disrupt standard patterns. After achieving a profitable run, I realized the asymmetry in data that exists between hedge funds and large companies – hedge funds often know more about specific industries than companies within them. Essentially, NWO.ai was born out of the realization that I could provide corporations with the same level of access to data and reveal actionable insights.

How could your solution potentially help customers navigate the COVID-19 pandemic?

Jaiswal: As we speak, global supply chains are crumbling while the cost of raw materials for most consumer goods has skyrocketed, in part due to rising inflation and a parabolic adoption of e-commerce. Moreover, geopolitical instability has reached an all-time high, and living with uncertainty is the new normal for businesses today. COVID-19 has created a new social, political, and economic world order – one that is increasingly driven by cultural narratives and online discourse. In fact, the online narrative is single-handedly driving demand for certain consumer goods and creating completely new product categories at an exponential pace. NWO.ai’s natural language processing engine enables clients to surface the fears, motivations, and demand drivers underlying various signals, providing them with unprecedented access to the Why behind a narrative. Whether it’s figuring out which new product categories are about to break out or finding anomalous interest in demand for certain products, NWO.ai has successfully helped clients stay ahead of the curve, enabling proactive rather than reactive decision-making processes.

How are you connected to SAP?

Jaiswal: We are thrilled that NWO.ai has premiered as one of the first data providers to join the SAP data marketplace. This new feature, part of the SAP Data Warehouse Cloud, enables businesses and IT users to directly consume partner data offerings that are available on SAP Store. We also have former SAP executives at the helm of our company: our COO, Miroslav Dimitrov, directed the SAP.io Foundry in Berlin, and our CTO, Imogen Low, led machine learning efforts for SAP in Singapore.

How has SAP.io’s involvement impacted your journey?

Jaiswal: Besides our collaboration with SAP DWC, we are also lucky to have graduated from SAP.io’s Berlin Foundry Program. As part of the program, we had the chance to interact with and learn from various industry experts, stakeholders, and potential customers, which in turn helped us achieve a product-market fit.

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NWO.ai Partners with SAP to Support the Consumer Goods Industry

NWO.ai is offering its Consumer Intelligence solution on the data marketplace for SAP Data Warehouse Cloud, enabling the tracking of cultural and consumer behavior shifts globally.

The data marketplace is a new feature of the SAP Data Warehouse Cloud solution which enables businesses and IT users to directly consume partner data offerings that are available on SAP Store.

NWO.ai provides clients with a significant competitive advantage and helps them stay close to their customers, according to the vendor.

Specifically, consumer product companies can now leverage Consumer Intelligence from NWO.ai to:

  • Analyze and identify potential demand growth drivers
  • Track global cultural shifts by analyzing billions of data points in under 60 seconds
  • Understand consumer sentiment and the leading indicators behind it
  • Deep dive on microtrends associated with products and categories
  • Identify the influential voices and brands that drive the consumer narrative

As a partner in the SAP PartnerEdge program, NWO.ai is empowered to build, market, and sell software applications that supplement and build on SAP software and technology.

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AI-Driven Routing Company Wise Systems Raises $50 Million

Wise Systems – a leading AI-driven routing and dispatching platform provider – announced it has raised $50 million in Series C financing led by Tiger Global Management with participation from new and existing investors that include Section 32, Valo Ventures, Gradient Ventures, and Prologis Ventures.

Wise Systems’ real-time, automated system enables delivery and service operations with drivers worldwide across the last-mile industry. And the company will use the financing to further accelerate product development, market expansion across key geographies, and to address the increasing global demand for the company’s dispatching and routing solutions.

Known as a leader in AI technology for last-mile delivery operations, Wise Systems saw significant growth over the two past years, growing 300% year-over-year, experiencing increased demand for the company’s autonomous dispatch and routing technology across a number of markets. And today’s announcement comes on the heels of other significant developments for Wise Systems this year, including the availability of its platform in the SAP App Store and its launch in Japan. In July, Wise Systems announced a partnership with Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation (MFTBC), under the umbrella of Daimler Trucks Asia (DTA), to offer the company’s AI-driven routing and dispatch software to MFTBC customers in Japan. This partnership extends Wise Systems’ reach to the commercial vehicle industry in Japan, one of the busiest last-mile markets in the world.

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