Industrial Organisations Fail to Engage Customers Effectively and are Reliant on Legacy Technologies

News Facts:

  • C-Suite leaders of Industrial organisations admit that they are behind the curve in comparison to other sectors in the race to achieve customer identity profiles, despite the opportunities afforded by today’s digital technologies

  • Leaders agree that capturing, analysing and using customer data would result in significant improvements to their organisations’ efforts towards personalisation and understanding the customer

  • Digital market entrants have changed the manner in which customers interact with industrial companies, such as those in automotive

  • Multi-channel strategies have siloed organisations creating a flux in shared customer data that exists in ERP* and BI** systems

London, U.K., 20th September 2016 – Amido, a vendor-agnostic technical consultancy specialising in assembling and integrating proven cloud technologies to improve customer data and identity management, has identified that the Industry and Automotive sector is struggling to keep up with changing customer behaviour in an increasingly digital and omni-channel world. Behind the times in personalisation and with customer identity management still in its infancy within the sector, Amido’s report has highlighted the fundamental flaws in industrial organisations’ utilisation of customer data.

The automotive sector is going through a period of serious upheaval – car rental services are being hit by smartphone apps which are killing the hire counter and forcing the industry to enter the multi-channel economy, like retailers, media and financial services organisations. It is evident that digital market entrants and the Internet of Things (IoT) have changed the manner in which customers interact with the automotive industry as customers expect a more joined-up, cohesive approach to services.

Competition is not just from within the sector, the digitisation of services and online user experiences set by successful multi-channel business models from retailers like John Lewis are having a ripple affect across all six sectors Amido reviewed. To one interviewee, this concern underpins everything: ‘One thing I have been trying to promote is that people want a personal response and if you don’t do that, people will go to the competition. John Lewis has worked out what interests you and contact you related to your preferences,’ said Mike McMinn, Group IT Director with Marston’s, a British brewery, pub operator and FTSE 250 listed company.

With customer expectations set and the demand for a variety of options to be available to them, sectors such as the automotive industry have started to reshuffle strategies for rentals to be available hourly and daily as well as weekly, with a seamless mobile booking system. However, as Gemma LaMarquer, Senior Head of Acquisition, Loyalty and Retention EMEA at Avis Budget Group adds, whilst mobile dominates, customers still want multi-channel access including physical car rental desks, online services and call centres.

Business technology leaders interviewed believe that in order to stay ahead of the curve, they need to increase contact with the customer and understanding this will have a significant impact on their organisations. Industrial organisations have already begun to get closer to their end customers through existing supply chains and direct opportunities offered by today’s digital technology. Nick Burton, Head of Digital and Innovation at Belron, the world’s leading vehicle glass repair and replacement group, recognises this need and has been trying to establish a shift in attitude at his company: ‘We have been trying to change and get people to think differently about [services and] data.’ Burton also stated that they are looking at the whole omni-channel space as 30 per cent of their appointments are booked online meaning he has a significant amount of customer data available, which will be utilised to create more personalised experiences – and therefore increasing profitability.

Burton is one of the few who has begun to harness digitalisation to stay ahead of the curve by understanding what the end user’s want. Companies that rely on supply chain contracts, such as Marston’s, ‘only capture customer data from those that register with us online’ such as landlords, retailers and pub chain owners, adds McMinn. Ferenc Vezer, Group CIO at 2 Sisters Food Group, one of the UKs biggest food companies most famous for Fox’s Biscuits, comments: ‘Our customers are the retailers, we don’t deal with the consumer directly,’ which illustrates the mind-set of this sector as they fail to realise the value in capturing and analysing enough information about all end users.

Many still feel there is a genuine challenge in keeping data up to date, a feeling shared by those in the utilities sector. This is a particular concern with manufacturing as the industry has very little identity management as a whole, despite mining a considerable amount of data owing to machine-to-machine (M2M) technologies and the growth of the IoT. This results in the industry effectively storing a lot of unusable information, especially when the data it collates should empower them to be leaders in the sector.

For example, the evolving digital landscape means that data can be collected more efficiently than ever before. Information collected from a social media log-in can provide insight into how to engage customers with the brand and can be utilised to provide a better customer experience. Despite the availability of such applications, this report has consistently found that most of the six verticals interviewed haven’t adopted the right technologies in using these systems effectively. For manufacturing, a sector riddled with stiff competition – brand awareness and a strong customer relationship is fundamental for growth and customer retention – which is why insight and analysis of customer data is necessary.

Instead of taking advantage of current digital opportunities, the sector relies heavily on ERP and BI technology to hold the core of the organisation’s information. Couple this with the growing concern regarding data ownership has resulted in data being siloed and used ineffectually across the industry. Burton adds: ‘We are trying to create a clear ownership of the customer data [but] ownership is not clear in every country.’ This appears to be a recurring theme for all those interviewed within the sector.

This isn’t to say that there hasn’t been some move by technology leaders within the industry to embrace the new digital opportunities. Indeed, all those interviewed stressed their uses of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools and other cloud services, such as McMinn: ‘CRM is our first large scale cloud implementation – we are taking that data and adding in our complaints data…we are relatively confident that if we receive a complaint, it will trigger a workflow to resolve it.’

However, as Alan Walsh, CEO at Amido, stresses, no one product is the answer and CRM alone is not the solution to all customer data concerns: ‘A joined up identity strategy reduces spam and personalisation excellence comes when you use insight gained from multiple data sources (social profiles, email marketing, order or browsing history, customer services, transactional history, cookies, online journey etc.) to offer up products and services that customers want, when they want them and in the right channel. You can then apply machine learning to predict future behaviour and pre-empt what customers want before they know they want it. One technology product cannot do all this – it needs a combination.’

Going forward, automotive and manufacturing are at least trying to move closer to their customers, as Mike McMinn says of the industry’s effort: ‘We are only just starting to try to understand our customer’s better [but] as habits change, that is going to be huge.’

*Enterprise Resource Planning
**Business Intelligence


Join us at the Soho Hotel on Thursday October 6th 2016 where our customers and report participants will be providing insight into how, by utilising customer data and technology more effectively, they have achieved a more personalised experience and as a result, enabled consistent revenue growth by increasing customer engagement.

Guest speakers include: Bob Strudwick (CTO, ASOS), Ian Cohen (Ex- CIO of JLT and now adviser) and Mark Chillingworth (report author, creator of the CIO top 100 and ex-editor of CIO UK). For more information and to request a place please visit

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About the Report

Amido commissioned a piece of research into senior IT and marketing decision makers across six vertical markets (retail, media, financial services, utilities, logistics, industry and automotive) to uncover how they are utilising the ever-increasing amounts of customer data to identify their customers and personalise customer experience. The report reveals:

  • Which sectors are leading the way in achieving a single customer view
  • How well senior decision makers think they know their customer
  • How customer data is being used to enhance long-term brand engagement
  • What are IT doing to solve the increasing problem of multiple customer data sources
  • Whether multichannel strategies have created or broken down barriers between IT and marketing

Companies that participated:
Retail – Virgin Holidays, Everest Home Improvement, N Brown, Shell Retail
Financial Services – LV= Direct, NFU Mutual, Prudential UK, Brightside Insurance
Industry and Automotive – Belron, Marston’s, 2 Sister’s Food Group
Logistics – Metapack, DX
Media – Clifton Media Lab, Haymarket Media Group, LoopMe, Daily Mail group, Global Radio
Utilities – First Utility, Northumbrian Water, Aggregate Industries

About Amido

Amido is a technical consultancy specialising in assembling and integrating proven cloud technologies to improve customer data and identity management. We work with brands like ASOS, CBRE and Channel 5 to remove friction from their customers’ online and mobile experiences to drive revenue and engagement. From social sign-in to smart content delivery and smooth transactions, we help brands build loyalty through customer recognition by bridging systems in a powerful and unique way, yielding real-time results for brands and their customers. Our passion is finding the right strategic mix of technology to give your company a competitive edge and your customers the best experience possible. For more information, please see

Amido Ltd is a company registered in England and Wales. Registered number: 7203090.
Registered office: 108 Weston Street, London, SE1 3QB