Engagis and Azure combine to create great global impression

First impressions are important. So are second, third and fourth; in fact in the digital age – every impression is an opportunity to establish a richer more satisfying engagement with a customer or potential client.

Leveraging technology to create and maintain customer engagement forms the heart of Engagis’ strategy. And it’s a strategy that has resonated for many household brands.

If you’ve ever searched for a mobile phone at Telstra, picked up a product at an Apple store, checked out the latest interest rates at a Westpac display, self-ordered a meal at a Noodle Box kiosk, learned a health tip from Amcal, browsed Sheridan’s newest range on a screen at Myer, or viewed homes on an LJ Hooker digital display, then you’ve sampled an Engagis solution

Leon Condon, Engagis’ CEO, explains; “Engagis is about digital engagement, particularly in the physical space and we’re aspiring to be recognised globally as a provider of digital experiences, delightful digital experiences even, that deliver real business outcomes.”

The Engagis platform is designed to attract, entertain, engage, transact with and reward consumers. While Engagis has 28 unique packaged solutions, these are uniquely customisable with 850 variants that can be configured to meet specific needs.

Intended to engage and inform consumers, and support them all the way to a sale and beyond, the platform also supports staff – improving service and driving customer retention and profits.

Total service

Engagis prides itself on end-to-end accountability; it consults with a client about its requirements, designs a service, manages any software development and hardware integration – then deploys and supports the solution. Depending on the situation it might leverage a digital display in a showroom revealing current deals; a digital menu board showing what’s fresh and available; a mobile app or kiosk might be rolled out; or interactive digital displays deployed allowing consumers to self-serve.

Condon describes the approach as “phygital”, blurring the boundaries between the physical environment and the digital world. It’s this approach that allows a printed poster in a showroom to be replaced by an interactive digital display that genuinely engages the customer, acting as a catalyst for retail staff and customers to strike up genuine and informed interactions.

Engagis’ Eze Suite is cloud based software designed to attract, entertain, engage, transact and reward consumers. Within the suite are five modules – Eze Impress, Eze Find, EzeOrda, EzeRewards and finally EzeComms – all deployed from the cloud.

“We went to the cloud a number of years ago and the benefits are obvious. We’ve increased the quality of the service, reduced the cost of providing the service, and we’ve collapsed the timing. I was with a major client yesterday and to convert their environment literally took 15 minutes and importantly it gives us the scalability,” says Condon.

Engagis has always relied on Microsoft products as the foundation for its solution and today uses the Azure cloud.  While headquartered in Sydney the company has international offices and clients, all of which benefit from Azure’s global reach, while local clients with data sovereignty concerns are well served by the local Melbourne and Sydney instances of Azure.

Access to the global cloud and its ability to scale cost effectively has delivered Engagis a significant competitive edge. Says Condon; “We’ve got the agility, the flexibility and responsiveness to innovate and customise, plus we have the strength and size and capacity to scale with clients as they roll these solutions out.”

Telstra flagship

One of the company’s marquee clients and now key partner is Telstra. Engagis is Telstra’s premium digital partner, intimately involved in the design and fit out of the company’s retail outlets and showrooms, deploying almost 5,300 digital displays and devices – including Microsoft Surface Pros, 10 metre high video walls and tiny digital price tickets.

In 2015 Engagis worked with Telstra on its Future Retail Environment strategy, which informed the design of Telstra’s Sydney and Melbourne Discovery stores with that insight now being spread throughout the Telstra store network.

Engagis leveraged Windows 10 and the Universal Windows App Platform to develop highly engaging customer facing content and applications, including a “tap and take” NFC enabled card that allows people to use devices in the store to collect content and insight to build a personalised brochure that can be viewed online or in store.

In a classic “we liked the product so much we bought it” manouevre Telstra has also forged a fresh partnership that will also see it productise many Engagis solutions to offer to its own 88,000 business customers. Condon says that in the future Engagis could also tailor and sell solutions via the Azure Marketplace for specific vertical applications.

While the current suite of Engagis solutions is rich and effective, the advent of the internet of things, which will see sensors deployed widely in retail and service environments, will catapault this to a whole new level.

“We’re driving very, very hard. We are doing some really exciting work with Power BI and eventually Cortana Analytics to gather that data and drag insights from that data. We see a huge opportunity, or rather a huge need, to deliver insights as a service just as we deliver content as a service,” says Condon.

Currently Engagis uses Power Bi on the Azure cloud, particularly for retail customers. It collects and collates data from IoT devices, deployed touch points, cameras, Wi-Fi sniffers, micro-switches and RFID tags on products, and also uses NFC triggering as in the Telstra case. The collected data can be used to refine and personalise an engagement experience for consumers.

But you ain’t seen nothing yet. Condon and the Engagis team believe that there is far more that could be achieved to truly engage with consumers and forge lasting, rich relationships.

The question he says is “How do we turn the retail footprint into a theme park? So I think interactivity with digital, specifically when we start to embrace things like HoloLens and the voice interface via Cortana. It’s pretty exciting.”