Pitney Bowes has access to billions of exclusive and proprietary data points, along with the capability to transform them into actionable insights. Adding to its considerable data assets, the company has developed Big Data, IoT and Machine Learning capabilities. Using this practice, it will work with customers to crack challenges posed by the volume and velocity of data, and the applications required for better insight. Thus, they will augment the value of location-based data and deliver competitive differentiation.
Tell us about Pitney Bowes. What was the idea behind the company’s inception?
Pitney Bowes is a global technology company powering billions of transactions in the physical and digital world of commerce. We began operations almost a century ago as leaders in the physical world of mailing and evolved to become innovators that combine the best of physical and digital solutions to redefine global commerce.
We are a 100-year-old start-up that invented an industry in our first century and we are now transforming that business to become a model of success for clients across a wide range of industries. 90 per cent of Fortune 500 Companies and over 1 million+ small and medium-sized businesses rely on products, solutions, services and data from Pitney Bowes in the areas of customer information management, location intelligence, customer engagement, shipping, mailing, and global ecommerce. Our clients consider us a trusted partner who helps them simplify the complexities of global commerce.
In 2016, we expanded our portfolio with the launch of the Pitney Bowes Commerce Cloud, an initiative that provides access to solutions, analytics and APIs across the Pitney Bowes portfolio and has helped clients across industries transform their businesses and create great experiences for their customers.
Tell us about the consumer engagement experience that Pitney Bowes provides?
The client is at the centre of all innovation across solutions, R&D, business processes and business models at Pitney Bowes. Our products help brands, retailers and businesses simplify complexities across the commerce continuum. Whether it’s understanding and engaging consumers, unearthing relevant insights from data, identifying consumer trends to enabling cross-border e-commerce, Pitney Bowes is focussed on helping businesses create great experiences for consumers across all touchpoints.
We provide a powerful set of digital self-service capabilities that enable organizations to better communicate with customers and deliver more relevant and engaging interactions, each and every time they connect with a brand.
Our global e-commerce solution provides end-to-end support across all facets of enterprise retail, including cross-border expansion and entry into high-growth emerging markets, calculation of total landed costs across countries and optimizing shipping solutions. Pitney Bowes helps over 250 retailers, brands and online marketplaces sell to more than 6.5 million buyers in more than 220 countries and territories, using more than 74 currencies. Twitter, Zillow and InMobi and other social platforms use our location intelligence technology to identify consumer trends and capitalize on emerging markets.
What are the technology and fulfilment services that Pitney Bowes offers for the retail sector in India?
We help brands and retailers drive anywhere to everywhere by offering end-to-end capabilities including demand generation, website localization, fully-landed costs presentation and compliance, payment and risk management, logistics and customer care.
Presently, we are working towards enabling global ecommerce for leading marketplaces and small to medium-sized businesses in India.
Pitney Bowes recently launched Commerce Cloud. How does the company embed Commerce Cloud for retail?
One of the biggest announcements in our 97-year-old history was the launch of the Pitney Bowes Commerce Cloud. The Pitney Bowes Commerce Cloud provides access to solutions, analytics and APIs across the Pitney Bowes portfolio. With this announcement, Pitney Bowes essentially expanded its business to the $40 billion digital commerce and shipping market. We also collaborated with leading cloud technology companies, including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Salesforce.com, GE, Microsoft, Apigee, MongoDB and Okta, to deliver a reliable, modern digital client experience.
A big part of the Commerce Cloud announcement was that we made our technology available through public APIs so that SMEs/Enterprises/Developers working for their customers can use them to improve the functionality of their offerings. The Commerce Cloud incorporates our extensive geo-data into everyday applications, business processes, and workflows. Our Location APIs help retailers get deeper insights into their customers’ lifestyle and demographic data, Shipping APIs provide fast, reliable and affordable shipping, Payment APIs help retailers grow their business efficiently with shipping, permit payments and consolidated billing options and Tracking APIs let customers track their shipments right from their ecommerce site using their reference or order number.
What are the key trends Pitney Bowes is focussing on right now? How are these going to shape different sectors especially in retail/ e-commerce etc.?
As part of our digital transformation, we are always looking at reinventing ways in which brands interact with their customers. Some key focus areas are:
Location Intelligence: While data has been around for a while, businesses have recently started to pay increased attention to the ‘location’ aspect of their consumer data and are using this information to provide more contextual and personalized offerings. Think of any business today, Uber for example uses location data to help users identify the closest cabs, choose suitable routes and adjusts wait time based on ‘real time’ traffic information. With recent advances in location intelligence and geo-coding, businesses are increasingly using location information to add the ‘where’ dimension to their existing datasets. Retailers are using LI data to provide richer content and targeted offers to customers by sending discount coupons, special offers etc. based on their proximity to store locations.
Global E-commerce: With billions of shoppers around the world, retailers can’t afford to just stay at home. Pitney Bowes helps retailers meet customers in over 220 countries and territories around the world by offering end-to-end capabilities including demand generation, website localization, fully-landed costs presentation and compliance, payment and risk management, logistics and customer care.
Big Data: Pitney Bowes has access to over 4,500 unique datasets across 240 geographies, catering to clients across retail, ecommerce, insurance, telecom, financial services etc. We are currently working with industry leaders such as Hortonworks and Cloudera to access new opportunities and have been witnessing exciting growth potential in the area of big data. Our solutions and capabilities built on top of location data are consumed by marketers in retail, ecommerce and top global social media companies such as Twitter, Zillow and InMobi.
IoT: Pitney Bowes is using IoT and advanced analytics to enhance digital relationships that can provide value and recommendations to over 1 million SMB clients’ usage experience. We’ve also partnered with GE, Amazon and companies like Electric Imp to bring next generation of IoT capabilities to our SMB customers. In the retail space, PB’s location capabilities can power IoT use cases in proximity marketing through advanced geo-fencing and beacon technology and bring in greater personalization.
Machine Learning: Machine learning helps companies take the billions of data points they have and extract what’s meaningful. It includes technologies such as deep learning, neural networks and natural-language processing, and is supporting to encompass more advanced systems that understand, learn, predict, adapt and potentially operate autonomously. Ecommerce companies use Machine Learning Algorithms to predict purchase patterns, make recommendations and provide contextual and personalized experiences to shoppers.
Tell us about your accelerator program in detail.
The Pitney Bowes Accelerator Program for start-ups was launched in 2014 in partnership with NASSCOM 10K Initiative, with the vision to provide best-in-class technology and mentorship to start-ups working in areas of customer information management, mobile, data analytics, location-based services, ecommerce management and machine learning. So far, we have mentored 18 start-ups and are currently reviewing applications for our fourth batch. As part of the program, start-ups have access to Pitney Bowes’ software APIs and data for the duration of the program. The program provides training, technical and business guidance, and mentoring by Pitney Bowes’ engineering and innovation leaders and software industry experts.
Over the years, Pitney Bowes has partnered with industry bodies who are passionate about boosting India’s start-up ecosystem. We have alliances with Microsoft for Azure Cloud Credits and Visual Studio subscriptions for the year. We have also partnered with DigitalOcean, the world’s second largest cloud computing platform focused on simplifying cloud infrastructure for software developers. In addition, this year we have joined hands with F6s, one of the largest tech start-up communities globally.
Each year, we see applications from more diverse and innovative start-ups. They represent development work on next-generation technologies across location, commerce and data analytics to solve big problems at scale for both India and global markets. It is exciting to mentor and support start-ups who are working on truly innovative ideas. Start-ups from our previous batches include WedoSky (Drone-based start-up with a mapping and analytics platform), niKi.AI (Artificial Intelligence powered Chat Interface), MediMojo (a digital health platform for simplifying healthcare); and Sponsifyme (A real-time geo-location-based marketing platform for offline businesses).
You are a 97-year-old company. How have the dynamics changed over the years given that the world is going digital?
Pitney Bowes has transitioned from its traditional mailing business that started in the 1920s to become the global technology company we are known as today. Businesses these days have a very short lifespan unless they are able to keep pace with important digital technology and industry transitions.
As a company, Pitney Bowes has taken the best of our legacy mailing business and combined it with the latest digital technologies to change the way the world conducts commerce.
Innovation is at the heart of everything we do at Pitney Bowes and that is what’s kept us around for so many decades. We are constantly looking at ways to reinvent our business and provide clients with solutions that combine the best of physical and digital solutions.
How would one define Pitney Bowes and its transformation? Where does the company stand today?
We in the process of continuous renewal and transformation. Today, Pitney Bowes is a model of long-term success that combines the best of innovative physical and digital solutions in global commerce. Starting with the client, we are transforming our solutions using Design Thinking methodologies and tools that enable Pitney Bowes to focus on the design and user experience with the client at the centre of all innovation.
We work with Retailers, Banks, Telcos and Insurance firms by helping them digitize their processes and provide personalized and contextual experience to customers. We have partnered with the best-in-class technology partners including IBM, Ernst & Young, GE Digital, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, Salesforce, Okta and Apigee to bring capabilities beyond what we alone can offer.
We are a 100-year old start-up focussed on innovation across the commerce continuum.