The word ‘integration’ is a loaded term in the martech industry. Many brandish it, but few can accomplish it. And the issue goes much deeper than just connective APIs (application programming interface).
According to data analytics firm Gridsum Holdings, industry sector is a major influencing factor in how an organisation can leverage outside technology to identify complex relationships within its data and gain insights that help it make better business decisions. With more brands tackling the ‘build it or buy it’ question, Gridsum’s co-CFO, Ravi Sarathy, told Campaign Asia-Pacific that traditional integration—typically seen in markets that have undergone generations of enterprise software—requires substantial in-house tech teams to “buy different parts of ‘the stack’ from different vendors and then work to integrate them internally”.
Sarathy says that China is different, however, being poised to leapfrog the technology directly to advanced cloud-based solutions.
“This means that big data enterprise software in China are able to provide complete end-to-end solutions,” said Sarathy.
Gridsum Holdings is the first Chinese enterprise cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) provider listed on Nasdaq (since September 2016), and it continues to dominate China’s big data enterprise software space, with a net revenue increase of 57.3 percent in Q1 of 2017, year-on-year.
This growth has been in part due to its approach. The company has identified five different industry verticals and has developed SaaS products customised for each. Leveraging machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI), it has more than 400 enterprise clients include Nike, Coca-Cola, IKEA, L’Oreal, SAIC, PICC and JD.com. Events are also part of Gridsum’s speciality, having provided services for live broadcasts of Spring Festival Evening, and the 2016 Brazil Rio Olympic Games.
The company’s core technology—and name—is built on a distributed computing foundation (the ‘grid’) that performs multi-dimensional correlation analysis of data sets (the ‘sum’) that implements real-time interactive data-mining, machine learning and machine decision-making on a large scale.
Gridsum’s complete end-to-end solutions have been accumulating high quality data sets since 2009, and the company employs machine-learning and AI to provide solutions that are based on its core technologies: the Gridsum Big Data Platform and the Gridsum Prophet AI Engine.
These stack solutions are delivered as cloud-based software-as-a-service offerings that are designed to be easy to use and adopted within a customer’s organisation.
With these solutions, Gridsum’s customers are able to analyse user behaviour online and on mobile, assess and conduct web and mobile web design testing, manage and optimise, in real-time, large-scale digital marketing campaigns. In addition, they can measure the contribution of different marketing channels to user conversion and profitability, monitor and analyse streaming media and enhance the user experience, integrate data from diverse data sources online and offline, and visualise and interact with graphical information across multiple display sizes and formats.
“Gridsum’s marketing automation solutions are available as an integrated suite, called ADSUITE,” said Sarathy.
Natural language processing
Gridsum’s ability to extract structure from unstructured data, regardless of size, for effective analysis comes from its natural language processing (NLP) technology. For the Chinese market, this is extremely complex, due to fundamental characteristics of the language.
Yet Gridsum’s proprietary NLP technology is able to extract information about entities, correlations, sentiment and emotions from vast amounts and a variety of digitised documents, audio and video streams, and other digital content.
“Gridsum has leveraged its highly relevant, large-scale historical data assets and industry expertise to design machine-learning algorithms that are particularly suitable for processing unstructured data,” said Sarathy. These algorithms learn from experience, identify patterns of interest, recognise connections through which the raw data can be structured and analysed, make data-driven predictions within their defined parameters and solve specific industry problems for customers, driving immediate business KPI enhancement.
Gridsum’s future product pipeline includes an intelligent CRM solution, which is on track to launch by the end of this year. ”It brings together offline and online data by converging digital marketing with CRM on an AI platform” said Sarathy.
Looking further ahead, Gridsum will continue to add AI features to its current solutions; penetrate new markets and forge new partnerships, like that with Tencent Cloud. “Together,” said Sarathy, “we jointly developed an integrated speech-to-text solution for court trials and conferences, which we have exclusive rights to distribute in China’s nationwide legal system.”