Sid Banerjee is the chief executive officer of Clarabridge, a company that offers customer experience management solutions to large enterprises through the use of big data analytics. Sid has a BS and an MS in electrical engineering from MIT and more than 20 years of experience in business intelligence leadership. Several companies have grown or are growing successfully under his leadership. In this interview Sid talks about Clarabridge and how the company helps large enterprises solve problems. Further, he gives interesting insights into opportunities for entrepreneurs in this space.
Sramana Mitra: Sid, let’s start with some background about you as well as Clarabridge.
Sid Banerjee: My name is Sid Banerjee. I am the founder and CEO of Clarabridge. I have been leading the company for about seven and a half years. I have a background in analytical applications, design and development. I am a serial entrepreneur – this is actually the third company I founded or helped to found over the last 20 years. My first big experience in data analytics and data migration came with a firm called Microstrategy. I was one of the first 20 employees there, and I helped develop the product and the business. Following that I started a company called Claraview, which exposed me to a lot of challenges in big data analytics and also to some of the business needs for companies to be able to make sense of unstructured data. It was from that experience that we founded Clarabridge back in 2006; it is the company I am currently running.
Clarabridge has built a company and a product that help enterprises collect, transform, and analyze unstructured data that comes from customer interactions, customer feedback, or social media – any platforms that provide customers of voice to communicate anything about products, services, experiences, and opinions. We use that data and harvest and harness it to make sense of customer opinions and needs and use that data to help our customers, who are Fortune 1000 companies around the world.
SM: Are you doing this for any specific vertical or is it across the board?
SB: It is more than one vertical. We found that the verticals that have the most need for the kinds of solutions that Clarabridge provides tend to be those that have a large number of customers of their own – often B2C customers. They tend to be those with a multi-channel business model. That means companies interact with their customers through a wide variety of channels – from voice, to email, to social media, to traditional e-commerce and as a result have insights that are disbursed across many different technology platforms and media.
The last thing, I think, is that you look for companies that are ultimately and fairly competitive marketplaces and they are looking for that incremental insight that can lead to incremental satisfaction and ultimately customer profitability. The vertical is that most who meet those criteria are retail, financial services – both banking and insurance – technology companies, travel and hospitality companies, and telecom.
SM: Why don’t we take specific use cases and double click down into what kind of data, heuristics and infrastructure is involved in delivering the kinds of solutions you are delivering?
SB: We have some of the largest telecom companies in the world as customers. What is relevant from a telecom perspective is that these are companies that have millions of customers, very diverse products and services, and they have taken advantage of many different ways of connecting and communicating with their customers – through telephone, email, SMS, online feedback forums, and service platforms.
They have also have offerings that historically have a unique challenges of trying to make sense of who are customers across all lines of business and channels. For one of the players we work with – it is a large international company – we are the central repository of a wide variety of survey, social and other feedback platforms across a number of different markets. They use Clarabridge to provide performance management insights on any given day – how customers are feeling about various things, products and services they use. It could be the phone, the website, programs and promotions, etc. They are looking for variations in good services that would lead to a spot change or improvement. They are also looking for trends, trying to make sure nothing turns down in a negative direction. They have used Clarabridge to isolate and solve a wide variety of problems – both at the local level and also at the global level.