Everything’s New At DST

John Vaughn opened AWD ADVANCE 2013 talking about a new focus for DST: a new CEO (following the retirement of their very first one), a new organizational structure (bringing together product and hosting groups into a single business process solutions group), 66% of customers either on or moving to the new platform, new case management functionality, new visibility with analysts and in the market (woo hoo! I’m listed on the slide with the “big guys”), new social media engagement (Vaughn’s activity on Twitter has probably moved that along), and new ways of dealing with customers. Great vision for moving forward, although those comfortable with DST’s conservative pace in the past may be a bit nervous, especially when he used the term “sunsetting” about their legacy platform.

He highlighted a number of sessions that will be going on here today and tomorrow, and challenged the companies in the room to start thinking differently since AWD now supports new ways of working. As he put it, “a lot of your workflows are older than my kids”; he pointed out that the business world is changing and customer expectations are changing. Social and mobile are not going away, and they are driving customer channels and interactions. Crowdsourcing and microwork (outsourcing on a task level) are changing how work gets done inside organizations. The old way of doing things is just too expensive, and doesn’t meet customer needs; change or die (the last being my words, but his implication). On the big data front – every vendor keynote has to hit all the hot industry topics – Vaughn noted that since most of their customers don’t ever delete their scanned images, it’s time to start mining those for better informational context about customers. This is potentially a huge deal: I have many customers with millions of images, and if some recognition could be applied (even at relatively poor recognition rates), the benefits for big data and analytics would be incredible. Or scary, if you prefer.

On a slight tangent, next month DST will be releasing TreeSwing: a completely mobile investment platform for those with less than $10k to invest, providing a link from the investor’s checking account to a curated set of mutual fund investments for micro-investments (DST is a registered financial broker/dealer, so can do this legally as well as having the industry knowledge to do so). It includes a number of social features, including location aware coupons (e.g., save $1 at Starbucks and invest it instead), gamification  and more. Interestingly, DST launched it at SXSW, which is not how most large software companies roll. Certainly gives them some street cred in the mobile and social markets.

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