James Sharpe, Strategic Alliances Director at Amaze, describes this full-service digital agency as “passionate about what it does" and “focused on delivering results-oriented enterprise solutions that scale." We had the opportunity to talk with James, to find out more about Amaze and its role as an SDL partner.
Tell us a little about Amaze.
James: Amaze was founded 22 years ago inside the Learning Methods Unit at Liverpool John Moores University. We bring academic rigour to client engagement. We test and prove solutions. And we apply original thinking to building a better understanding of the relationship between human behavior and technology.
From our early involvement in developing learning experiences, Amaze branched out to combine award-winning creative agency thinking and enterprise technical skills. We became a truly global consultancy. We have always dealt with global businesses, and today we are known for our global and pan-European capabilities. We deliver solutions to over 90% of the globe in over 65 languages.
We believe that today’s enterprise needs to understand cultures in-mar
ket. In recognition of the challenges our customers face we have unique service offerings including Global/Local Roll Out Support, Governance and Compliance Services, Digital Maturity Consulting and a practice focused on driving effectiveness through enablement.
Our partnership with SDL was a natural one. SDL Web is fundamentally a digital content management solution that meets the needs of global audiences like no other. Its BluePrinting approach to content and content hierarchy were there from the very beginning and the
foundation for most of our global customers. SDL gives us the freedom and flexibility to deliver value through decoupled content frameworks or headless architectures.
Our relationship with SDL began 15 years ago and started with Toyota in Europe, which remains a strong customer. In fact, the majority of our global accounts are on SDL products.
What services and expertise does Amaze offer its customers? What makes you different?
James: Amaze is a full-service digital partner. We have a large planning and strategy department that works in collaboration with our customers to align their overall ambitions as a business with our digital work. It ensures what we do has a solid foundation.
Inside that team, we do extensive qualitative and quantitative research to develop those foundations further. We also have specialist interaction and UX designers who incorporate their expertise in the psychology of purchase and engagement. This team then works closely with our strategy team to develop end-to-end engagement and user experiences, and with our digital team to create a pragmatic roll out.
What shifts and changes do you see in the marketplace?
James: One of the biggest shifts we see is a movement towards digital hubs and decoupled frameworks that command agility in the delivery of digital base services.
The fact that SDL Web has always provided decoupled content management services, I think, makes its approach to web content management stand apart and puts it in an excellent position for market changes moving forward.
At Amaze, we believe that centralised platforms will bring together content, functionality and data. The content management system for many organisations provides that central role to manage content, interaction and branding. It is the closest thing most businesses have to a digital enterprise hub. Content management systems like SDL Web are in a perfect position to bring the different systems and services together.
These systems now often integrate with elements like ecommerce, personalisation and product information systems. In the future, this will include AI infrastructures. Products like SDL Web already enable new approaches to traditional architecture. Things like ‘headless content management’ – SDL’s decoupled architecture – separates content management application from the delivery of the website or web services.
At Amaze, we already work with clients to help them recognise the importance of the digital enterprise hub and to start to facilitate this approach. We have done so for over five years in most development frameworks(Node.JS, J2EE and MVC .NET).
What are the biggest challenges and primary goals you see your customers face?
James: Many of our customers are now aware that they do not want to be tied to a single technology or vendor. They want to be able to innovate and add new technologies as they emerge. This means that standards-based platforms with good integration points are very important.
SDL Web provides freedom to deliver content how and when you want in a truly decoupled manner. It tackles challenges like multi-brand, multi-language content delivery and addresses compliance and governance requirements. Today’s businesses want the freedom to innovate, be more agile and grow through good methodology and technology without being tied in and under the control of a vendor.
Are there any particular integrations/plug-ins that are crucial to success?
James: At Amaze, we see our customers integrate their content management with everything from CRM to transactional and product information management, to targeting and personalisation tools, and a wide range of back office services. We will integrate with anything they need. This includes IoT delivery for smart devices.
Can you share some customer success stories in which Amaze and SDL Web played an important role?
James: We have many different examples of success stories with SDL Web. They include Lexus, Emirates, Canon, Unilever, Toyota, ACS… These are all long-term customers who have found value in both Amaze expertise and SDL technology.
What are you most proud of?
James: We deliver ROI. We don’t sell functions and features, but we do sell results that scale over time.
We are a team of connected specialists, and every person has significant experience and expertise. We prioritise building long-term relationships and continuing to deliver results over time in every sector.
We see our customers as collaborators and we work with them to achieve enterprise success.
Read the Amaze Whitepaper: The Digital Enterprise Hub
In this white paper, Amaze explores the concept of the unifying, enterprise grade digital hub – the ‘app store’-like tool that provides the decision-making and intelligence needed to align all digital assets.
The paper explores the benefits of adopting a hub approach, examines the innovators already adopting a hub strategy, and asks where businesses should begin in building their own digital hub.