KMWorld Reflections by Gerard Rebalsky

Posted on: December 12, 2019, by: Ann Kelly

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As the Director of Sales & Marketing Operations for Smartlogic, I typically attend events with a different perspective than the average attendee, and this year KMWorld was no different. I’m always interested in meeting with our customers, who I’m reminded by our CEO Jeremy Bentley every day, are the sole reason for our success.

Simply learning how they utilize our Semantic AI platform – Semaphore - and how they talk about it, helps me understand if we’re on the right track, or need to adjust our messaging year over year.

Often, our customers share how their efforts to expand the usage of Semaphore internally can be a struggle. Admittedly, some have difficulty selling the value of Semaphore to the business.

This year at our 3rd annual networking social, I was looking forward to these interactions. The previous 2 years had mixed results, but I was hopeful this year would be different. Several customers who regularly participate in our monthly User Community Forum would be on hand. As the host of that forum, I’ve seen how they are now able to link Semaphore to positive business outcomes.

At prior events, when people stopped by our booth and asked “So what do you do?” we’d tell them how Semaphore utilizes Semantic AI techniques to enhance enterprise systems and enables them to “Enrich, Extract, and Harmonize” data. And that quizzical look led us to an arduous explanation:

  • Semaphore provides the semantic layer in your digital ecosystem so you can manage knowledge models, automatically classify enterprise information and create rich metadata.
  • It unifies structured and unstructured information – internal and external to the enterprise - to identify the context and meaning of each asset, so you can archive, manage and analyze your data.
  • It allows you to leverage entity and fact extraction capabilities to classify digital assets to derive value, gain insight and drive business decisions.

It worked, but there was a lot of explanation behind it.

This year (2019) was different. There was an immediate buzz around our table as attendees crowded the booth at the opening reception. They were less concerned with getting a free pen (perhaps we should have reverted to the popular Pez dispensers we gave out in 2018) - and repeatedly commented, “I’ve been hearing about semantics – can you tell me more about it?”

Our booth created a bottleneck on the vendor floor, as our customers engaged in our conversations with prospects and invited them to our networking event so they could talk in more detail about their experiences!

There was a clear interest in Semantic AI, both at the booth and during our networking event on Tuesday evening. I was pleasantly surprised to hear many of our customers interacting with prospects – and speaking our language! We were no longer explaining Semantic AI technology at the 101 level, and it has made a world of difference in our ability to evangelize to our prospects, and for our customers to sell Semaphore internally.

The decibel level at our networking reception was extraordinary, it was a packed house and our customers were easily conveying what semantics and knowledge models were doing for them.

This made me think back to conversations with friends in the Robotic Process Automation (RPA) space, as recently as 2016 – they would be asked at events, “So you’re selling me a robot? Where do we put them in the office?” The concept of RPA was difficult for many to grasp at the onset, but has since taken off. By 2018, RPA was identified by Gartner as the fastest growing technology and in the next 5 years, it’s expected to be embedded in every organization across the globe.

Whether or not Semantic AI ascends to that lofty projection, it is certainly exciting for us and our customers to be at the leading edge of a technology wave that has the same potential impact. I’m hoping in a few years I can write about how KMWorld 2019 was the launching point of something special, and how our customers were the spark that set it off.

Thank you to all who attended and most especially to our customers - the sole reason for our success!

Semaphore is part of the Progress product portfolio. Progress is the leading
provider of application development and digital experience technologies.

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