Bringing together disparate data sources is key to creating stand out customer experiences – Interview with Dave O’Flanagan of Boxever


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Today’s interview is with Dave O’Flanagan, CEO & Co-Founder at Boxever, a data science and customer intelligence technology company that helps airlines, travel companies and others generate more incremental revenue quickly by leveraging data they already have. Dave joins me today to talk about what they are up to, the impact their technology and approach is having and the single view of the customer.

This interview follows on from my recent interview – The power of social recognition in employee engagement – Interview with Ketti Salemme of TINYpulse – and is number 212 in the series of interviews with authors and business leaders that are doing great things, providing valuable insights, helping businesses innovate and delivering great service and experience to both their customers and their employees.

Here’s the highlights of my interview with Dave:

  • Boxever is essentially a data science company and they have created a customer intelligence cloud that allows their clients (predominantly travel companies right now) do two things:
    • 1. Create differentiated travel experiences by allowing them to connect more effectively with their customers, and
    • 2. Help them drive incremental revenue.
  • Their technology is made up of three different elements: OneView (collects and organises disparate data sets), Engage (a predictive personalization engine delivers next best action advice) and Explore (analyses data and uncovers customer insights).
  • Their vision for the company is through the assimilation of lots of disparate data sources to allow companies and brands to apply advanced technology and analytics to create better customer experiences.
  • OneView, one of the first products they have developed, is akin to a 21st century, real-time version of a single, unified view of the customer.
  • One of the challenges with assimilating lots of disparate data sources is that often the customer identifier part of the data is very different. Boxever’s solution aims to address that challenge and bring all data together so that a company can understand who that customer is, what they are interested in and what they have done in the past.
  • Dave says there is a new class of technology emerging called Customer Data Platform (CDP), which is a confluence of CRM, DMP (from the ad world) and other data sources that are brought together in a unified platform so that the marketer (or other professional) can go to one place where they can understand all of their first party data.
  • A single unified view of the customer is a concept that has been around and has been talked about for 20 years now but few companies seem to have achieved it.
  • This can, in part, be put done to their experience with large B2C CRM projects that were, more often than not, installed on-premise, involved lots of external consultants, took 12-24 months for the first applications to be rolled out and, in that time, companies had invariably suffered from cost over-runs, project fatigue and, sometimes, a change of leadership and priorities.
  • Previously, companies started their digital journey by figuring out how to get their businesses online. However, now the digital challenge is how they can use digital technologies and data to transform their businesses.
  • Core to that is a better understanding of customers so that they can deliver better customer experiences.
  • However, and still to this day, many companies have different departments like ecommerce, CRM and loyalty who all still have their own data sets and KPIs.
  • Digital transformation can mean so many things to different people and organisations from business model transformation to technology transformation all the way through to organisational transformation.
  • There is a real appetite at C-level to ‘get this done’ now.
  • Transformation, however, is never done and that is one of the key challenges that organisations are wrestling with.
  • Success isn’t a one project thing. It’s about building a capability (people and technology) that allows them to try, learn and fail in a more positive way such that they can adapt to an ever changing environment.
  • Dave provides a couple of examples to bring the application of their technology to life:
    • A full service airline was investigating the lost bag experience as it is one of the most troubling experiences for a travel customer.
      • Through pulling together all of the physical and digital data sources the airline was able to understand who had boarded the plane but also if their bags had been loaded too. In the event that a passenger’s bag had failed to be loaded, the system would proactively notify the cabin crew so they could notify the customer and offer them an appropriate upgrade or other benefit as a way of apology.
      • Moreover, when the customer deplaned they are then presented with the option to resolve the issue via a messaging app or by connecting directly to an operator who, by having access to all own their data, is better enabled to help them resolve the issue.
    • In an additional example, Dave explained that they worked with a travel operator and helped them categorise intent from website, mobile and email behaviour. This allowed them to personalise the 18 million email newsletters that they sent out every week. Doing that allowed the travel operator to achieve a 4X improvement in their email conversion rate.
  • In the last 12 months, Boxever have found that their experience and technology is very transferable across industries and they are now speaking to a number of new and prospective customers in financial services as well as other industries.
  • The wow comes in all the little micro moments that are connected.
  • Key question: How can I connect all of my data across all of my touchpoint so that I can speak to the customer with one voice?
  • Organisations need to create the time and have the courage to actually choose what to do and what not to do rather than feel that they need to do everything.
  • Particularly, if you are in financial services, then check out Boxever and their technology and what it could do for you.
  • Also, check out the webinar that Boxever is running with Marketing Week. You can sign up here.

About Dave (taken from his LinkedIn profile)

Dave O'FlanaganDave is the CEO and Co-Founder of Boxever, a customer intelligence technology company that helps airlines and travel companies generate more incremental revenue quickly by leveraging data they already have.

He is an experienced software executive and entrepreneur with over 12 years experience building and delivering enterprise solutions in multiple verticals including mobile telecoms, document management and travel. In previous roles he has managed engineering departments of over 70 engineers, geographically spread across multiple locations, delivering complex projects to Tier 1 airlines and mobile operators.

While he is an accomplished leader and manager he is first and foremost a passionate technologist, focused primarily in the areas of big data, analytics and new architectures to support petabyte-scale data processing.

Dave holds an M.Sc. in Computer Science and B.A in Mathematics from Trinity College Dublin. He is also a qualified scrum master and practitioner of six sigma. He recently graduated from the Enterprise Ireland Propel II and NDRC Launchpad programs. Currently a member of Dogpatch Labs in Dublin, Ireland.

He has also held a number of positions abroad, living and working in many countries including Montreal, Boston, Mexico City, Buenos Aires, Stockholm and Frankfurt.

Find out more about Boxever at, say Hi to them and Dave on Twitter @Boxever and @daveof and connect with Dave on LinkedIn here.

Photo Credit: tec_estromberg Flickr via Compfight cc

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Adrian Swinscoe
Adrian Swinscoe brings over 25 years experience to focusing on helping companies large and small develop and implement customer focused, sustainable growth strategies.


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