As we look back at the fast-moving year 2022, it is hard to believe that we are already in the 2nd half of the calendar year, which means it is time for yet another Unica release.
With the General Availability (GA) on 31st Aug 2022, Unica V12.1.4 is the latest and greatest from the Unica stable. You will be able to download the dockers/installers of the latest version of Unica from the HCL’s License and Software Downloads Portal.
The current version brings you an enviable list of new features and improvements from across different areas of the Unica Marketing platform, the highlights of which can be broadly grouped into three areas:
- Usability and Functional Improvements with Marketing Central.
- More Nimble and Cohesive Real-time Personalized Interactions with Personalization Playback and learning enabled across channels.
- Improved Outbound Channel Effectiveness with Sender Id(SMS) Consolidation and Conversational WhatsApp Messaging.
With this release, we have introduced the concept of TechPreview (Evaluation only features- not to be used in production) in Unica. Our Marketing Central Homepage is the Single component that is released as a Tech Preview feature. Tech Preview features provide us a way to bring some new exciting features sooner in front of our customers and enables us to engage with them for active feedback, based on which these features can be fine-tuned and made available as a regular feature in a subsequent release.
Usability and Functional Improvements:
Over the last few versions, you would have observed we had embarked on a journey of refreshing the user experience of Unica. We delivered on this initiative by improving the user experience of one significant area per release, starting Unica V 12.0 way back in Apr 2020. Between then and now, we have seen massive user experience improvements in Centralized Offers Management, Interact Channel Strategy Definition, Quick Builder of Unica Deliver, Invoking Optimize Sessions from within a Campaign flow chart, Various entities in Unica Plan including Workflows, To-Do Check List, Calendar & Out of Office. While we presented all of your favorite features of Unica with a new look and feel, we also gave you the option to keep the old and familiar look in case it had become a muscle memory for you. Your adoption of our new versions and the screens with the new look and feel was a resounding validation of our earnest initiative.
In the same spirit of innovation this time around, we bring you an absolutely sparkling new Homepage under Marketing Central. We have categorized and clubbed the old menu list under a more functional view of marketing. The entire platform is now categorized under –
- Plan & Manage
- Build & Execute
- Analyze & Optimize
Beyond this, we have made new tweaks to the user navigation. We have introduced a more contemporary Kit-Kat Menu and a Left-hand Navigation Menu (a change from the top Menu Navigation). We also have a placeholder for bringing in the Favourites Menu to enable you to access your most accessed menu items in one click. Further, as is the practice, we give you a choice between the Old and New User Interface.
As you are aware, Unified Data Management is one of our themes of the Unica Roadmap. As a part of this, we plan to bring together all the key marketing entities around Audience, Segments, Offers, Events, etcetera into one place in Unica and further enrich this with additional 3rd party data and use a single view of these entities centrally across all features of Unica. We also envisioned federating these entities for use across the entire MarTech Stack of an organization. While we already centralized the offer definitions, as a part of this release, we have also done the same for Audiences and Segments.
Audience and Segment Central are lightweight features for creating and managing Audiences and Strategic segments. With this, you can access Strategic and Smart Segments in a central place. This gives an Improved User experience and provides an easy way to build strategic segments. Customers can continue to build strategic segments from the Campaign flowchart. However, these modules provide basic segment-building capability on the base tables, including query-based segments and segment creation from basic operations like Union on Intersections of existing segments. These will be improved upon in subsequent releases. The end vision for marketing central will culminate with it becoming the nerve hub that both the marketers (for a simplified user experience) and the IT team (for integrations) would throng to.
More Nimble and Cohesive Real-time Personalized Interactions
As you are aware, Unica has the capability to personalize inbound interactions across a variety of channels, from Call centers to Kiosks to Websites. Each of these interactive channels is capable of learning from occurrences of various pre-defined events and event patterns from within a channel. For Eg. If the event pattern involves a sequence in a call center that involves a dispute on a late payment fee of a credit card from a usually prompt customer, and then the subsequent event involves a conversation to cancel the card, then Unica Interact is capable of learning from such events and event patterns from within the channel to propose an offer or a next best action for the customer interaction- which in this case could likely be a waiver of the late-fee as a onetime gesture.
Customers today, however, choose to interact with an enterprise from anywhere across any channel, and hence the learning for personalization from events across channels has become the need of the hour. With this release with the introduction of the Parent Channel entity, Unica Interact is capable of personalizing from learnings on events and events patterns across all channels under a parent channel. This makes the personalization of Unica truly cohesive and omnichannel.
On the one hand, while the customers have the option of picking and choosing a channel, On the other hand, a channel manager might be curious to check the uptick of recently launched offers on his channel. Are the right audience segments coming to the channel? Enter Unica Interact’s personalization playback feature. With this, the channel manager can get a view of all offers presented to different audiences on a given channel over a period. Imagine the category manager of an outdoor equipment retailer launches an offer for an audience segment for the web channel, only to find that most of that segment has flocked to a different channel (in-store), whereas a completely different segment of the audience has instead turned to the web. With this, the channel manager can quickly be able to make changes to the personalization of the audience segment for his channel and improve the offer effectiveness.
Improved Outbound Channel Effectiveness
With V12.1.4, Unica brings to the fore significant new features to Unica Deliver to improve the effectiveness of outbound messaging. Unica Deliver now supports conversational messages or replies on WhatsApp. Users can send a message to the Brand’s Whatsapp number or reply to a message sent by the Brand. This is a much-desired improvement over the Unidirectional Broadcast capability supported as a part of the WhatsApp channel.
Further with this release, Unica Deliver for SMS lends support to SenderID consolidation. An enterprise needs to send SMS from multiple Sender IDs to a target user base in multiple geos as determined by the country/operator. Unica Deliver earlier required separate accounts to be configured for each senderid which increased the complexity for senderids supporting two-way conversations. Unica Customers can configure a single SMS account in Unica Deliver with a marker senderid which is mapped to the actual senderid based on the target user’s geo, making it now possible to manage to send and process replies from one account as against multiple accounts, thereby tremendously reducing the complexities involved and other overheads.
These were just the highlights of the release. In addition, we have a long list of technical and functional enhancements from the areas, including but not limited to enhanced PDF Markup Support, Out of office Scheduling, Deliver Landing Page Support in Unica Journey, Offer Integration in Unica Journey Endpoints, including REST API, Publish & JDBC, Segment Update Alerts in Unica Campaign, Easy differentiation between Test and Production Flowchart runs etcetera.
Know more, Get involved:
If you are excited and would like to know more about this release, tune into our V12.1.4 webinar series, starting with the release overview webinar.
If you are a Unica user and want to submit an enhancement request, please visit our ideas portal. Every idea is reviewed extensively, and a good percentage of ideas are converted into functionality. If you would like to read more about HCL’s ideas portal, this helpful blog will guide you through: Unica Ideas Portal.