Illumina Inc. began selling online last year and in March 2018 added a personalization dashboard called MyIllumina that enables customers to see vital information about the performance of Illumina equipment. The manufacturer’s equipment is used in genetic research and by commercial services like 23 and Me.
The machines, such as those used to sequence genes in a DNA sample, have built-in Internet of Things technology that—with the clients’ permission—can feed back to Illumina such data as when a machine is in use, the results of an experiment and any problems with the machinery, Dave Grimm, senior director of digital experience at Illumina, explained in his presentation Wednesday at the B2B Next conference entitled “Weaponize Your Data: Building a Data Machine that Churns Out Profits.”
Customers that create personalized MyIllumina dashboards can view this data, keeping up, for example, with the results of a sequencing experiment that can take up to five days, Grimm said.
At the same time, he added, Illumina turns that data into a “weapon” for the company’s sales representatives by feeding results into the company’s customer relationship management system from Salesforce.com Inc.
He gave an example of actual data from a smaller customer, a lab that does genetics research. After Illumina launched the MyIllumina service on March 3, three people from this unnamed company created MyIllumina accounts within a couple of weeks.
For a scientist from this company running an experiment, her MyIllumina dashboard allows her to access results of a test run from her smartphone and get alerts when there is a problem. Her boss can also access those results from his dashboard to make sure a project is on track.
And that data can be highly useful for Illumina, Grimm said. For example, if a client chooses to disclose the inputs it’s using in the experiment, Illumina can see if it’s using a competitor’s chemicals for the test, rather than Illumina products. Illumina can also see if a machine is being heavily used, which can lead the Salesforce CRM to automatically suggest to the client’s sales rep adding additional equipment.
“When they’re running hot, that’s an opportunity for a new install,” Grimm said. “That shows up in the Salesforce queue for the salesperson.”
The CRM system also shows the sales rep if the client has any open technical or customer support tickets, and, if so, where they stand. That makes the salesperson aware of “any problems that can blow up a sales conversation.”
“We’ve weaponized the user behavior of these scientists,” Grimm said. “This is a powerful suite of functionality and data that all goes back to the bottom line.”
While it’s too soon to report conclusive data on the impact of the MyIllumina system, Grimm said Illumina is doing a lot more business with the client lab he cited in his presentation.
He said that customer’s purchases from Illumina more than doubled to $134,000 in the first half of 2018, and that it’s now making more than 90% of its purchases online.
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