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Photograph of female employee wearing Surface Headphones 2 working in TeamsTechnology has changed the way we connect to each other. We use it more to meet up with friends virtually, or share information. Increasingly, we are using it to interact with organisations digitally. This has a direct impact on how organisations drive customer experiences and resilient operations. We’re taking a look at the opportunities Azure brings to WordPress to help drive positive customer experiences. These ideas will also encourage organisations to invest in connecting back office and front office functions – the digital marketing and IT tribes respectively. This will help drive profit through integration and unification of business intelligence and team/customer experience whilst also enabling your employees to work smarter.

I’ll also show you the ways enterprise users of WordPress are integrating Azure’s services in order to solve common business challenges and create seamless, easy-to-use content platforms that don’t come with extra hefty price tags like other modern content management systems.

Transforming marketing with AI

In the case of content marketing, the product is your content – the words, media, discoverability, and customer experience that you use to communicate.

First off, let’s have a look at how we can enhance the quality of your digital experience for your editors and website visitors alike.

Improve the quality of your written content with the Text Analytics API

The Text Analytics API cognitive service uses AI to ingest a block of content and returns a gaggle of useful insights to help improve your content and surface actionable insights for your business.

  • Key phrases: These auto-suggest tags and give an insight into how a machine sees what is written. It is useful to quickly identify main points in large swathes of documents. Also, you can add the key phrases to your content as a ‘shadow taxonomy’ in the CMS for editorial use.
  • Sentiment: Measures how positive or negative the content appears. This one is really nice when it comes to later analysis of content performance.
  • Entity analysis – Azure has a Named Entity Recognition service which uses public sources like Wikipedia and Bing to recognise both an entity (e.g. Bill Gates) and the type of entity (e.g. Person). Again, this can be super useful for tagging; or to start adding structured data to your content. Once that structured data is there, you can start using it to drive visualisations or enhance the presentation of your knowledge to search engines.

The Language API at work. On one side, a text box. The other side lists its languages, key phrases, sentiment, and entities.

Let the Computer Vision API maximise the power of your images

Alongside text analytics are a host of other cognitive services that are available through developer-friendly API web services. A simple one to use for almost immediate profit is the Computer Vision API. Passing an image through this service returns an incredible array of information that the machine recognises. This includes: faces, text, colours, objects, suggested tags, how ‘adult’ the image appears to be, and the image dimensions and format.

Much like text analytics, the structured data returned from the API can be integrated in a number of ways to improve editorial quality. It can automatically suggest images from a media library, auto-input image captions, meta-descriptions and tags (both for the image itself and for the main post).

Automatically adding this metadata will have some measurable and immediate benefits. Particularly better accessibility and SEO performance through the addition of higher quality image alt text, meta-description, and captions.

Image showing the Computer Vision API at work. A photo of a London Underground station with a train and people. Next to it, is text from the API analysing the photo properties and imagery

Four more ways to increase editorial quality using Azure services:

  1. Auto-transcribe and analyse videos for better accessibility, search engine optimisation, and discovery.
  2. Using document cracking to allow your editors and visitors to search your site’s media files (PDFs, Word docs, etc)
  3. Use entity mapping to help your editors (and customers) explore your organisation’s content relationships and create richer related content suggestions
  4. Embed PowerBI visualisations to add interactive graphics that let your visitors really explore the data behind your content.

Optimising operations

Teams are under constant pressure to be ever more productive and innovative in a competitive business world. Especially when you need to quickly adapt to changing needs or scale to an increase in demand. This can be very stressful position to be in. But using Azure’s cognitive services, you can boost team productivity while lowering stress.

Build a chatbot in minutes

First off – customer success. You probably already have a good knowledge base in the business – often exposed as FAQs on your website. Azure’s QnA Maker let’s anyone build an FAQ-style chatbot without any need to code quickly and easily by using your existing FAQs.

With chatbots able to save 30 percent in customer service costs, this could represent a huge productivity boost for your customer service team while reducing stress and pressure. While the chatbot takes over answering commonly asked questions, your customer service team will have more time to work on value-adding tasks and provide personalised experiences for customers.

Marketing automation

On the theme of connecting your back and front office digital estates for increased efficiency and customer response, here’s a great example: integrating your CRM directly with your WordPress site. It can retrieve inventory directly from CRM to ensure your website is always up to date. Or submit customer contact forms directly to your CRM for central processing.

There are tons of ways to integrate Dynamics CRM into your website: this WordPress plugin supports a good range.

Developer productivity

A computer science degree used to be a requirement it you wanted to host WordPress on Azure. Not anymore. With WordPress images available to install on a point-and-click basis, getting going with WordPress on Azure is easier than ever.

Moreover, you’re also covered from both DevOps and spend-management perspectives. Now Github is part of Microsoft, it’s super easy to connect your Github code repository to your hosting environment through Continuous Integration pipelines.

On the other side of hosting, Azure’s service insights help you to manage and optimise your spend.

Workflow productivity

Building on the editorial quality tips above, there are also productivity gains available through leveraging the same APIs and services. For example, finding appropriate images to illustrate content can be frustrating and time-consuming for editors. The Computer Vision API gives your media library a much richer search space, saving your editors time in finding images.

One step further would be to have WordPress and Azure work together to auto-suggest images from your media library or DAM based on the written content and taxonomies of the post itself.

This same principle applies for other media like video, social media embeds and for the taxonomic classification of content too. This means you can get information out to your customers at the right time, with the right context, and in the right place

Increase productivity and business value

Female developer coding on a Surface in the office, using Visual Studio. Hands on keyboard.In this article, we’ve looked at some highly achievable and straight-forward ways to start connecting WordPress and Azure to move towards the goals of transforming products, optimising operations, and more importantly, empowering employees and engaging customers.

These tools will save employees time by automating tasks that often take employees a lot time and focus. They are then free to focus on the tasks that deliver business value and drive innovation.

By having optimised content and marketing assets ready to-go, you can quickly respond to data insights or trends in a way that will add value to the business and increase employee productivity. This makes your marketing team more resilient and they can quickly adapt to changing customer requirements.

So the messages seems clear:

  • Don’t let your back office and front office be disconnected. It’s so much more impactful and profitable for them to work together.
  • It’s easy to leverage your existing Azure investment to augment your customers’ digital experiences.
  • Combining WordPress with Azure gives you a best-of-breed architecture content marketing platform that’s on a par with market leaders. But without the huge license fees and with far more freedom and flexibility.

Get in touch if you’re interested to find out more about how to connect WordPress and Azure.

To optimise for resilient operations in digital marketing, take a look at Microsoft’s Supporting Resilient Operations Report:Link to Microsoft

Find out more

Discover how to integrate Azure and WordPress

Learn how to support resilient operations

5 barriers to AI adoption: learnings from Microsoft’s marketing team

Grow your skills and expertise at the UK Partner Skills Hub

About the author

Photo of a David Lockie, a man with stubble and short dark hair. He has his arms folded and is wearing a blue business shirt.David Lockie’s interests lie in WordPress, open source and future technology trends. He’s the founder and CEO of Pragmatic – a top-tier WordPress agency globally, which he started in 2012. David loves working with the team at Pragmatic in delivering websites that add real value to businesses, and in turn enjoys sharing his expertise on this topic at international conferences such as the B2B Marketing Expo, WooConf and WordCamp Europe. He’s also co-chair at the BIMA Blockchain Council, sits on the SE Advisory Board of BITC and is an advisor to several start-ups.

Outside of work, David enjoys keeping fit, going downhill fast, alternative folk music, cooking delicious food, movies that involve running, jumping and shooting and spending time with family and friends, often involving a good walk and a pub.

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