When I was in middle school, I worked stage crew. I had no desire to be on stage, but I loved being backstage, behind the curtains, in the dim glow of the lighting board. Sure, the actors got all the glory. But actors have understudies. The show doesn’t go on without the sound, scenery and props. We literally kept the lights on. And ever since then, I’ve had a great appreciation for the value of work that goes unseen.
That’s why I’m so proud of the work IBM Consulting is doing with the Recording Academy® this year. Most people know the Recording Academy for the sound and spectacle of the GRAMMYs. But far fewer people know what the Recording Academy does the other 364 days of the year.
The Academy is the world’s largest society of music professionals, with more than 22,000 members that constitute the music industry: performers and producers, songwriters and sound engineers. On behalf of those members, the Academy fights for creator rights, works to save music programs in schools, educates people about the cultural and social significance of music, and provides health, financial, and rehabilitation resources to music people in need.
Over the last six years, as the Official Technology Partner of the GRAMMYs®, IBM has worked the front of the house, transforming the fan-facing experience with AI-powered solutions like GRAMMY Insight with IBM Watson. It’s very visible work, accessible by millions of music fans, and a great demonstration of AI’s ability to transform data into insight.
But this year, the Academy asked IBM to go backstage, driving their digital transformation deep into the organization. They asked us to transform the member experience. Put simply, members are the lifeblood of the Academy. And over the course of any given year, they need to engage with the Academy for any number of reasons: to renew their membership, to cast a vote for the GRAMMYs and, if they’re lucky, to accept a GRAMMY nomination and book tickets for Music’s Biggest Night.
To help facilitate these interactions, the Recording Academy did what so many companies do when they want to better manage the digital experience of their customers: they migrated to Salesforce’s powerful customer relationship platform.
“This is the digital age, and digital experiences define your brand, whether you’re a retailer, a bank or the Recording Academy,” says Panos Panay, the President of the Recording Academy. “And IBM has been essential in helping us take our digital experience to the next level.”
To do it, we activated a team of IBM consultants that specializes in maximizing the value our clients get from the Salesforce platform. The team collaborated with the Recording Academy using IBM Consulting’s unique Garage methodology, defining personas, architecting user journeys and co-creating personalized digital experiences for various constituents, starting with GRAMMY nominees. And because time was tight, the team deployed IBM’s exclusive set of pre-built accelerators that saved nearly 1,000 hours of development time. (Read more about this work here.)
“IBM helped us integrate the nominee communication process with our GRAMMY ticketing procedures and the membership application journey, making it a much more streamlined and secure experience for this year’s nominees,” said Kelley Purcell, Vice President of Membership at the Recording Academy.
IBM is a B2B company. Which means that much of the work we do goes unseen by consumers, even if they benefit every time we improve the customer experience for a retailer or thwart a cyberattack on a bank. Our work to improve the fan experience of the GRAMMYs over the years may get all the attention. But when the artists take the stage on GRAMMY night, remember the backstage heroes that make a show like that possible, and all the important work IBM has been doing behind the scenes.