The No. 1 Barrier To Effective Digital Transformation

Nigel Fenwick

In a recent post, I wrote about how digital experiences shape customer perceptions of value. But it's easy to forget that your organization's culture also shapes your customer's perception of value.

Earlier this week, I was moderating a panel on digital transformation at a Software AG event in New York. In opening the event, Kevin Niblock, Software AG's North America President and COO, described digital business as "a cultural phenomenon." Organizational culture plays an enormous role in the ability of a company's employees to transform a traditional business into a digital business.

If you're not the CEO, you might be forgiven for thinking that you have little control over your corporate culture. But we all have the opportunity to shape our organization's culture. And while nurturing the company culture is arguably one of the most important jobs of the CEO, it is also a critical capability for any leader.

Former IBM Chairman and CEO, Lou Gerstner, reminds us of this in an excellent Wall Street Journal (WSJ) article: "The Culture Ate Our Corporate Reputation". Gerstner writes: "What is critical to understand here is that people do not do what you expect but what you inspect. Culture is not a prime mover. Rather it is a derivative. It forms as a result of signals employees get from the corporate processes that structure their work priorities."

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Vertical clouds - less useful than you're meant to believe, but still useful

Paul Miller

How often have you been told you can't use a mainstream public cloud provider? Quite often, probably, especially if you happen to work in a regulated industry like banking or healthcare. And what justifications are you given? The regulator "won't let you," no doubt? That's a good one. And "it's not secure" is often pretty close behind. Either that, or the argument that generic public cloud infrastructure can't possibly meet your very special, very unique, very carefully crafted mix of requirements?

Sadly, despite the frequency with which they're trotted out, these attempts at justification stand a pretty good chance of being either hearsay, or just complete nonsense.

It's easy not to change, and to justify your inertia with reference to the scary, punitive, hopelessly luddite regulator.  It's easy to continue lovingly polishing the hideously complex snowflake your internal computing environment has become. It's far harder to look at the truth behind the hearsay, and to work out when doing something different might — or might not — be the better approach for your business, and its effort to win, serve, and retain customers.

My latest report, Bespoke Vertical Clouds Become Less Important As Public Clouds Do More, takes a look at some of the rationale for using vertical cloud solutions in these situations. Often — but definitely not always — you may discover that a generic public cloud provider will do the job just as well. Or maybe even better.

Making Sense Of Round One In The eCommerce War During The Festive Sales Season In India

Satish Meena

The first week of October witnessed the start of the holiday sales season in India as the big three online retailers — Flipkart, Amazon, and Snapdeal — launched high-profile sales. Originally started by Flipkart in 2014 as Big Billions day, this week witnessed a discount-driven war among the top three players.

Online retail in India has witnessed significant growth during the past five years, powered by highly funded online retail companies that bought growth through discounts. This gross market value (GMV)-led growth led to very high valuations and burn rates for retailers, leading some investors to question their long-term profitability. This has led to a slowdown in funding as well as cost cutting by online retailers in the past six months. Before the start of the festive season, Flipkart was looking to maintain its market share; Amazon was looking to take market share from Flipkart, Snapdeal, and smaller players; and Snapdeal was looking to find a place in the changing dynamics of India’s online retail market. 

Here are some of the key lessons from this festive sales season for the key players in the online retail market in India.

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The Data Digest: Do You Know Your New Technology Buyer?

Tyler McDaniel

For years, technology purchasing has been moving away from a central IT approach and into the business. Forrester Data shows that in North American enterprises, 73% of technology spending is either business-led or the business provides significant input into IT’s purchase — up from 71% last year. 

Clearly times have changed when it comes to technology purchasing, and business decision-makers (BDMs) are more critical to the process than ever. For example, North American enterprise BDMs reserve 41% of their respective budgets for technology purchases and expect to increase their total spend by 5% over the next year. 

When asked why they are spending more of their business budget on technology, North American enterprise BDMs cited three critical reasons. First and foremost, technology is too important for the business not to be involved:

Second, the rising expectations of customers require the business to push IT to keep technology current. And finally, business executives’ understanding of technology is increasing; so, they can interact more effectively with IT.

Thirty-nine percent of North American enterprise BDMs believe that “software is the key enabler for their business,” and helps them to engage with customers. This trend is even more prevalent in Europe and Asia Pacific, where 51% and 58% of BDMs, respectively, believe the same thing. This significant attitudinal shift will continue to shape how software is acquired, deployed, and used to drive business success.

So how can you capitalize on the widespread and significant changes to the B2B technology landscape?

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A Few Good CX-related Book Recommendations For CX Day

Tony Costa

As analysts, we frequently get asked by clients and practitioners to recommend books they can read on various CX topics. So, in the spirit of CX Day, we (the CX analysts at Forrester)  assembles a list of some of our favorite CX-related books to share with the A fewCX community. We hope you find them as inspiring and helpful as we have. Enjoy!

General CX

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Drunk History of Your Mobile Strategy

Ted Schadler

Everybody can name their favorite apps. But can you name even two mobile websites you love? We can't. So we stared into the awful maw of the mobile web to learn how to fix it. 65 companies signed up to help. Along the way, we found problems stemming from the journey you've taken to be in your customer's pocket.

My colleague Danielle Geoffroy brilliantly realized that it was a drunk history, so we wanted to share it with you.

  • 2008: "There's an app for that." Savvy developers jailbroke the first iPhone so they could build apps. Apple then launched the Apple App Store and chaos ensued as every developer and company piled on the apps as the mobile strategy. (And y'all invented the pub game, "there's an app for that.") You ignored the mobile web.
  • 2010: Responsive retrofits tiny-ize websites but miss the mobile moment. Agencies and creative developers swooped in to magically morph brands' giant desktop websites into "mobile-friendly" websites. But that strategy led to the quiet crisis that responsive web design is not mobile-first.
  • 2016: Apps are winning . . . just not yours. Forrester's data shows that US consumers used 26 apps last year and 26 apps this year. (Millennials use . . . wait for it . . . 28 apps.) Consumers have enough apps — they don't want more. What's worse, they spend 60% of their total mobile time (web and app) in just three apps — usually owned by Facebook and Google. 
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Customer Experience Q&A with Scott Jones, VP, Global User Experience Design, Expedia Worldwide

Harley Manning

In its early days, the online travel industry focused on speed, ease-of-use, and cost-effectiveness. That was a great start but it didn't go far enough:  Travel is a complex and often daunting purchase decision -- one layered with conflicting emotions like aspiration, excitement, and even fear. How has the industry evolved to deal with the emotional aspects of the travel experience? 

Scott Jones is head of user experience design for online travel giant Expedia.  Scott will be one of our featured presenters at our CXSF 2016, October 20-21. In advance of the event, we sat down with Scott to explore some key aspects of his role and Expedia’s CX strategies.

How has Expedia evolved its user experience to address the complex multidimensional context of travel planning?

Jones: Several years ago, in the wake of a rapidly changing consumer tech landscape, we recognized the critical need to make heavy investments in new technology and intelligence to stay innovative, relevant and nimble.

Since then we implemented a “test-and-learn” approach, which allows our teams to propose an idea, build the hypothesis behind it and implement a small test to understand the customer response. This approach, coupled with our expanded user experience research capabilities, has allowed us to learn faster and better understand the “why” behind our customers’ behaviors.

We have also built an innovation research lab on our property to conduct tests directly with customers. Using eye-tracking and facial-movement technology, we can now measure what and where people look at and why. This allows us to get a more nuanced understanding of what customers want and how to move them from browsing to booking.

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Why CX? Why Now? Happy CX Day, 2016!

Maxie Schmidt-Subramanian

Happy CX Day! As part of our CX Day celebrations, which include a very special episode of CX Cast, and a comprehensive CX reading list that doubles as a holiday gift buying guide for the CX pro in your life, we are launching a new report: Why CX? Why Now? 

In collaboration with my colleague, Sam Stern, we looked at why now is the time for CX pros to convince executives and colleagues at their organizations to double down on improving the customer experience. To make it a lot easier for you to message this across in your firm, we included an infographic that:

  • Conveys without a doubt how urgent it is to invest in CX because your customers, competitors and employees are changing!
  • Gives you six tangible business benefits from improving customer experience that will help you make the case for why CX drives business results. For example, Southwest Airlines, a consistent CX leader, has been profitable for 43 consecutive years, in an industry better known for red ink and bankruptcies.
  • Tells you which challenges most companies (and probably yours) face on the road to better CX. One example: More than half of CX pros said that their organization's culture impedes their success.
  • Shows the path to improving CX, starting from a CX vision, continuing with building CX competencies and strengthening your business technology foundation. 
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The Canada Customer Experience Index For 2016, Part 2: Emotion Holds The Key To CX-Fueled Loyalty

Roxana Strohmenger

Last week, my colleague Rick Parrish discussed the stagnation in CX for Canadian brands from our Canada 2016 Customer Experience Index™.

In this post, I’ll explore another big finding from our research: The way an experience makes customers feel has a bigger influence on their loyalty to a brand than the effectiveness or ease of the experience.

CX professionals often think that getting emotion right is simple: Make your customers happy, not angry. However, we find that anger and happiness do not have a very strong influence on customer loyalty. What does?

·         Making customers feel appreciated, confident, and respected drives loyalty. On average across the industries, if you make customers feel appreciated, for example, we see that 80% of them will advocate for the brand, 70% will stay with the brand, and 68% will increase their spending with the brand. In stark contrast, only 2% will advocate, 13% will stay, and 8% will increase their spending with the brand when they don't feel appreciated.

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Digital Government: Digitally Enabled, Not Necessarily Digitally Delivered

Jennifer Belissent, Ph.D.

The new eGovernment Benchmark 2016: A Turning Point For eGovernment in Europe? was published this week. Although many countries show progress toward the goals, the transformation is not happening as quickly as expected.  Public services are increasingly accessible, with 81% available online. However, one area that disappoints is user-centricity. While business-related services have improved significantly, citizen-related services lag particularly in ease and speed of use.  Results, however, differ by geography as delineated by a “digital diagonal” running from south-west to north-east. Those countries running diagonally through the middle of Europe seem to be digitizing more effectively. (See the figure to the right). Not all countries are transforming at the same pace – and not surprisingly.

I’ve been thinking a lot about “e-government” and “digital government” these days, and one thing bugs me: the push for online services. Yes, I like the convenience of being able to get things done online: renewing driver’s licenses, requesting permits, paying fines. But I also recognize that there are some things that might be better done in person. Yet not everyone has easy access to a government office.  My own regional administration is over an hour away by car, and I certainly don’t want to have to go there to get things done.  Therein lays a tension that isn’t necessarily solved by “digital services” but that can be addressed by “digital government.” 

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