Digital Experience Software: Best-Of-Breed or Suite? Yes.

Mark Grannan

by Mark Grannan and Ted Schadler (click to see his post)

The market for digital experience software is rapidly expanding -- as in thousands of vendors in the market – and it’s also converging on a core set of six core capabilities led by content, customer data, marketing, and commerce.

We call this convergence a digital experience platform: software to manage, deliver, and optimize experiences consistently across every digital touchpoint. The cloud, RESTful integration, the relentless demands of digital customers -- and the very high cost of product integration -- are driving this convergence.

So should enterprise organizations take a best-of-breed or suite approach for digital customer experience (DX) software? The answer is, at least for now, “yes.” Or rather, it depends on your specific needs.

In our second round of the Digital Experience Platform Wave, completed in Q4 2015, we sharpened our criteria around both core capabilities and portfolio integration and extensibility.

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Digital Experience Software: The Next Major Packaged Software Market

Ted Schadler
by Ted Schadler and Mark Grannan (click to see his post)
It happened with ERP in the 90’s. It happened with CRM in the 2000’s. It’s happening now with the digital experience software to serve up content and interactions on every screen along every step of a customer's digital journey. 
This highly fragmented and factured market -- amusingly and powerfully captured in Scott Brinker's chaos of vendor logos -- is starting to to converge and consolidate as major software vendors like Adobe, IBM, Oracle, SAP, and Salesforce as well as smaller vendors including Acquia, Demandware, EPiServer, SDL, and Sitecore build or buy the building blocks of a great digital experience. We just evaluated these vendors' digital experience platform portfolio in our Forrester Wave(tm): Digital Experience Platforms, Q4 2015.
Four forces are driving the convergence. 
  • First, digital consumers and business customers need consistent experiences across every channel, screen, and step in their journey. No more passoffs from marketing to commerce to service to loyalty. No more fractured experiences between online and offline channels. No more clunky mobile adaptations.
  • Second, content, customer, and analytics are core assets that span every product category. They are shared assets delivered as software components, no longer bound up in the delivery software.
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Mobile Solutions For The Internet Of Things Raise The Prospects For Edge Computing

Dan Bieler

Source: Forrester

I recently attended IBM BusinessConnect 2015 in Germany. I had great discussions regarding industrial Internet of Things (IoT) and Industrie 4.0 solutions as well as digital transformation in the B2B segment. One issue that particularly caught my attention: edge computing in the context of the mobile IoT.

Mobility in the IoT context raises the question when to use a central computing approach versus when to use edge computing. The CIO must decide whether solution intelligence should primarily reside in a central location or at the edge of the network and therefore closer to (or even inside) mobile IoT devices like cars, smart watches, or smart meters. At least three factors should guide this decision:

  • Data transmission costs. The costs of data transmission can quickly undermine any mobile IoT business case. For instance, aircraft engine sensors collect massive amounts of data during a flight but send only a small fraction of that data in real time via satellite connectivity to a central data monitoring center while the plane is in the air. All other data is sent via Wi-Fi or traditional mobile broadband connectivity like UMTS or LTE once the plane is on the ground.
  • Mobile bandwidth, latency, and speed. The available bandwidth limits the amount of data that can be transmitted at any given time, limiting the use cases for mobile IoT. For instance, sharing large volumes of data about the turbines of a large container ship and detailed inventory measurements of each container on board is completely impractical unless the ship is close to a coastal area with high mobile broadband connectivity.
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2016: CIOs And CMOs Must Rally To Lead Customer-Obsessed Change Now

Cliff Condon

In the coming weeks Forrester will publish its annual set of predictions for our major roles, industries, and research themes — more than 35 in total. These predictions for 2016 will feature our calls on how firms will execute in the Age of the Customer, a 20-year business cycle in which the most successful enterprises will reinvent themselves to systematically understand and serve increasingly powerful customers.

In 2016, the gap between customer-obsessed leaders and laggards will widen. Leaders will tackle the hard work of shifting to a customer-obsessed operating model; laggards will aimlessly push forward with flawed digital priorities and disjointed operations. It will require strong leadership to win, and we believe that in 2016 CMOs will step up to lead customer experience efforts. They face a massive challenge: Years of uncoordinated technology adoption across call centers, marketing teams, and product lines make a single view of the customer an expensive and near-impossible endeavor. As a result, in 2016 companies will be limited to fixing their customer journeys.

CMOs will have good partners, though. As they continue to break free of IT gravity and invest in business technology, CIOs will be at their sides. 2016 is the year that a new breed of customer-obsessed CIOs will become the norm. Fast-cycle strategy and governance will be more common throughout technology management and CIOs will push hard on departmental leaders to let go of their confined systems to make room for a simpler, unified, agile portfolio.

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Communication Is Key For Any Relationship

Tom McCann

This is a guest post by Erna Esa, a Research Associate on the Customer Experience team based in Sydney.

In the movie Love Actually, the chemistry between an Englishman (played by the very dashing Colin Firth) and a Portuguese housekeeper (Lúcia Moniz) was evident — but not having the tools to communicate in each other’s language left the pair feeling frustrated and annoyed.

Employees experience a similar type of frustration when they are not offered the opportunity to contribute to the conversations companies have about their customers. How do we know this? Well, we have found that 70% of information workers say that their job requires them to engage with or understand their customers but fewer than 40% of organizations in Australia and New Zealand systematically capture input from their employees about those interactions. That leaves a lot of employees who interact with customers and have knowledge of their company’s customer experience ecosystem without a structured, systematic way of telling their organization what they are seeing and hearing — and that’s frustrating.

Successful voice of the employee (VoE) programs have the potential to transform your organization into one in which talented, dedicated individuals strive to build a career. In many cases, these programs are inexpensive to set up and maintain, yet deliver considerable benefits when implemented across the entire organization. Forrester clients can read about these benefits in our latest report, Engage Employees To Nail The Customer Experience.

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Agile Development And Data Management Do Coexist

Michele Goetz

A frequent question I get from data management and governance teams is how to stay ahead of or on top of the Agile development process that app dev pros swear by. New capabilities are spinning out faster and faster, with little adherence to ensuring compliance with data standards and policies. 

Well, if you can't beat them, join them . . . and that's what your data management pros are doing, jumping into Agile development for data. 

Forrester's survey of 118 organizations shows that just a little over half of organizations have implemented Agile development in some manner, shape, or form to deliver on data capabilities. While they lag about one to two years behind app dev's adoption, the results are already beginning to show in terms of getting a better handle on their design and architectural decisions, improved data management collaboration, and better alignment of developer skills to tasks at hand. 

But we have a long way to go. The first reason to adopt Agile development is to speed up the release of data capabilities. And the problem is, Agile development is adopted to speed up the release of data capabilities. In the interest of speed, the key value of Agile development is quality. So, while data management is getting it done, they may be sacrificing the value new capabilities are bringing to the business.

Let's take an example. Where Agile makes sense to start is where teams can quickly spin up data models and integration points in support of analytics. Unfortunately, this capability delivery may be restricted to a small group of analysts that need access to data. Score "1" for moving a request off the list, score "0" for scaling insights widely to where action will be taking quickly.

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Forrester’s Security & Risk Research Spotlight: Stuck Between A Hack & Frustrated Customers

Stephanie Balaouras

Are passwords a dying breed? With every other organization getting hacked, many S&R pros would argue that if passwords aren’t dead yet, they should be. Yet many companies such as LogMeIn and LastPass continue to make strategic acquisitions, proving that interest in password management solutions remain high among enterprises and consumers (check out their press release, here.) It’s hard to have any confidence in a method that appears to be ineffective, frustrating, and highly outdated. Many companies are attempting to gain back consumer trust by offering voice biometrics, multi-step authentication methods, or other authentication alternatives to supplement or replace their existing policies.

Unfortunately, fraudsters are getting smarter and customers don’t want to spend more than 30-seconds logging into their accounts. With the addition of the multiple banking accounts, online shopping IDs, and social media platforms that almost every consumer uses daily, the challenge for these companies to keep all online accounts secure while also providing the painless log-in that customers are demanding can quickly turn into a catch-22. What is easy and convenient for customers is also incredibly insecure, thus making them the perfect bait for cybercriminals.

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Can Content Really Drive Commerce?

Sucharita  Mulpuru

In a recent study, we found that 70% of online retailers are investing in “content” in the coming year. What sort of content you may ask. Usually when they say “content” retailers mean videos, blog posts and magazine-like content that is best for consumers at the top of the shopping funnel. This type of content though is notoriously difficult to monetize though.  A number of companies like Babycenter in the late 1990s were the first wave of content-driving-commerce digital players to try this.  They quickly realized it was not only difficult to do but that top-of-the-funnel content was easier monetized through advertising.

But we’re in a different era now and that’s kicked up the possibility of new success from content.  We now have ubiquitous mobile devices with web connectivity, social networks like Pinterest and Instagram that thrive on content, and the disruption of the entire content industry (RIP, Lucky Magazine which was one of the hottest media properties in 1999).

But are things really that different now?  For all its attempts to drive commerce, even fashion darling Refinery29 could never make shopping happen.  One of the more recent torchbearers of content-commerce synergies, Thrillist-JackThreads, decided the businesses are better split apart than together.  

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Graduate-Level I&O Course: Use Customer Experience Insights To Unshackle Employee Potential

David Johnson
Enough of the platitudes about the virtues of being customer-centric, and the feel-good mantras about listening to customers. Everyone listens to their customers, but that’s not the same thing as operating like you do. Listening and understanding are hard enough in our interrupt-driven business world, but listening, deeply understanding and doing the right things...almost every nigh impossible. Yet somehow there are great companies who keep doing it, and chances are you know who they are. Maybe you’ve thought to yourself: “If I just knew what some of these great companies like Southwest Airlines or Toyota do differently, I could make a difference in my company." Well, here’s your chance, starting today, right where you sit in I&O. But first you must understand that it’s not what they do differently, but why and how they decided to do those things, because that’s their secret sauce and what you'll need to figure out for your company. Sam Stern and I offer some powerful tools to help you do that in our new report: Use Customer Experience Insights To Unshackle Employee Potential.
Customer experience is a product of employee behavior, and I&O shapes employee behavior
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Netflix Claims Earnings Are Down As Many Subscribers Cards on File Do Not Get Updated

Brendan Miller

On Thursday Netflix blamed card processing issues for disappointing subscriber growth. Netflix said the move by U.S. banks to replace hundreds of millions of credit and debit cards with new EMV chip-enabled cards this year has led to involuntary service cancellations as subscibers cards did not automatically renew when the new cards were issued.   It is estimated that 575 million new EMV chip cards are being issued to consumers in 2015*. Many of these new cards require updated account information to be collected by subscription or recurring businesses servicing the affected cardholders.  Although the cardholder’s account number may not change with the new card, the CVV and expiration date of the card most likely will change.

Do subscription type businesses that use Card-On-File need to be concerned they will also see increased declines?

Recurring and subscription billing merchants should be using Account Updater Services (as Netflix does) for updating new payment credentials. Over the past decade, the major card brands have introduced Account Updater services that allow merchants, via their processors, to submit card data on file to the networks for updating and correcting stale information. By utilizing these services merchants retain more customers and their customers enjoy uninterrupted service. Many payment platforms are now supporting this feature as a managed service to reduce the burden on the merchant of transmitting Card on file information to the processor.

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