How Mature Is Your Digital Experience Delivery Practice?

Application development and delivery (AD&D) groups must establish technical services and tools to enable marketing and business groups to deliver and optimize web and mobile customer experiences. But today, we’re falling well short of our goal. Forrester data reveals that 51% of marketing leaders believe that technology management groups don’t accelerate their path to success.

To help AD&D pros mature and better serve marketing, eBusiness, and other lines of business responsible for delivering customer experience, Forrester created a digital experience delivery maturity model based on interviews with senior AD&D leaders over the past 24 months. We found that success was tied to maturity not just in solutions deployed or development methodologies. Instead, success and maturity was based on four fundamental categories, many of which are technology agnostic:

  • Strategic planning. Digital experience delivery maturity is largely based on how well they have strategized, planned, and executed their digital experience delivery programs. This dimension will evolve from project-based work to a more comprehensive strategy that spans business, marketing, and technical teams.
  • People. Organizational support is a critical component to success for growing internal expertise and creating digital experience teams that are responsive to business needs. This isn't just limited to who you've hired to be on the team. Instead, people issues focus more broadly on organizational issues like organizational structure (e.g. do your developers sit in marketing? Within technology management?), collaboration, shared values, and services partner strategy.
Read more

Is Your Agency Or SI Trying To Sell You A Digital Experience Delivery Platform?

We recently published our digital experience delivery platform wave (you can find the blog post and accompanying report here).  These platforms have emerged to help solve customer needs around integration between digital experience technologies and data management.  

Over the past year, many agencies and systems integrators (SI) have also gotten on the digital experience platform bandwagon. These partners have been white labeling and directly licensing/selling digital experience platforms-as-a-service (PaaS). These solutions are typically built on the backbone of proprietary web content management (WCM) and eCommerce solutions (usually Adobe’s toolsets, though we found some notable exceptions built on Oracle and SDL), and are meant to provide an “as a service” model to delivering multichannel content- and commerce- driven experiences. Many, many services firms from both agency and systems integrators backgrounds have started to promote these solutions including well-known names like: SapientNitro, Publicis Groupe, Wipro, Infosys, Cognizant, Deloitte, and Capgemini.

Read more

Digital Experience Delivery Creates Many Organizational Headaches

Forrester recently surveyed 148 technology, marketing, and business professionals with decision-making roles in digital experience (DX) delivery technologies, and asked them about their strategies for the coming 12 months. In our recently published report, one of the more interesting trends we found was the “people” issues remain top of mind for most organizations. Our qualitative and inquiry data backs this up, as we often here that people, process, and cultural issues (not technology issues) have stifled progress towards delivering great digital customer experiences.

Our survey found that organizations were concerned about people issues such as:

  • Dividing up work between different groups. Digital experience has moved from a purely marketing centric function, to a decidedly cross business issue that touches everyone in the organization. This includes technology management, business, marketing, and sales groups. But this cross-business shift toward digital experience delivery presents significant challenges around coordinating work between various groups. Accordingly, this was the number one people-related pain point: 60% of respondents said dividing roles and responsibilities between marketing, technology management, and the business was their top challenge.
Read more

DAM Vendors Must Step Up To The Plate

Historically, digital asset management (DAM) has been a niche technology compared with other components of enterprise content management (ECM) and digital experience technology. This has changed dramatically over the last few years as many organizations are using DAM solutions to support digital experience and marketing-focused content and processes. 
 
In the wake of this change, most DAM vendors have fallen behind. Our latest 2014 DAM Market Overview found a few key areas in which vendors have particularly lagged behind: 
 
  • Most vendors are selling software technology, not solutions. Most vendors are in a race to support address functionality, scalability, and infrastructure needs. These are the core components of DAM technology, but they don't make it usable to the new marketing and line of business buyers. Usability must improve with features like drag and drop and HTML5 interfaces. Too many vendors have neglected investment in this area or mistake lightweight solutions with little functionality as an "easy to use" option. 
Read more

2014 Digital Experience Delivery Survey

Our application development and delivery (AD&D) team has recently launched our survey on digital customer experience initiatives, and we’re looking for information on your digital customer experience strategy and technology investments. Some of the questions we’d like to get answers to include:

  • What projects (if any) you have planned for this year.
  • Details about what those projects look like (e.g. budgets, staffing, and primary decision-makers).
Read more

The Future Of Digital Experience Technologies

Delivering great multichannel digital experiences isn't as easy as plugging in new software and calling it a day. Digital customer experience success comes from combining many elements: a big-picture vision, short- and long-term strategic planning, shifts in roles and responsibilities, and intelligent technology adoption and delivery. For application development and delivery (AD&D) pros and their business peers, the digital customer experience technology market matters because digital experience matters — both to organizations and to their customers. As your organization marches toward digital experience delivery, you must place technologies in their proper context.

In our recent TechRadar for Digital Experience Technologies, we advise AD&D pros to consider the following when thinking about planning their digital experience technologies:

  • It will be an integration--not a suite--story.  Many vendors promise a comprehensive customer experience management technology suite. But supporting customer experience is a broad discipline that includes everything from your contact center technologies to your marketing suites to the technologies that power your website. Right now, no one vendor has every single component — despite what they may claim. And even if they did, the vast majority of Forrester clients we speak with don't have the resources to rip and replace their existing investments, nor do they have the desire to be married to one vendor. Firms will instead look to best of breed vendors that are able to easily integrate with other solutions.
Read more

Organizing To Deliver Great Digital Experiences

Many have interpreted the customer experience imperative to mean that IT is dead and marketers are the future. We reject this. IT is far from dead. After all, what’s the point of great design and marketing strategy if you can’t deliver the right experience to the right customer based on factors such as location, device of choice, and place in the customer journey? Now more than ever, application development and delivery (AD&D) is vital to actually deliver experiences to customers, and the majority of organizations we interviewed agreed with this.

This means that AD&D pros need to sit at the forefront of business strategies around customer engagement by, among other things, empowering business and marketing professionals with the right applications and mastering analytics for better insights and experiences. Most firms we speak with aren’t organized to support this imperative. In preparation for our forum on Driving Customer Experience With Smart Technology Solutions, my colleague John Rymer and I are updating our digital organization research. So far, some of the things we’ve learned are:

  • New organizational models abound. Some organizations have their digital group within IT, while others have it under marketing. Others are paving new path, and have a singular group that combines customer experience, marketing, and business folks with technologists.
Read more

Key Findings From Our Site Search Market Overview

Although often overlooked, site search plays a vital role in your digital customer experience strategy. It helps improve customer self-service, increase sales conversion rates, and increase page views and site traffic. Accordingly, organizations are revisiting their site search technology decisions. They need site search tools that deliver more personal experiences to customers in ways including contextual results pages, promotions, recommendations, and dynamic browsing and navigation structures.

Our recent site search market overview  examined 14 site search solutions, including commercial solutions from Adobe Systems, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Apptus Technologies, Attivio, Coveo Solutions, EasyAsk, Google, HP Autonomy, Mindbreeze, Nextopia, Oracle, SDL, and SLI Systems. We also looked at the open source solution Lucene/Solr. Some of our biggest findings were that:

  • Search is more than processing queries. As site search technology has matured, vendors have started to branch out beyond core query processing to support overall trends like browsing and navigation, content presentation, customer self-service, product recommendation, merchandising, and local search.
  • The search vendor market is consolidating. As search technology has matured and moved into adjacent areas, the vendor search landscape has matured and consolidated, with many independent vendors getting acquired like Fredhopper (acquired by SDL), Omniture (Adobe),  and Endeca (acquired by Oracle). Other vendors have shifted focus; IBM has focused the Vivisimo product, for example, more on big data concerns. Despite this, some stalwarts and independent vendors remain on the market (e.g. Google, Coveo, Attivio).
Read more

What Is The Key To DAM Success?

In a world with increasing numbers of rich media assets and a diverse set of distribution channels, more and more organizations are taking a closer look at rich media management options. Despite this increased interest, most organizations I talk to have relatively nascent digital asset management (DAM) initiatives. To better help organization create mature and successful DAM strategies, I’m currently updating our 2011 report on DAM best practices. So far, the most successful organizations we spoke with said success was based on three main components:

  • Selecting the right technology vendor. Too many organizations we speak with treat DAM like a series of widgets. Certainly, customization often cannot overcome a misaligned DAM technology so feature functionality is important. But successful organizations look beyond a list of features. Instead, they look at criteria like vendor momentum, product road maps, enterprise customer references, integration strategies, vendor stability, upgrade path, and vendor strategic vision. You’ll have a long-term relationship with whatever vendor you choose, so make sure it has the features to get you by today, and a vision that will set you up for success in the future.
Read more

What's Next For Digital Customer Experience Tools?

Many enterprises we’ve spoken with have discovered that great digital customer experiences matter to their customers and ultimately have tangible bottom-line benefits. If you’re involved in delivering and executing great digital customer experiences, you’ll want to access Forrester’s new TechRadar report that digs into the diverse, rapidly evolving technology ecosystem that supports this strategic business imperative. My colleague David Aponovich recently wrote about the importance of these technologies. When sourcing these technologies, keep some of these key findings in mind:

  • Delivering contextual experiences is the holy grail for most organizations. This deeper level of personalization something organizations continue to strive for in order to deliver more relevant, adaptive, and predictive experiences to the customer. Technologies supporting contextualization dominate this TechRadar’s Growth phase.
  • Organizations need technologies that create business value out of a glut of data. The reality is that good content strategies rely on data to provide customer insights. Companies that effectively harness customer data, product data, social media data, and other information to create and deliver contextual cross-channel experiences will experience brand differentiation, customer loyalty, improved online metrics, and cross-channel revenue growth.
Read more