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.
  • Firms rely on digital agency help as an IT workaround. As a VP of strategy at a digital agency told us, “A lot of marketers are used to agency/client relationships where they’re the boss.” Even if IT staff is involved, they have only minimal involvement in the outsourcer selection process. IT groups will eventually support the technology that is put in place, so it must take a more active role when selecting a third-party partner.  
  •  New skills are needed. This isn’t your traditional AD&D group anymore. Organizations will need new or changing roles for digital experience delivery, like digital intelligence experts, mobile developers, and front-end developers.
  • The culture is evolving. IT groups, traditionally focused on standards, security, and stability will need to loosen up. Innovation requires risk, and IT cultures are changing to accept this. This evolution of your culture, one that your interactive marketing partners will insist on, will likely be your most difficult challenge — and not just because cultural change is always hard. For most organizations we spoke with, it’s a balancing act. You must relax your standards for integrity, planning, and quality — not too much, not too little, but just enough.

We’ll discuss these issues and much more at our upcoming fall forum, where we’ll release a report detailing our findings on how firms are moving to support digital experience delivery. In the meantime, we’d love to hear your comments below.



I am very interested in hearing how this conversation progresses.

"Customer experience

"Customer experience imperative" -- I like that :-)

Nice piece, Anjali. The research for our report on service providers for customer experience management (CEM) also surfaced the need for IT and marketing to cooperate in order to make CEM strategic -- after marketing's understandable but chaotic technology buying spree.

Innovation and Risk and CE

I could not agree more. Innovation requires risk. If anyone wants to be ahead and not follow in someone elses shoes they have to take risks and be willing to learn quickly from failure.

That is not todays IT procedure and therefore business does not like to involve IT in these digital CE projects. This collides with the 'single view of the customer' which is a focal element of imprving CE. A typical hardcoded app is nothing else but a silo.

Some business analysts believe that standardizing customer facing processes will increase quality when exactly opposite is the case. Individual service provides quality.

So there is an even larger change needed on the strategic end to even allow technology to improve customer experience.

Skills required and use of Agencies

Interesting article. The challenge that most organizations are facing is the required skills. With lack of knowledge, most companies are forced to rely on agencies to fill the gap while their own staff end up being governors and they will eventually loose the thought leadership that is required for real innovation.

I strongly believe in upgrading your IT staff's know-how and use agencies for commodity work. is a great example of raising awareness on the importance of learning basic programming skills that will improve the knowledge base in the long term. These days several boot camps have sprung up that provide very targeted training such as devbootcamp, WeDevelop-it etc. Organizations must look at innovative ways to keep their staff up to date..