Closing The Experience Gaps Requires New Technology Architecture And Philosophy

John McCarthy

Forrester’s Customer Experience Index (CXi) research reveals a shocking business result: Over five years, CXi leaders outperformed the S&P with 43% stock growth, while CXi laggards had negative returns of -34%. (See this Forrester report to learn about our new customer experience index.)

As a result, firms are in an arms race to mobilize their services, deliver new digital capabilities, and delight customers on every step of their journey. eBusiness, marketing, and customer experience teams are eagerly adopting new software to deliver these digital experiences. At times, they chose a conscious uncoupling from the CIO’s team in order to move quickly and stay ahead of customers’ expectations.

Unfortunately, the mismatch of customer-facing teams scrambling to build new digital services while CIOs and their teams hunker down to cut cost and risk has caused a disconnect on the role of technology management in delivering great experiences. In a new Forrester report, Closing The Experience Gaps, my colleague Ted Schadler and I interviewed more than 35 companies and analyzed survey results from 3,502 US consumers, we uncovered this misalignment and identified the four experience gaps that result (see Figure 1).

Figure 1 Experience Delivery Requires A New Architecture And Philosophy

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The Future Of Government Is Digital

Nigel Fenwick

Last March, we published The Future Of Business Is Digital and predicted that all businesses must evolve to become digital businesses. Since then, many CIOs in government agencies have asked about the role of digital in government. And yesterday, on The White House Blog, the president made it clear where he stands: The future of government is digital!

In announcing the creation of the US Digital Service, President Obama is reinforcing the need to bring greater agility to federal technology management in service of citizen taxpayers who foot the bill.

"A core part of the President’s Management Agenda is improving the value we deliver to citizens through Federal IT. That’s why, today, the Administration is formally launching the U.S. Digital Service. The Digital Service will be a small team made up of our country’s brightest digital talent that will work with agencies to remove barriers to exceptional service delivery and help remake the digital experience that people and businesses have with their government."

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Bridging The CIO/CMO Disconnect In Asia

Fred Giron

It’s a fact: Marketers in Asia purchase digital technologies without involving the tech management department. They do it because they believe that:

  • Digital technologies are key enablers of successful marketing strategies. Customers in Asia Pacific in general, and in Singapore in particular, are always connected and empowered by technology to access the right information in their moments of need. They increasingly value — and do business with — organizations that provide them with experiences that are effective, easy, and emotional across all customer touchpoints. It’s not a surprise, then to see marketing professionals — just like their colleagues in sales, product management, and customer service — source digital technologies to enable such experiences.
  • The tech management department hinders their business success. This is the more worrying part, but if you take a step back, as a technology management professional, you understand why. You work with technology life cycles that are oriented toward core business, back-end systems like enterprise resource planning and therefore are risk-averse and slow. However, marketers need tech management professionals who are open to innovation, experimentation, and moving toward a risk-tolerant, agile life cycle that supports digital experience delivery.
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Next-Generation Services Create New Sources Of Competitive Advantage

Fred Giron

Companies understand the urgency of ramping up their business technology (BT) capabilities to help the business innovate and grow. Increasingly, they realize that they cannot do this alone and firms will require partners that can help deliver agile services that bring fast and predictable outcomes to the business. For instance, Bharat Light and Power (BLP), one of the largest clean energy generation companies in India, signed in late 2013, a 10-year engagement with IBM to build a new business capability that aims at nothing short of transforming the utility sector in India. In a few words (more details are available in this report), BLP and IBM are creating an open energy service platform that will help BLP understand how to optimize the utilization of its wind turbines. The really interesting part for me lies in the way the company intends to leverage the information generated by this platform as the basis of its competitive advantage. The energy service platform will indeed act as an expertise repository that BLP can leverage to:

  • Increase the value of its own assets. As the company operates, grows, and optimizes its own asset efficiency, it learns how the climate, power grid, and wind turbines influence a vital business metric for a utility company: the plant load factor (PLF). This will allow the company to generate more revenues from its existing assets.
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Customer Privacy Is A European CIO Priority

Dan Bieler

With Enza Iannopollo

Customers value tailored offerings. And consumers are increasingly aware of what Forrester calls the “privacy-personalization paradox” — that is, the paradox between their desire for personalization and their desire to keep their data private. A 2013 survey by Populus for Sky IQ of 3,097 UK adults found that 51% believe it is useful for brands to know some information about them, and 53% trust brands to act responsibly with their data. The same survey reveals that 79% respondents are careful about the type of information they pass to organizations, 63% worry about how much personal data they have revealed online, 48% say that data privacy is an issue they think about, and 46% do not trust social networks with their personal data.

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Regulators Navigate New Data Sources To Better Know Their "Customers"

Jennifer Belissent, Ph.D.

I had a fascinating inquiry this morning with a government securities commission (not the SEC and not in the US).  The client had a classic question about how to navigate the new data economy.  The commission produces and consumes large volumes of data but continue to struggle to answer persistent business questions like how well they are doing or even who they are doing it for.  Yes, securities commissions regulate securities markets; they monitor publically traded companies, investment houses, and brokerage firms. Howevver they continue to ask, “for whom?”  Who are the investors that they are protecting with their regulation?  As they expressed the question, “How do we know what Mrs. Smith is investing in?” They currently work with several large data providers who provide financial information on companies but that information wasn’t exactly what they were looking for. Essentially, in this Age of the Customer, they want to know who their “customers” are.  This was a question about how to best serve their customers, in this case the investors. 

They wanted to know how to source additional third-party data that would give them a clearer picture of the investors that they are serving.  Census data provides a wealth of information about households and individual finances. But the data teams at the commission are not experts in navigating census data.  Data providers like Thompson-Reuters provide data on the financial services industry. Others such as Experian or Acxiom provide information on consumers.  What kinds of other data providers can help them with their data strategy to answer that basic question of how to better serve their customers, and who they are? 

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Concur Delivers Mobile Travel Moments on a Cloud Technology Platform

Ted Schadler

The following is an excerpt from The Mobile Mind Shift, Groundswell Press, 2014, pages 153-4. Click here for more on Forrester's mobile mind shift market imperative.

Steve Singh knows about the challenges of building technology platforms for great mobile moments. He learned them honestly by moving his entire company and its customers to a cloud technology platform.

Steve is CEO and co-founder of Concur Technologies. Concur helps businesses and government agencies manage their corporate travel bookings and expenses.

Concur’s technology platform, which Steve calls the Concur Travel and Expense Cloud, is designed for the demands of mobile moments: It supports applications that make it easy for travelers to focus on a few tasks and complete them quickly. Travel and expense (T&E) software is by its nature complex, but at Concur, the complexity remains behind the scenes in the servers, not in the user interface because busy travelers and business expense managers have no time to puzzle out complexity. To make this work, Concur invests 40% of its research and development budget in the applications and 60% in the cloud technology platform that provides the services.

The success of the strategy and technology platform is reflected in the rapid growth of his company, from a startup in 1993 to more than $540 million in revenues in 2013.

Concur’s cloud technology platform delivers four benefits.

  • First, because the Concur software running in the cloud is the same for every customer, developers working on it can fix problems continuously and roll out new services daily.
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For CIOs The Journey To Digital Business Begins With The BT Agenda

Nigel Fenwick

Digital FootprintIn “Unleash Your Digital Business”, I highlight the need for all companies to embrace digital business as a new business model – one in which the nature of the value exchange with customers is fundamentally changed. Since then, CIOs frequently asked me what they should be doing to help their firms become a digital business.

The answers lies in the difference between Business Technology (BT) and Information Technology (IT). BT focuses on the systems, technologies, and processes to win, serve, and retain customers. Whereas IT focuses on the systems, technologies, and processes to support and transform an organization’s internal operations. To become a digital business CIOs must adopt the BT agenda.

Our research on digital business highlights the need for the organization to focus on six core digital strategies that drive digital customer experience and digital operational excellence in support of customers. Each of these strategies is an integral component of the CIOs BT agenda:

  • Digitize the end-to-end customer experience
  • Digitize products and services inside the customer’s value ecosystem
  • Create trusted machines
  • Digitize for agility over efficiency
  • Drive rapid customer centric innovation
  • Source enhanced operational capabilities within a dynamic ecosystem
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Facebook's Mobile Ad Revenue Signals The Escalation Of The Mobile Mind Shift

Ted Schadler

Facebook's steely revenue march is fueled by mobile ads: 62% of Facebook's Q2 2014 advertising revenue came from mobile ads, up from 41% just a year ago. This ad revenue may still just be a paper castle waiting to fall -- my colleage Nate Elliott's analysis that Facebook is still failing marketers suggests that. But right now over a billion people around the world -- 81% of its entire member base -- access Facebook on mobile devices every month, twice as many as did just two years ago (see Figure 1). And they are seeing ads.

Source: Facebook

I see three important conclusions stemming from Facebook's results:

  1. The mobile mind shift is hitting critical mass around the world. People increasingly engage with people, information, and services on their mobile devices first. Forrester forecasts that 2.4 billion will have smartphones by 2017, twice the number as in 2012. So if your customer isn't mobile today, they will be soon -- across every generation. Firms must serve their increasingly impatient mobile customers with great mobile experiences. It's what our book, The Mobile Mind Shift, is about. Facebook is both driving and benefiting from the mobile mind shift as it delivers ever-more services on the devices people crave.
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Should You Buy More Infrastructure Or Subscribe To A Cloud Service For Videoconferencing?

Philipp Karcher

Videoconferencing infrastructure connects videoconferencing endpoints — the conference-room-based systems, desktop clients, and mobile apps people use to join meetings. By prioritizing solutions that make the technology available to all employees with a simplified guest access model for partners and customers, organizations can make the case that video enhances collaboration and improves business outcomes.

Our Wave evaluation of videoconferencing infrastructure and cloud services vendors includes the 10 most significant OEMs: Acano, AGT, Avaya, Blue Jeans Network, Cisco Systems, Lifesize, Pexip, Polycom, Videxio, and Vidyo. The vast majority of systems integrators, telcos, and conferencing specialists with video offerings actually resell, white-label, or stand up their own services based on these evaluated vendors' products.

A key tenet of the evaluation was to include BOTH vendors that sell infrastructure and vendors that focus only on the cloud. It’s important to compare both camps because large enterprises want to know which vendors can help them extend or replace their existing investments in infrastructure on premises. A key finding from our research is that there are indeed many large enterprises logging 1 million minutes or more of videoconferencing from cloud services per month, and some replacing their large deployments of infrastructure with cloud services entirely. Alternatively, some are setting up their own "private cloud" environments with virtualized infrastructure.

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