There isn’t an organization in existence today that hasn’t had some internal dialog about digital experiences, and for good reason. Digital experience investments, either in technology, people, or process (or all of those), represent a unique opportunity.
Done properly, digital experiences can drive higher revenue and act as a catalyst for change throughout an organization. An effective digital experience strategy can help win, serve, and retain customers, while leaving your competitors behind.
Done poorly, digital experiences become Black Swan events that can prove ruinous. Take departmental technology investments, for example. Let’s say your marketing team wants to do something new with mobile. They’re sold a get-live-quick suite that eschews elegant integration with core back office systems. This results in overlapping soiled customer data. Overlapping data leads to duplication, errors, and eventually failure. In the end, the digital experience suffers.
Sadly, this is not a far-flung scenario. In a recent survey by Forrester Research of 135 digital executives, respondents said they are seeing lots of barriers to success in customer-facing mobile and web experiences. Chief among them was a failure to effectively integrate people, process, and technology across an organization.
Monolithic technology stacks are driving a wedge between data views of the customer. Customer data silos are the biggest barrier to top-line revenue growth initiatives such as omnichannel and personalization. Customer data is fragmented between phases of the customer journey — lead generation, marketing, commerce, social, and support.
The solution is to treat integration as a strategic initiative. The question should not be does it integrate, but how well does it integrate.
Forrester advocates embodying integration, as a discipline and strategic goal, into a digital experience reference platform. A flexible, modular experience platform will help guide digital experience investments across organizational silos. In addition, the reference architecture will unify investments across the organization and from one project to the next.
This doesn’t happen overnight. Organizations must work on the engine while it’s still running. But taking stock of your foundational strategies, practices, and technologies will help lay the groundwork for creating exceptional digital experiences.
Harry Chemko is CEO of Elastic Path Software, a leading provider of commerce software designed to maximize revenue from the next generation of digital experiences.