Why your digital strategy needs a customer-centric, experience-based focus
Subject of thought by Jeff Staley
Perhaps motivated by a platform end-of-life, an executive edict, or an upswell of calls for change within your organization, a digital technology strategy is now on the agenda. Your organization wants to examine the technology infrastructure, platforms and programs and create a digital strategy to move forward. Great! Now, where do you start and from what perspective should you evaluate and assess your technology and develop your roadmap?
Planning for upgrades, increasing operational efficiency, focusing on cybersecurity, excelling at interconnecting systems, assessing the financial impact of systems and platforms, pursuing innovation, bolstering new revenue streams, all of these are traditional places to focus a digital strategy have one thing in common–they all in some manner are indirect steps from your organization's purpose–serving your audience. Whether that audience is customers, consumers, members or citizens, your organization is modeled to provide products or services to those audiences, and not just to run the most sophisticated and secure technology platforms, most modernized cloud infrastructure, or efficient CI/CD pipeline. So how do you create a digital strategy that answers the key traditional questions, but also clearly focuses on delivering the value to your customers?
Taking a customer centric, experience based lens to your digital strategy allows you to evaluate each component of your technical landscape to understand how it is either directly or indirectly supporting delivering value to your customers. By spending time incorporating customer experience insights and analysis into your digital strategy, you are able to prioritize those programs and projects that make an impact on the products and services you provide, and the experiences you offer.
For example, many companies are actively talking about personalization. This buzz word has been repeated across trade materials, vendors, and throughout the media, but has your organization discussed what it means for your customers? Do you have an organizational definition of personalization, and what it could mean as increased value, leading to increased revenue? By defining what a personalized experience could mean for your organization, you can sift through the tools and offerings to understand exactly which vendors, platforms, and internal programs can actually help. Defining those inbound customer intents that can be matched with the data you have available will help you to understand how you can provide contextual and personalized resources, content, and tools to meet the customer in the moment with a truly valuable experience. With the definition in mind and a general consensus on the goal, evaluating vendor proposals, assessing prioritization, and building a roadmap to deliver a maturing personalized experience from minimum viable product to an optimized experience is easier and more meaningful.
A clear understanding of your holistic customer experience and the underlying technologies used to support it is the first step. Developing a north star direction for your customer experience, including digital and human touch points, becomes the tool you are able to point your technology road map to achieve. By combining your north star experience and the underlying technologies needed to achieve the experience, your digital strategy is more meaningful, easier to defend, and able to be directly tied to the customer value it is intended to achieve.
Digital strategies come in all shapes and sizes aimed at answering many different questions, but ensuring your digital strategy includes a customer centric, experienced based lens can help your organization’s hard fought efforts to implement challenging programs result in tangible customer value. Investing in digital in any economic environment should be focused on what matters most–deliver value to your customers.