In part one of this six part series; I focused on Holistic Strategy – the first step on the digital enterprise journey. In part two, the focus shifts to experience-based differentiation. With the rapid commoditization of products and services, the speed at which new market entrants emerge, and the rise of Consumerization, experience is the new battle ground. When I talk of experience, I mean stakeholder experience. Ultimately, it’s about creating differentiated customer experiences – but to get there, the experience we create for our employees and partners is critical to that end goal.
Engagement is the foundation of our experience road map. We create experiences through engagement – and with the right experiences, we create trust. That holds true for any stakeholder in our ecosystem. As we move away from command and control models towards edge interaction that is value-based; trust is the critical ingredient. This places great importance on the systems of engagement that we develop in the next five to ten years, and puts this effort at the top of the priority list.
To create an engagement foundation that delivers experience-based differentiation, strategy is a critical first step. The experience vision must align with company strategy and brand attributes, and the brand experience should be evaluated and envisioned from the stakeholder perspective. Experience design should be informed by stakeholder insight and co-created with all stakeholders. This shifts experience design to an edge-driven model where the core adapts – a complete reversal from previous design principles. As most of us that have lived through the ERP and process reengineering days can attest, the core drove design and the edge adapted. The most effective way to co-create is through visualization. The experience delivered should be envisioned and visualized as a way to ensure that all stakeholders can clearly see the intended experience. Journey maps and real world personas are common practices that should be used in the design phase, as we look towards customer behaviors, motivations, and rewards derived from insight.
The true obstacles lie in the execution of the experience strategy and design. This is at the core of my premise that significant structural changes lie ahead. Traditional companies are not structured to deliver consumer-like experiences – and let’s face it, we’ve all been conditioned to expect them. How many companies are structured to deliver on these digital enterprise characteristics:
- Open, agile and collaborative
- Able to listen, adapt, & respond
- Fast, iterative and experimental
- Powered by creativity and ideas
And yet, delivering experience-based differentiation will demand that we exhibit these characteristics. Therefore, we must align internal activities and structures to support the experiences we intend to deliver. At the end of the day, it comes down to fostering collaboration and integration within the company and making experience a core competence. There are several practices that companies are embracing to get there, like establishing cross-functional teams or creating new executive roles. By placing the customer at center of our existence, we can drive towards the in-the-moment effectiveness so critical to any experience strategy. So that brings us right back to the foundation – systems of engagement. How we address the foundation defines our success or failure. These systems must analyze customer experience across unified data sets and simplify and align process to customer touch points. They must eliminate interaction fragmentation and break down data silos in order to inform every interaction with context.
The last piece of the experience road map is measurement. We must identify the aspects of customer experience that drive the intended outcomes and then effectively measure the return on customer Experience (RoCx). It is critical that we define and delineate customer value from company value and define goals and metrics for each touch point.
That’s a look at the experience-based differentiation piece of our digital enterprise road map. Part three will focus on an integrated social ecosystem.