Gene Phifer, vice president and distinguished analyst at research firm Gartner, and Jeanniey Mullen, global CMO at consultancy Mercer, came together at Dreamforce 2018 to discuss the role of a digital experience (DX) platform in the enterprise—including their own companies.
The landscape is full of bright, shiny digital objects these days, said Phifer. The question is, where do you invest your time and money? At Gartner, “we're doing DX to support our CX [customer experience] initiatives," he said. The platform enables them to sense the context of an interaction, understand the individual and assemble the content and services necessary to deliver the “best next" stop on the customer journey.
A big threat to the customer experience is the multiple silos that break up the typical business, placing sales in one group, e-commerce in another. “You must bridge them at experience, process, knowledge and data," Phifer said. But the chief obstacle to bridging an organization's silos is the task of moving people from a process-centric view to a journey-centric one.
That's where a digital experience platform comes in. It's not just about content, Phifer continued, it's an integrated technology platform to connect the “centers of gravity" in customer engagement. Built for agility, with consumerization as a guide to the experience you're trying to provide, the DX platform of the future will let a business develop a multichannel, multimodal, multi-device strategy for interacting with customers.
—Jeanniey Mullen, global CMO, Mercer
The future of DX is bright, Phifer said, with the promise of a personalized, contextualized, immersive, pervasive and transparent customer experience. But you have to prepare for it, starting with these steps:
- Understand your customer.
- Skate ahead of the puck—pay attention to where your industry and competitors are headed.
- Design for the future.
- Don't forget: People are key. You can't have a good DX without a good employee experience.
At Mercer, said Mullen, what they needed in order to move their digital transformation forward was situational awareness—awareness that their approach could be different. “We had to eliminate our institutional bias," she said, which meant starting by asking questions like: Who is the person coming to our website? What is the situation bringing them to our services? A business wanting to build and implement a DX platform needs to start with what the mission of the company is, she said.
Regarding best practices, Phifer said that the CMO has to be partnered with the CIO, CSO and the rest of the C-suite. For its part, IT has to act as a trusted advisor to the business. Mullen said that step one was to build the architecture, and then fill in the blanks as needed.
Asked when they knew their companies needed a DX strategy, Mullen said it was when someone would ask a simple question “and the team needs to run to several different reports and it becomes a week-long project to answer."
“Your customer shouldn't feel like you're giving them 'personalized attention,' but that you know them," she continued. To that end, remember to integrate old-school relationship tools as well.