In Customer Experience Technology Implementations, “Go Live” Is Just The Beginning
Serving today’s digitally savvy consumers across all channels poses a major challenge for marketers. In most cases, meeting omnichannel requirements includes looking at whether the company needs to expand, upgrade, and replace its CX technology infrastructure. At the same time, the focus often shifts from implementing a specific software vendor’s product or platform for omnichannel to a “digital transformation” initiative. Marketers are even more eager to get these new technologies purchased, installed, and running as quickly as possible.
Yet in their haste and still operating with the product/platform mindset, companies tend to think about digital transformation as a finite project with defined start and end dates rather than as a strategic initiative. Their primary focus is on designing, developing, and going live with a new CX technology solution. This hyper focus on technology leads them to ignore the critical first step: assessing their organizational readiness. Do they have the right strategy, structure, processes, and people in place to meet their business objectives?
By overlooking the organizational readiness stage, companies risk failing to realize a return on their technology investment. Ultimately, there’s no measurable positive impact on revenue due to poor user adoption of new CX systems stemming from lack of readiness. Interdepartmental finger-pointing ensues. In some cases, the blame is placed on the technology solution itself.
To be successful, companies looking to new technology to help them meet omnichannel demands must rethink their approach to CX technology implementation. Executing an omnichannel strategy requires seamless and transparent interactions with customers regardless of the channel or touchpoint. This shift means giving up the traditional “build-launch-and-forget” view of technology implementations as projects that effectively end when the system goes live. Conceiving of a CX technology implementation where “go live” defines a midpoint rather than the end state is now imperative. How well is a company prepared for this organizational change?
To answer this question, start with an assessment of internal capabilities and then develop a plan for adding new capabilities that fill post-implementation gaps.
Determine organizational readiness for CX technology
In our new paper, “‘Go Live’ Is Just The Beginning: Digital Transformation Requires a New Approach To Technology Implementation,” (download is free with registration), we examine the capabilities that organizations need to enable omnichannel and a CX strategy.
- Analytics andreporting that can track and show customer journeys across channels;
- Personalization coordinated between different technologies, such as email and content;
- Back-office integration with legacy systems, either provided by a vendor or built in-house, of various ages and degrees of customization;
- Secure data capture that balances the desire to collect as much customer data with the risks of a security breach; and
- Documentation and redundancy that ensures mission-critical information is available at all times in case employees with valuable institutional knowledge change roles or leave the organization.
Some organizations may find they have these capabilities already or are willing to invest in developing them. But not all organizations have the resources or time and budget to cultivate them internally. In these cases, selecting an external service provider is a way to fill in capability gaps.
Identify the right digital transformation guide
Some service providers are stepping up to and developing practices that can fill the capability gaps beyond the “go live” stage of a new technology implementation. Firms that have historically focused primarily on implementing CX technologies – for example, digital agencies specializing in the implementing the products of one or a few vendors – are now expanding into providing non-technical services such as change management, employee training and coaching, and digital marketing and marketing operations. Such services have traditionally been the domain of management consultancies and marketing agencies. Choosing a digital agency to fill the non-technical gaps should, of course, include extensive vetting of their prior experience in these areas, their project management skills related to them, and their client service approaches.
An external partner that contributes to long-term success has proven abilities to support their clients’ success throughout the entire solution life cycle – from design to build to deploy through leverage to continuous adaptation. They have fluency in vendor technologies that goes beyond basic understanding of features and functions of different versions. They know how those technologies integrate with existing infrastructure that includes other vendor and home-grown solutions, how to troubleshoot and resolve problems quickly as they occur, and how to adapt and add on new technologies as the company grows and transforms.