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July 31, 2014

The Winning Connection: Customer Experience and Collaboration Are Tied Together

By Karen J. Bannan

Nearly nine out of 10 companies say they are undergoing a digital transformation, according to a recent report by the Altimeter Group, but the jury is still out on whether what they are doing is actually making a dent. In fact, it’s also unclear whether or not those investments are on track or simply investments for the sake of modernization. This is especially true since the road to transformation has many speed bumps — and one of the biggest is enabling cross functional collaboration and departmental collaboration.

According to the report, The 2014 State of Digital Transformation: How Customers Are Investing in the Digital Customer Experience, the research firm found that 88 percent of those surveyed say they are going through digital transformation but only 25 percent have mapped their digital customer journeys. In addition, 56 percent of companies surveyed find it “difficult to work with the right people to create a consistent experience and journey that stitches together seamlessly.”

One of the main issues, says Brian Solis, principal analyst at Altimeter Group, is that companies often put technology before mapping a desired outcome. When this happens they have trouble finding the right balance between technology, engagement and their desired experiences once everything is in place. “They’re more focused on function than on the greater vision of engagement,” he says. In addition, many companies simply confuse their digital investments with actual transformation. Technology should be an enabler, but instead it becomes the main focus, he says.

“In order to bring people together to work differently you can’t just tell them to [do it]. What we are finding is there has to be a case to bring people together and a greater sense of purpose before transformation can actually happen,” he says.

Solis says when companies map the overall customer journey – whether they are focusing on internal or external customers – they can then uncover opportunities that are unmet. It can also help bridge the gaps between those people who should be connected to make collaboration easier.

“As time progresses, you can measure investments against opportunities. Whether internal or external collaboration you have to understand who you are designing for and why and use technology as an enabler,” he says.

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