Perficient Digital Transformation Blog


Digital Transformation Hindered by Data Quality

Not surprisingly, surveys point to a need for a customer experience makeover. A poll by Econsultancy in association with Ensighten referenced in the article “Why Marketers, Agencies Haven’t Mastered the Customer Experience” lists the following benefits to customer experience optimization:

  1. Higher engagement and conversion rates (by far the highest ranked)
  2. Better brand perception and loyalty
  3. Renewals, cross-sells and upsells
  4. Increased average order value

However, the survey also pointed to problems in that, “A single customer view is critical to providing a personalized and thus better customer experience. However, the study found that few respondents leveraged these for all marketing activities.”

Furthermore, “Forming a single customer view and improving the customer experience require data integration, and further results indicated that most respondents still struggled when it came to this. Just 10% of marketers and 8% of agencies had tied together customer data across channels, tools and databases.”

So we have an exciting opportunity to improve customer experience with tangible business benefits but data integration is a barrier to success. That’s not really a surprise, we have had islands of data with poor quality for many years. But as data becomes more visible to our customers, for example through a mobile apps, then poor data quality and data integration start to impact the user experience.

There are many tools available to profile and assess the quality of data. A review of data lineage, source systems of record and integration architecture will expose data synchronization issues. Before exposing data to your customers, perform a data quality assessment and see where there are gaps in quality, integration and timeliness. Start with customer facing data such as customer, item/product and order that will be needed early in a digital transformation program.

Posted in News

Amazon and the Internet of Things

I was speaking to someone who stated, “I’m not convinced about the internet of things.” To be honest, I hewed to that opinion for a while but as we see more examples of computing occurring outside of your desktop, tablet, and mobile devices I’m starting to change my mind.

The latest example of the trend away from the three mainstays came yesterday with Amazon’s announcement of Amazon Dash. It’s a cool concept for the number of times I’ve run out of some key product and am annoyed that I now have to go buy it. If all you have to do is press a button, then Amazon just gained a customer. Of course, the biggest complaint is the sheer number of buttons you may end up with. I mean, we all love the concept the Staples Easy Button, but that’s because it’s one button. I’m not sure that I’ll be happy with 15 buttons hanging around my home.

But here’s the bottom line: the Dash button pushes the transaction out of a traditional computing device deeper into other mediums, in this case, the physical medium …. just push a button.

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Posted in News

Factors for Successful Value Creation for Big Data Initiatives

One of the major challenges of Big Data initiatives is the Value Creation. What is the business value of the data in question and how to leverage it to successful business strategies. There are various factors influencing the successful value creation.

big_data factors

Source: McKinsey Global institute

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Change is in the Air

The strategy is complete, implementation of the mobile application andJigsaw-Change-Management analytical system is finished, data scientists are providing useful analytical research.  But is your enterprise getting the value out of your digital transformation investments?

A company’s culture, people, and business processes usually provide the largest barrier to realizing the value from digital investments.    Yes, we talk about change management, however, most times that change management is involved in a one-time event like the implementation of ERP system or rolling out a new Salesforce application.   Read the rest of this post »

Essentials for Transforming into a Digital Enterprise

shutterstock_223785412I recently got published in the Special Big Data Edition of CIOStory (see page 22), where I talked about the “six” essentials for transforming into an information-driven organization. Here, I extend that premise to the creation of an information-driven, digital enterprise.

Information is a hot commodity. Research suggests that in the next two to three years, businesses will begin to apply monetary value to their digital information assets by trading or selling them. Throughout history, this notion has been referred to as “Infonomics.”

The principles of Infonomics are based on the premise that information has both potential and realized economic value, which can be quantified and should be managed as an asset. The benefits in doing so include improving the collection and use of company information, determining how much to spend on business or IT initiatives, and improving relationships with customers, employees and partners by sharing better information with them. More and more organizations realize that the trick to experiencing these benefits by better managing assets, however, is to effectively apply the organization’s existing experience in managing other assets toward managing information assets. But, in order to get to that point, executive leadership (business and IT) needs to recognize the barriers to becoming an information-driven enterprise while focusing on certain fundamental strategy essentials.

If organizations are serious about improving the value and speed of information, they must consider the following six imperatives. Doing so will drive their organization’s ability to become an info-centric, digital enterprise:
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“IoM” Drives Digital

All of this focus on the Internet of Things (IoT) is really about the “Internet of Me” (IoM). From social media sites to smartphone apps and GPS systems, loads of data are being generated today about individuals – their interests, their travels, their behavioral patterns, their purchases, and so on. No one in this digital economy can afford to ignore the demands of the “me” generation. It is no longer good enough to tailor marketing based on customer demographics alone. All interactions now need to be customized to your customer’s specific situation and emotions.

With all of this digital interconnectedness, one thing that is very clear is that customer loyalty is at risk. Comparison shopping is as easy as a few mouse clicks, and previously loyal customers can quickly discover new products, new services and new vendors, and learn what other buyers like and dislike — all without ever leaving their laptops and other mobile devices.

Research shows that more than 50% of consumer interactions are now occurring in this multi-event, multi-channel environment. But, 65% of consumers get frustrated by companies that do not provide a consistent experience through these various media. Those firms that put a priority on the consumer experience and can provide consistency regardless of source have been shown to generate 60% in additional profits versus their less enlightened competitors.

The bottom-line is that a brand is no longer simply what we tell the consumer it is. “It’s increasingly what consumers tell each other it is.” So, how do you ensure brand competitiveness in such a volatile environment? Read the rest of this post »

Posted in News

A Dead Economist’s Argument for Cloud Computing

In 1815, after Duke of Wellington ends years of war between the United Kingdom and France by defeating Napoleon at Waterloo, the UK parliament passes the “Corn Laws” which prohibit import of cheap grain from France. The motivation is obviously to protect British land owner’s monopoly, but the argument for why the UK shouldn’t be buying French grain is based on Adam Smith’s principle of absolute advantage. British farmers can produce more grain than the same number of French farmers, so why would the UK be buying grain from France?

Portrait of David Ricardo by Thomas Phillips

Portrait of David Ricardo by Thomas Phillips

To refute this argument, a British economist David Ricardo described what is perhaps the most complex and counterintuitive principle in economics. It is called the theory of comparative advantage, and it feels more like a natural law than an economics principle. It is definitely worth studying in depth, but here we only have space for a brief example.

Imagine two castaways who must survive by fishing and gathering berries. One of them is competent, and it takes her 4 hours to catch a fish, and another 4 hours to gather 100 berries. The other castaway is anything but competent, and it takes him 6 hours to catch a fish, and another 6 hours to gather 60 berries. The competent castaway has an absolute advantage over the incompetent one in both fishing and berry gathering, and without considering opportunity cost it seems that she has nothing to gain from trading with him. But let’s see what happens if they specialize, and focus on what they each have a comparative advantage in. If she doesn’t have to fish, the competent castaway can gather 200 berries in her 8 hour workday. The incompetent one can catch 2 fish in his 12 hour workday. He will gladly trade one fish for 75 berries because he knows that he could gather only 60 berries in the time it took him to catch that fish, and she will gladly trade 75 berries for one fish because she knows that it would take her an hour longer to catch a fish than to gather 75 berries. They still work the same hours, each one still eats one fish per day, but he eats 15 more berries, and she eats 25 more berries each day. That’s the magic of comparative advantage. The extra 40 berries worth of value are created simply by specialization and trade. Read the rest of this post »

Financial Insights Into Costs For New Digital Applications

When I initially wrote my blog “Making Financial Sense of PaaS” it was to crowdsource my estimates comparing building and operating a new mobile application for a year using various platform architectures. The platform choices ranged from n-tier on-premise using licensed software to using a hosted PaaS. The blog resulted in some excellent conversation and feedback leading me to produce “Making Financial Sense of PaaS – Part Deux”, which illustrated the estimates for businesses that efficiently operate their data center resources.

These blogs have been very well-received by the community. Some have written in appreciation for raising the issue into public discussion. However, for me, the real surprising factors was the costs for a single mobile application. Most estimates I have done focused on the development and deployment costs, but few times have I been asked to show the operations costs over time. This analysis provided me with real insight into what businesses transforming into the digital world should account for in new application development. Additionally, it begs the question what does it cost to operate each individual application currently running in your business? Read the rest of this post »

The CIO Role in Digital Transformation

The CIO article, “Is it time for CIOs to step up and rule the digital world?” asks a good question. Can the CMO better lead a digital transformation and align IT with what is increasing a digital business than the CIO? This is an oversimplified question asking who but not what needs to be done? Specific to IT, what does the roadmap look like to achieve the digital transformation including removing aging IT systems that are a barrier to change? Modernizing IT systems is likely not what a CMO can do or even would want to do. IT and marketing must partner to achieve a digital transformation.

IT has been treated as a cost center for years if not decades. The result` is enormous technical debt. IT has been turned into package implementers and outsourced for over a decade and now, when deep technical capabilities are needed, technical competencies are hard to find. The CMO may have great ideas but when faced with aging systems, huge sunk costs, mismanaged data, inefficient processes and a lack of talent, they would become mired in the complexity that is the reality of most IT environments.

What is needed is for the CIO to modernize IT systems, clean up data and create agile processes so the CMO can deliver on a digital vision. A transformational CIO is needed and the mission of IT needs to change from cost containment to digital innovation. Does the CMO really want to deal with an aging ERP system, an out of date waterfall methodology, or moving CRM to the cloud? I don’t think so. And I don’t think the answer to achieving a digital transformation is in filling the execute suite. It’s going to take a lot of hard work to rationalize and modernize systems and information management. There needs to be a shift from keeping the lights on as economically as possible to a rapid transformation. The CIO and CMO need a shared vision for the digital transformation and a practical roadmap to get there.

The perceived lack of IT business alignment is caused by the misalignment of shared goals. Think about the goals of outsourced IT – reduce cost and stabilize systems to meet SLAs. This is a barrier to change! IT must have a goal of digital innovation and not cost containment to the point of sacrificing technical capability including systems, processes and human capital. A transformational CIO must share the same goals as the CMO.

The following is an excerpt from the CIO article:

The rise of the digital customer has sparked a battle among executives — namely, CMO vs. CIO — with lots of online sales at stake. In turn, this has led some companies to create new executive positions, such as the chief digital officer, chief data officer, chief analytics officer, chief marketing technologist and chief experience officer, all charged with taking a holistic view of the digital customer and reaching out across the enterprise…

Proponents of a new C-suite executive argue that the need for business-tech alignment is greater than ever. Companies must survive and thrive in a digital world where relationships with the customer, employee and supplier require emerging technology. The responsibility for this alignment has often fallen on the shoulders of CIOs, and every year for more than a decade CIOs have reiterated that this is their biggest challenge.

Posted in Adobe, Best Practices

Role of Customer Experience in Digital Transformation

David Stallsmith and I recently gave a presentation on customer experience as it relates to digital transformation. I like David’s viewpoint on any transformation effort must include an “outside-in” view of an organization. You can’t afford to look through already clouded glasses with only internal people.  Here’s a snippet.