Perficient Digital Transformation Blog


Mobile is at the Top of CEO’s Agenda for Digital Transformation

You’ve probably heard a lot about mobile in the past two years.  In PriceWaterhouseCoopers 18th annual Global CEO Study (2015), 81% of CEOs said that mobile technologies are strategically important to their business.  PWC says, “The sheer ubiquity of mobile devices today has revolutionised customers’ ability to obtain information – which has, in turn, transformed how they perceive value and the type of relationships they want to have with companies.”

PWC Technology Infographic

Everyday we see more and more evidence that mobile has to be a top priority for large and small companies. Not only are the sheer numbers of mobile devices and mobile users increasing every day, but the reliance on these devices increases every day.  Merkle RKG produces a quarterly Digital Marketing Report that has lots of information about where advertisers spend their money and the resulting consumer clicks. Here are some interesting data points from Merkle RKG’s first quarter 2015 report:

  • Mobile Paid Search Ad Spend was 32% of all ad spend in Q1.  That’s up from under 20% in Q1 2013.  Advertisers have increased buying mobile ads 60% in just two years.
  • 44% of paid search clicks on Google came from mobile devices.  So almost half of all ads clicked were ads displayed on mobile devices.
  • Desktop ad clicks dropped another 4% in Q1 on top of a drop of 3% in Q4 2014.  At the same time, phone clicks were up 42% in Q1 and tablet clicks were up 9%.  Tablet clicks were at 28% in Q4 2014, so the growth rate for tablets has slowed.
  • Mobile Organic Search Clicks accounted for 45% of all clicks in Q1 2015.  That’s up from 34% in Q1 2014.  That’s a 32% increase in just one year.

From those numbers it is clear that mobile devices are important to advertisers and search engines. From the click rates, it is also clear that mobile is very important to consumers.

But what if you haven’t jumped on the mobile bandwagon yet?  Will that hurt you? If you don’t really participate in paid advertising or paid search, does this matter to you?

Well Google is about to make that pain more real for companies who don’t make their sites mobile- friendly.  Google has decided to include “mobile- friendly” in its rankings for search results.  If your site is not mobile-friendly, then your ranking will drop on Google.  While your Search Engine Optimization efforts over the past few years have moved you up in the search results, this new designation will drop you back down.  How real is this mobile-friendly ranking?

According to Merkle RKG, Google has identified 29% of the Internet Retailer 500 websites as not mobile-friendly.  For all Fortune 500 websites, 46% do not meet Google standards for mobile-friendly.  Wow, half the Fortune 500 websites are at risk if they don’t revamp their sites.

It should be clear why 81% of CEOs think that mobile is strategically important. Not only are there a lot of mobile devices, but consumers, advertisers and Google are paying a lot of attention to content delivered on mobile.

How George Proposed to Jane & Why CIOs Should Care: 2 of 2

We are not too far away from that kind of scenario playing out for all of us every day. Maybe three to five years, if not sooner.  This is coming and it WILL require a change in how organizations need to evolve to market, sell, deliver and support their customers  As companies design their support sites they are going to have to consider how the data they have about customers will be used,  not just by their own company but by other companies in a common data cloud. They will need to know and understand and proactively support and engage customers like George. They will also still have to know how to engage the more old-fashioned customers like me too, perhaps less proactively.  And they will have to do this seamlessly over multiple devices and across multiple sessions.

In addition to an inclusive strategy that embraces data, companies have to have a culture that supports that approach. As Peter Drucker said, “Culture eats strategy for lunch.” The CIOs, many of them at this time still baby boomers, will  have to be open and ready to support and market to millennials.  It’s a new way of thinking for many of us.  It’s about engagement, connectedness, and personalization – in exchange for benefits.

The companies that do not get this will not last. I was shocked to hear seventy percent of the companies that were Fortune 500 companies in 1990 are now gone! Fifty percent of the companies that were Fortune 500 companies in 2000 are now gone. The message seems to be evolve or die. We have to move from just gathering information to displaying it in the correct context at the correct time. To sharing  it and making inferences from it. Support centers will have to move from solving problems to predicting them. George will not call about his missing camera. He will be called about it. And software companies have to offer the ability to easily integrate cloud data to allow for these sorts of inter-organizational sharing scenarios. There will no longer be your cloud or my cloud. There will be one huge data cloud.

When you consider the behind the scenes computing involved in the scene above, you realize that Cloud is the only choice… it’s the only way that companies will be plugged in enough themselves to support customers like George. Another statistic I picked up is that the average company spends about 82% of its IT budget just maintaining existing services. On top of migrating from on-premise strategies to the cloud CIOs will have also have to consider both the business technology and the IT structure and see where the human data can be used to help drive appropriate and contextual and deep engagement. And that will drive revenue so that the companies in business today are still around tomorrow.

How George Proposed to Jane & Why CIOs Should Care: 1 of 2

So many of the conversations from the Oracle Modern Customer Experience conference in Las Vegas are still on my mind. Many participants focused on how companies design the CX experience for the millennial generation. It was eye opening and frankly, also a bit perturbing.

It was perturbing because as a baby boomer I don’t always understand how millennials think. In general, as baby boomers we want to be the ones to initiate our exchanges with the companies we patronize. We usually don’t usually want the people we buy from to have a deep and personal understanding of us. The idea of a company having personal information, combined with them reaching out to us, proactively makes many of us especially uncomfortable. Privacy and even a sort of anonymity are important to us.

Yet, paradoxically many of us would still prefer a real person on the other end of a phone call instead of an automated system. We tend to get comfortable using one channel or another and mostly stick with that. And in general we still segregate the marketing, buying and support experiences. We tend to be more likely to forgive a company for a bad experience. And if they make it right we will forgive them even more. We are loyal to our brands and will associate ourselves with them to some extent. Most of us don’t have thousands of followers on social media and even if we did, many of us don’t use social media to discuss our experience with a particular business. We tend to be more private than that. As a group we generally don’t want to ‘make trouble’ for the person on the other end of the line.

Millennials see the world differently. Millennials as a group don’t want to have to reach out to a company. They want the company to reach out to them. They are aware of the value of their personal data. Most are more than happy to share some personal information but when they do they expect to get something back in return. Personal engagement, rewards, and personalized proactive offers matter to millennials. It makes them feel recognized and rewarded for the valuable customers they are. Theirs is the age of proactive engagement, instantaneous exchange and immediate gratification. And that has to come consistently over any channel whenever it is wanted. They tend to be connected on a variety of devices and expect to be able to switch channels even during the same interaction and still have the same experience. Loyalty, what’s that? One bad experience even if made good can turn a millennial away. They expect vendors to anticipate their problems and meet their needs before anything ever gets to be a problem. They do not hesitate to reward or punish their vendors publicly on social media. And who wants to have to talk to a real person when you can work with an online system on your own so much more quickly? Read the rest of this post »

Change Management in an Agile World

The Agile method of IT project management has become increasingly popular over recent years, and rightfully so – it is a fantastic way of developing a new or improved technology.  It’s incremental and iterative approach allows for quality deliverables at project completion.

This methodology, however, has caused many a headache for Change Management practitioners, who want to know what is coming when so that users may be prepared through communication, training, and other adoption techniques.  The challenge for Change practitioners is that frequently (usually), our IT counterparts in on an Agile project are can’t commit to end product details, features, timelines, or seemingly anything else.

However, just as technology methodologies evolve, so do Change methodologies.  As Change practitioners, we have learned to work in a world that is uncomfortable for us (yes, we eat our own dog food sometimes!).  It does mean that we must do some things differently than we have with the past.

When it comes to communications, we can’t communicate what hasn’t been decided, but we can communicate what we do know.  On training, we usually can’t develop detailed training artifacts with screenshots or other static content due to the dynamic nature of the technology in production, but we can build interactive training activities that will prepare users just as well.  It’s just a different approach that when planned and executed appropriately can be very successful.  In fact, some would argue that Change Management on an Agile project can actually be more effective than on a more traditional waterfall project.

There is a catch though – Change practitioners must be involved early, even at the outset, of an Agile project.  While arguably this is no different than a waterfall project, it’s critical for an Agile project.  Due to the iterative, constantly changing, definitional nature of Agile projects, Change practitioners can’t wait to start creating deliverables when everything is “figured out.” Change deliverables become more iterative than ever, and thus, Change practitioners must become an integral member of the project team.

Yes, Change Management can be done, should be done, and done well, for Agile projects.  Engaging the right resources at the right time will go far in enabling a prepared user force will lead to what is sure to be a great overall implementation.

The King’s New Ship – A Change Management Metaphor

Change Management is vague, frequently misunderstood term in business today.  I spend a lot of my time helping clients understand what we’re talking about when we talk about Change Management, and more importantly, imparting its value and the criticality of this discipline on projects today.  I heard a great metaphor this morning for describing Change Management, and it goes like this.

One day, the king commissioned his shipbuilding team to build a bigger, better, and faster ship.  The new ship could transport much more cargo each month, increasing the revenues for the kingdom, and would require 100 men to row.  The king invested a significant amount of money from the royal treasury, and the ship was ready to sail at the prescribed time. 

However, no one had recruited a crew, nor had anyone been trained how to operate the new vessel.  After all, that wasn’t the job of the shipbuilder.  So the ship sat in the harbor, moored to the pier, for more than three months.  The ship, with it’s promised huge financial returns, was currently producing nothing, and actually, the overall return was negative when building costs were included.

Finally, a skeleton crew was a assembled, and the ship made it’s maiden voyage 90 days after construction was completed.  Unfortunately, with less than half of the crew required to operate the ship at it’s designed specification, the ship sailed at a much less than optimal speed and could only make half of the “promised” voyages each month.  Work continued on recruiting and training the new crew, and nine months later, a full year after construction completed, the desired returns were beginning to be realized.

When we implement systems, we face the same risks as the king.  Studies have shown that for most projects, the technology is usually delivered on time and on budget (or close to it), and that failure results from a lack of user readiness.  In the metaphor above, it took the king a year to begin operating at optimal capacity, and the lost productivity further eroded his target ROI.  When we implement a system, it is critical that our users are ready on Day 1, or thus, we face the same challenges of an eroding ROI.  Change Management is the discipline that helps ensure that our target audiences are ready, willing and able to perform at go-live.  Can we afford not to invest in these practices?  Our investment depends on it!

The ABCs of Change Adoption

At this morning’s Association of Change Management Professionals (ACMP) conference keynote address, New York Times Best Selling Author Daniel Pink gave us insight into the shift in the ABCs of selling.  In the business climate of yesterday, where the sellers had the information and the mantra of “Buyer Beware” reigned, the ABCs for sales folks stood for “Always Be Closing.”

More recently, with all of the data that has become available, buyers have regained the upper hand, and we now live in a world of “Seller Beware.”  In this system, the “new” ABCs are:  Attunement, Bouyancy, and Clarity.

  1. Attunement:  Are we in touch with the other party’s perspective (or is it all about me)?
  2. Buoyancy:  How well do I react to rejection?
  3. Clarity:  Can I make sense of the information available to me?

While Pink geared his comments towards selling, similar thinking (and the same ABCs) can be applied to the Change Management practices and gaining user adoption.

  1. Attunement:  Am I looking at THIS project for what it will mean for THESE users and how it will impact them?  If so, am I gearing my messages, and potentially trainings, to where they are today, or am I following a script that I’ve used on 100 projects before?
  2. Buoyancy:  How will I react when one of my ideas doesn’t work or one of my messages doesn’t land well?  Am I confident enough to bounce back?  Am I brave enough to even try something different?
  3. Clarity:  How am I collecting, and more importantly using, the data (project, cultural, feedback, etc.) data available to me?  Is it just “there,” or am I using it strategically to engage my clients in effective ways?

In many ways, Change Management is all about selling.  Most projects succeed or fail, not on the technology, but on the users’ ability to adopt the new solution.  As Change practitioners, our challenge is squarely before us, and we’d be wise to apply the new ABCs of selling to our engagements to get the successful results we all seek.

Don’t Forget the Remote Employees!

More than 90% of companies have users who work remotely either part or all of the time.  As project leaders, more specifically Change Management specialists, we can’t forget about these important people!

Nothing says “second-class citizen” like a poor approach to engaging remote users, and an unengaged user usually will be a slow adopter to a new technology or process.  There are several great strategies to engaging remote users in meaningful ways that will help drive engagement, adoption, and overall excitement to the pending change(s).

  1. Change Champion Networks: Leverage key resources in geographically disperse areas to become your project advocates, SMEs, and even trainers.  This two-way communication channel also projects the project team with a critical source of intel throughout the project.
  2. Virtual meetings:  New technologies have advanced web-meetings to commonplace alternatives to the dreaded conference call.  Where possible, leverage Lync, Go-to-Meeting, WebEx, and others to “put a name with a phase” and build community around your project.
  3. Be Aware of Cultural Differences:  While your written communication may be technically correct, you may be at risk of missing the mark culturally. Have a local employee review a communication for cultural appropriateness before distributing.

Poor adoption remains the largest single reason projects fail to meet their desired objectives.  Engaging remote users is a key aspect of gaining the TOTAL user engagement required to be successful.

User Experience with Poor Data Quality

We are living in what many are calling the age of the consumer. Companies today rely on their reputation and their customer’s experience to drive revenue. Customers expect real-time information such as product, pricing and availability via their mobile devices. Data quality issues equate to poor customer experiences. Consider the customer’s perspective if they show up at your location for goods or services only to find the information provided on your website or mobile application is incorrect. Many times you will only get one chance with the customer to provide a compelling user experience. Bad information can be infuriating resulting in potential customers wasting time and money.

Perficient has developed a fast-paced assessment of your high-value, customer facing data. We work with our clients to define an agenda to assess the following components of data quality and then provide an actionable report detailing how data quality issues can be resolved:

  • Identify high-value data for customer facing initiatives
  • Enterprise data quality goals and objectives
  • Enterprise, Departmental, and IT organization and roles for data quality
  • Management of master data – e.g. customer and product
  • Processes for identification of data quality issues
  • Management of data quality rules
  • Quality at the point of data capture
  • Data integration and systems of record
  • Data quality from third parties
  • Process and metrics for enterprise data quality

Perficient has partnerships with all the major data management software vendors. We can quickly assess your data quality that is critical to your customer facing applications and put you on a fast track to resolve these issues.

Posted in News

CMOs Under Increasing Pressure to Produce Results

We’ve heard a lot about Chief Marketing Officers in the last few years.  With Digital Transformation at the top of many CEOs minds, the CMO role has gained prominence and power.  Of course with that prominence, comes increasing scrutiny.  Matt Langie wrote a story on about the pressure CMOs are facing due to the high visibility and costs of digital marketing efforts.

Perficient Digital Transformation Series

For me this is a very timely article.  On April 15, I’ll be hosting a webinar titled Harness the Power of Your Digital Marketing Tool Box, where we’ll talk about digital marketing tools and provide some insight into the marketplace. You can register for the webinar by clicking the link.

The CMOs interviewed that story identified four concerns they face:

  1. More variables and more players to navigate.  The marketing marketplace has been going through a high level of turmoil in the past few years with the influx of hundreds of new tools and mergers and acquisitions by big players in the space.  Matt writes: “The pressure mounts each time a digital solution enters the marketplace. What are its capabilities? How does it drive ROI? Who is behind the latest release? What product support can I expect? These are all questions facing digital marketers on a nearly daily basis.”
  2. More issues that require marketers to quickly react/adapt. As our digital capabilities evolve to provide immediate feedback from customers, marketers are expected to address this feedback through their marketing efforts.  There are plenty of stories where marketers did not react quickly enough to both good and adverse events.
  3. Expected to be more proactive in more areas.  Being reactive and adaptive is great, but CEOs don’t like to be surprised.  This puts more pressure on CMOs to be proactive in areas like site optimization, mobile and social.  There has been a lot of talk about analytics, so CMOs are under pressure to be more proactive with identifying trends.
  4. Answering the usual call to deliver more, faster.  Every executive is under pressure to deliver more and deliver faster.  As marketing budgets increase, CEOs are looking for more return on that spend.  So not only do CMOs have to deliver more with limited budgets, they need to respond faster to market changes, which increases pressure on budgets even more.

As I see it, our digital marketing technology is enabling us to become faster, more agile, and more responsive.  However, as we gain these abilities, the pressure to deliver and show real results increases. Right now technology gains aren’t necessarily keeping pace with increasing expectations.

Here is a link to the story where you can read more details: Pressure Pushing Down On CMOs.

10 Questions To Ask A Digital Transformation Consultant

I saw this article – 10 Questions To Ask Before You Hire A Digital Transformation Consultant – on and thought it would be interesting from a Digital Transformation consultant’s point of view. The author, Jon Bains, correctly identifies that it can be difficult to know who to trust when you need to engage somebody for consulting services. The Digital Transformation market has a lot of players with traditional agencies and consultancies expanding into this space. Who to engage with is a critical question and could mean great success or dismal failure for your business.

Mr. Bains offers these ten questions that you should ask before partnering up with a consultant. Speaking as one of those potential consultants, these are great questions that any respectable firm will be more than willing to answer.  The key for your company is to match the consultant’s answer with 1) reality – are they telling you the truth? and 2) your culture – will this consulting company fit your company’s style.

Here are the ten questions and my comments.  You can read the original article for Mr. Bains’ clarifications on each question:

  1. What is a typical engagement?  As a consultant, we have processes and methodologies that we like to follow.  Sometimes your engagement lines up exactly with our process and some times it doesn’t.  Look to see if the consultant is adaptable to what you want without losing the essence of their process.
  2. What is the shape of the billing curve?  A lot of potential clients want free strategy work in exchange for the promise of future work.  More than a few days of free work is not really a viable option for most consulting companies.  Strategy work involves the best consultants who are typically in high demand, so giving away that knowledge for free doesn’t make a lot of sense.
  3. Who are we likely to be working with?  In a digital transformation engagement you will typically have strategy work followed by implementation work.  Often the strategy team is different than the implementation team.  When you ask this question, its also important to find out if the strategy team will be available at least part time during the implementation phases.
  4. Has your team worked together before?   As Mr. Bains points out, really large consultants have thousands of employees who may have never met.  While you do want to have experts on the team, it is also desirable that they know how to work with each other and not at odds with each other.  You don’t want the “lead gen” expert creating strategy that the “content marketing” expert can’t deliver.
  5. How well do you know the sector?  This is a really good question because many consultants know marketing or IT, but really don’t know the market that you are in.  Automotive companies have different issues than healthcare providers.  Healthcare providers have different needs than do healthcare insurers.  Make sure your consulting company has experience in your specific sector.
  6. Do you expect to do any related production work? Really this is about the consultant’s ability to implement the strategies they help you create.  Too often I’ve seen consultants create great looking strategy that just could not be implemented with the budget or skills at the client.  If a consultant can help you implement the strategies, then you are that much closer to meeting your goals.
  7. Who is in your extended network – What are you likely to cross-sell?  Is your potential consult going to put pressure on you to “take advantage” of all the other great things they can sell you?  Will your strategy include signing up with the consultant’s email marketing distributor? While taking advantage of the consultant’s other divisions or partners might be very beneficial, you should be able to engage other firms independently as you desire.
  8. Which lines of the org chart are you most comfortable with?  Mr. Bains talks about making sure your consultant lines up with the “Doers” in your company.  If your digital transformation effort will require a lot of IT consulting and you engage a marketing/advertising agency, will that agency be able to work with your IT group?  Of course the opposite is true.  If your work is heavy on marketing or sales transformation and you hire an IT consultant, will that work?  Often times you will need a consultancy that can bring resources who align with all of your “Doers”.
  9. Have you done this before (successfully)?  Experience is always a key factor and usually why you are looking for outside help.  One thing to note is that engagements are almost always covered by some non-disclosure agreement.  So don’t expect your potential consultants to be able to tell you exactly what they did for other customers.  Just like we won’t spill the beans about your company, we won’t do it to other clients.
  10. Why do these programmes fail?  Hopefully your potential consultant as the experience to know what works and what doesn’t.  While all consultants will bring you case studies and examples of successes, try to find out what didn’t work on those projects or where an unnamed client had problems. Equally important is to find out what the consultant learned from those failures and will they apply that to your engagement.

At Perficient, we look forward to you asking us these questions.