Perficient Digital Transformation Blog

Archives

Archive for the ‘News’ Category

How Not to Lose a Job Before Starting

shutterstock_272657948At Perficient, generally and specifically here on the digital transformation blog, we spend a lot of time discussing change: how companies want to change, how they need to change. How eCommerce and marketing are changing the relationship between consumers and company. We provide examples on what executives need to do to change their relationships with customers. The changing relationship of customers with other customers are themes.

Today, I thought we would discuss another aspect of the change: the change between employee and employers. In interest of full disclosure, David Strom once came to my company to work with my team on testing HSM (hierarchical storage management) products. I like to think of these type of product reviews the Yelp of pre-Internet days. David’s recent post on LinkedIn discusses how social can impact one’s employment and not in good ways.

Considering how so many of us use crowd sourcing, whether it for a new purchase, movie selection or vacation destination, it isn’t surprising that people have done so with job offers. The part of the article that resonated most with me was this quote:

First, if you get job offers from more than one company, keep them offline, and if you have to seek advice, definitely keep it to a phone call or two to a trusted mentor or adviser. No need to get the entire webverse engaged. This doesn’t have to be a public spectacle. Or really anyone else’s business but your own.

(Emphasis in the original post) As I have said to people, never write anything in an email that you wouldn’t want to see on the side of a bus or on a 4’ X 4’ card in a courtroom. I’ve had to modify that advice to include more channels over the years but the premise still holds true.

In the past several years, I have noticed LinkedIn profiles being used with or instead of resumes. Whether this is interviewing consultants, researching people while in meetings or as an industry speaker, I am finding that our electronic work lives are finding their way into our physical life.

I recall presenting at a Society of Information Management (SIM) event on social. One of my co-presenters said they use LinkedIn during the interview process. They weren’t checking the resume, instead they want to see the candidate’s connections. Does this person have the type and level of connections and recommendations that one would expect at this level?

There has been a lot of discussion over the changing nature of the resume (video resume!  Twitter resume!) and I won’t repeat those comments but I do firmly believe that our social personas are becoming more critical in the employment process.  While the examples have focused on LinkedIn, my comments are generic. What are your experiences? How often do you use LinkedIn when hiring, either employees or consultants? Do you use it to decide which speakers to see at a conference?

Posted in News

What is Service Virtualization and Why Do We Need It?

Service Virtualization emulates the behavior and data of dependent systems such a way that represents the dependent system without any constraints, thus allowing software to be developed and delivered faster, with lower costs and higher reliability.

Before Virtualization:

 

After Virtualization:

AfterVirtualization

Constraints which affect development and testing at various SDLC phases:

  • Dependent component/services still not completed
  • Dependent component/services not available due to maintenance or system issue
  • Data set-up not completed
  • Limited access
  • Data refresh caused cleared out existing data

Benefits:

  • Reduce dependency for various system/services.
  • Increased Productivity
  • Faster development
  • Reduce system constraints
  • Agile Development made easy

Private APIs Vs Public APIs

Private APIs :

  • APIs which are used within organization to build apps.
  • Apps built on private APIs can be used inside organization or released to public using various channels like company site, app store.
  • Partners can use private APIs to build apps.
  • Private APIs enable faster business integration with partners.
  • Avoid dependency on external APIs and apps, For e.g. public API is discontinued.

Public APIs:

  • Expanding reach across various platform and devices.
  • Increased brand value.
  • Creativity has no limits.
  • Your competitor can use content for various purpose if your API overexposed your business content.
  • Patent/Rights infringement.

Tags: ,

Posted in api, Mobile, News

Enterprise Architecture Models for Digital Transformation

shutterstock_75988480Enterprise Architects learned long ago the benefits of describing architecture in different perspectives or views. John Zachman, gave us a structured way of viewing and defining an enterprise architecture in the 80s. But in many companies enterprise architecture (EA) has evolved to technologists that set architecture standards often without much insight into corporate objectives.

The goals of EA are to define the architecture of the enterprise and guide the organization to create the business structure, processes, information models and technology to execute the corporate strategy. And like EA model views, a digital transformation has multiple dimensions and constituents. Yet we often hear conflicting views and a lack of a cohesive vision of the digital transformation (DT) – a lack of EA for the DT effort.

We hear the argument for the CMO to drive DT and the counter argument that the CMO has neither the expertise nor the inclination to modernize legacy systems in support of DT. We have also heard that we need more C level executives (Chief Digital Officer, Chief Data Officer …) to lead DT, which seems to be the antithesis of agility potentially creating more bureaucracy. So we have an ongoing debate on the organization structure to achieve DT. We often don’t have an organizational or business model for DT so there is no means to change much less transform.

In dysfunctional DT efforts, the C level view of DT is misaligned, not truly transformational and have barriers to change. The CIO thinks DT is a web site refresh and a bunch of mobile apps. The CTO thinks it’s securing the cloud, big data and deploying a mobile platform. The CMO thinks it’s shifting money to digital media ads. The CFO knows it will cost more money but has little confidence that DT investments will generate returns. The CEO worries about organizational and technical barriers and feels the threat of competitive disruption. Technology is often a barrier to transformation consisting of siloed legacy systems that are poorly integrated that perpetuate data quality issues, process inefficiencies, high maintenance costs and an overall poor user experience.

If we think again about what EA supposed to be, a means to execute the corporate strategy in terms of people, process and technology, EA certainly has the potential to guide the DT. There are EA models that will work for DT but we must add new approaches that are highly leveraged towards customer experience. EA in most companies has more of a technology focus than a customer focus. But we do need model views of DT that can be understood by the entire organization. Transformation obviously involves change and we need corporate buy in and cross-functional executive sponsorship for a common vision.

At a high-level we need models representing the following objectives:

  • Digital Strategy in terms of vision, business model and business case
  • Customer Journey maps that model the customer’s experience from initial contact through long-term relationships
  • Technology asset models that show snapshots in time of architecture, data and application changes – both customer facing and operational systems impact the customer journey
  • A prioritized Transformational Roadmap that includes people, process and platform changes

DT is not a website refresh nor is it a shift to digital ad spends. DT is innovative and disruptive and will require a roadmap, many iterations and organizational change. Think about how the transformation will be communicated and changed over time. Models are great; use models that best fit your organizations history of strategic and architecture planning then add user experience objectives and customer journey maps.

 

Posted in News

No Real Transformation Without Data & Security

Of the 10 top concerns of CIOs and CTOs, as reported in Janco Associates Annual Review, Consolidation of Legacy Data and Big Data both show up in the Top 5, and have moved up substantially from prior years’ surveys. Furthermore, In Forbes’ Top 10 Strategic CIO Issues For 2015, “Drive Customer-Centric Innovation Throughout Your Organization”, comes in at #1.

This shows that CIOs and CTOs are becoming increasingly aware that they are in the hot seat for fixing their data mess. This is also a growing justification for introducing the Chief Data Officer role, most of the times, reporting directly to the CEO. The steady increase in concern also points to the urgency around becoming data-driven organizations in order to effectively support Business innovation and corporate objectives that are tied directly to the bottom-line.

If you look at the recent Security breaches at Sony, and elsewhere, it is clear that data and security are intertwined issues, and big impediments to digital business. Consequently, we also see the injection of predictive analytics in this discussion. For any real transformation to take place, especially around customer-centricity, organizations first need to become data-driven and must focus on addressing data, holistically, from a Process, People and Platform standpoint.

Posted in News

The ‘Age Of The Customer’ Is Here. What Are You Doing About It?

Customer centricity is no longer just a loaded buzzword used by marketers preaching tactics such as personalization and customer experience. Customer centricity is now a mind-set that companies need to adopt throughout the entire organization—not just marketing—to thrive in the digital world.

This quote from CMO.com’s article The ‘Age of The Customer’ Is Here. What Are You Doing About It? sums up nicely how we have evolved (or maybe suddenly transformed) into the customer-centric epoch.  The term “Age of the Customer” was coined by Forrester and aptly describes how access to information and the customer experience has shifted from companies to customers. This is why we keep seeing trends toward enhancing customer experience (see: Is Customer Experience the Top Digital Trend for 2015?).

Michael Hinshaw, CEO of McorpCX describes this the “Era of Smart Customers”.  He says, “Smart customers are customers that leverage digital devices to access information, anywhere and anytime. What that means is the power in the relationship between companies and customers is in the process of shifting.”Customer Centricity

Customer-centricity is one of the driving factors for Digital Transformation.  To be customer-centric, companies need to bring together people, processes and systems from across the company, especially sales, marketing, customer service. If your company is acting in silos across these areas, customers will see it and move on if they can.

The article, linked below, provides a good overall description of the challenges in becoming customer-centric. Some key steps to take to overcome these challenges include the following:

  • Define ownership for becoming customer-centric.  This could mean appointing a Chief Customer Officer, setting up a steering committee, or some other organizational technique.
  • Define metrics and continually measure how you are doing.  Start with a baseline, set targets and hold people accountable to meet the targets.
  • Refine and coordinate across the business where it affects the customer.  We might call this Digital Transformation, but it goes beyond the ‘digital’ part.  It is really about transforming culture and operations as well as the systems.
  • Connect with your customer.  Get feedback, encourage honest dialog about what you do and don’t do right.

Source: The ‘Age Of The Customer’ Is Here. What Are You Doing About It?

IT’s Last Chance to Lead Digital Transformation?

Dion Hinchcliffe has a very interesting article on IT’s role in Digital Transformation.  He makes the case that to date, IT hasn’t understood the need for digital transformation or the effort necessary to undergo a large set of changes demanded by it.  His data is compelling:

Specifically, the change needed today is to shift out of being a relatively stodgy centralized technology support department — a role long invested primarily in automating and incrementally improving the existing business — and move into developing sleek and fast-moving new digital lines of business that create growth markets and make-or-break P&L for the organization

While much has been made of the Chief Digital Officer in leading up the new digital business in many organizations, the challenge has long been that a) the vast bulk of enterprise data, b) expertise in current systems and the business itself, as well as c) existing infrastructure and operations, is typically still owned by the CIO, who often is happy enough to share them, but has other priorities to worry about.

IT has to battle anemic budget increases of 1% or less. In doing so many IT organizations set key priorities at a tactical level:

IT priorities focus on tactical needs

IT priorities focus on tactical needs

 

To the author’s point, “This is not a prioritized worldview compatible with medium-term sustainability of the modern organization.  The key point here is that IT has a chance to lead this but all too many focus on day to day priorities at the expense of the long term.

Read his entire article for a more thorough treatment.

Tags: , ,

Posted in News

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 »