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Digital Transformation

Mastering the Art of Data and Analytics to Transform Customer Experience

Digital innovation continues to disrupt industries at lightning speed. Today’s organizations are transforming their entire business – from strategy to operations, technology to culture – to better deliver value to their customers. In 2017, we compiled the top 10 trends leaders needed to know when it came to their digital transformation journey. In this 10-week blog series, we’ll further explore each trend and address how you can continue to modernize your business for success. 

“Art is never finished. Only abandoned.” – Leonardo Da Vinci

It’s no secret that the reason why some companies are more successful than others comes down to one thing: these firms prioritize understanding their customers to meet their rising expectations.

According to Salesforce, 75 percent of consumers expect a consistent experience wherever they engage, whether it’s on a website, social media, mobile or in person.

Research firm Forrester has confirmed that more than 60 percent of executives identified delivering a superior customer experience and creating new sources of customer value as important factors to achieving success as a digital business.

Companies with the strongest omni-channel customer engagement strategies retain an average of 89 percent of their customers, as compared to 33 percent of companies with weak omni-channel strategies, according to Aberdeen.

These facts illustrate the need to become customer-obsessed or risk disruption. Data and analytics play a crucial role in painting a picture of your customer.

There is a science behind leveraging the information generated across every touch point on a customer’s journey. Organizations like Target, Amazon and Netflix have proven that when you integrate data and systems into a robust analytics strategy, it’s possible to create a 360-degree view of your customer. This view allows you to not only meet but also exceed your customers’ expectations and provide a superior customer experience.

We all know the New York Times article detailing how Target knew a teenage girl was pregnant before her father did. If not, read it. It’s incredible. What we may not realize is that by using customer data and being able to predict within a two week window when a woman is pregnant, Target has made $1 billion. And they’re crushing customer expectations!

Amazon, Netflix and Spotify are leaders in providing personalized experiences to their customers, using information and data to make recommendations for what to buy, binge watch or listen to, based on preferences and previous interactions.

Lids Sports Group, a leading retailer of athletic headwear and apparel, transformed its omni-channel customer experience strategy by defining future-state capabilities for commerce, order management, marketing, customer experience, and business intelligence. Total Retail recently ranked Lids first on its Top 100 publicly traded retailers list because the company managed to become an experience-centered organization who gets its customers.

Yet, despite the ability of these CX leaders to leverage customer data and enhance the experience they provide, there is more to learn, barriers to overcome, pictures to be painted.

Customers are humans – just like you and me. We’re not always rational creatures, and often make decisions based on emotions. However, the science of data management and predictive analytics relies on an increasing volume of information across multiple channels. Combine this with the emotional elements of making decisions, and it’s clear that mastering the use of this information to transform the customer experience truly becomes an art form.

Take Leonard Da Vinci. Da Vinci is a world-renowned artist, the Renaissance Man. He created masterpieces like the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper. But Da Vinci was also a scientist and inventor. He studied everything, yearning to understand how things worked, were structured and formed. Author Marco Rosci once wrote about Da Vinci, “…his view of the world was logical rather than mysterious, and that the empirical methods he employed were unorthodox for his time.” Da Vinci relied on his inquisitive, scientifically driven mind to complete works of art.

Today’s digital business leaders are like modern-day Leonardo Da Vincis. You must draw upon scientific knowledge gained from your data and analytics strategies and platforms to create your masterpieces – a better view of your customers’ wants and desires. And just like Da Vinci’s view of art, your work is never done. You’re constantly challenged with more information, new technologies, and a workforce that may or may not be on board.

The new digital ecosystem

Cloud, mobile and IoT are driving a new digital ecosystem that gives more control to the end user. You’re more than likely challenged with an ever-growing volume of data from multiple channels.

Research shows 6.1 billion smartphone users projected by 2020 and 28 billion connected devices forecasted for 2021. On top of that, 80 percent of data is “dark and untouched,” meaning it’s never actually used to make improvements or changes deemed necessary by the customer. So while you may have data management and predictive analytics strategies in place for the customer data you collect, there is only more coming, and from disparate sources.

AI is all the rage

Add velocity to the overwhelming volume of data, with ever-changing technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning. AI can lead to more accurate predictive models, allowing businesses to better predict consumer behaviors and drive faster decision making as a result. CIO Magazine recently reported that more than two-thirds (68 percent) of respondents to IDG’s 2018 State of the CIO survey say AI has changed or will change their data strategy. Forrester reports that investment in AI will increase more than 300 percent this year. Yet, capitalizing on these opportunities is not an easy task.

AI is only as good as the data it can access, and your entire organization has to work in collaboration across all departments. Otherwise, you could potentially be working with an incomplete data set. Therefore, your predictions may or may not be all that accurate.

Is your workforce ready?

With so much data coming from so many sources, and technologies like AI improving – or perhaps disrupting – business intelligence and data and analytics strategies, you have to prepare for a workforce that may or may not be able to keep pace. People are crucial to any business strategy but especially data and analytics strategies. Finding the right skillsets or closing the skills gap can be a challenge. Or, it may be the case where your workforce isn’t even compelled to change; they’re simply too overwhelmed.

These are just some of the barriers you may face when it comes to mastering your data and analytics strategies.

It’s time to get smarter with your data. The first step is knowing where to start.

Adopt a next-generation data management approach

Data management has become a top priority for firms undergoing digital transformations. According to Forrester, data and analytics technology will see a 10.9 percent CAGR over the next five years. One-third of companies are channeling the largest portion of their IT spend to data management and business analytics tools as reported in CIO magazine. As a digital business leader, now is the time to invest in your approach, one that facilitates speed-of-thought decision-making and the integration of multiple data sources. Gain some great tips for how to get started from our “Align Business Data and Analytics for Digital Transformation” guide.

Develop a Center of Excellence

Sometimes referred to as a competency or capability center, the Center of Excellence (CoE) is often the team leading the way in exploring and adopting new technology tools, techniques or practices. By establishing an analytics Center of Excellence, you can improve the way you think about data to enhance the customer experience. This CoE can drive analytics into crucial business processes and increase business enablement. Learn more about the five guiding principles for developing a CoE.

Deploy change management strategies for team engagement

It takes a village to get analytics right. In our previous post from the “Top 10 Trends for Digital Transformation” series, we discussed the importance of prioritizing your people when it comes to transforming your business. You need to find the right balance of skill sets and ensure your team is engaged to make an impact. While your teams may struggle with fully leveraging all the data available, it’s not because they don’t have the expertise to eventually get there.

Change management strategies get people ready, willing, and able to accept and embrace new ways of working that are critical to future-state performance. Although the changes may be unique, a good strategy motivates willing individuals, encourages those who have doubts, and aligns the motivation and encouragement with the implementation.

Art requires a sense of fearlessness and going beyond comfort zones. For some artists, it can take a lifetime to master their craft. For digital business leaders, you don’t necessarily have a lifetime to transform your data and analytics strategies to improve the customer experience. But with the right foresight, and a little bit of fearlessness, you can overcome these obstacles and experience true digital transformation success.

Do you want to read more about the top ten digital transformation trends?

Click here to read about trend five: Netflix or Blockbuster? Justifying the Spend

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