Breaking the Barriers to a Digital Transformation
June 12, 2015

Aaron Rudger

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With more consumers on mobile devices and connected across social channels, customers have become more empowered and in control of their relationships with brands. For many companies, the only way to grow their revenue is to become customer-obsessed. By examining their current business approach and transforming their strategy to digital, organizations have the opportunity to better align customer experiences to their initiatives that drive the top line.

While shaping a digital strategy around customer metrics is a top focus for organizations, its execution requires both business and IT teams to collaborate and consistently deliver experiences using the underlying technology performance. IT failures due to infrastructure, third party services or the customer’s environment are common sources of reduced engagement and business disruptions.

A recently study by Forrester Consulting — Mind the Gap: A Study of Digital Strategy and Alignment Between Business and IT — found that 78 percent of respondents in the line of business do not believe their organizations have the performance capabilities needed to inform a digital strategy now or in the foreseeable future.

Performance is Often the Weak Link in the Delivery Chain

Over the past 12 months, 41% of companies surveyed experienced performance issues with their websites, mobile apps or other digital assets. An alarming 4 percent of companies did not know if they had performance issues. With much riding on digital initiatives and the customer experience, performance monitoring and analytics are vital to ensuring a seamless delivery.

The study also found that:

■ Loss of worker productivity (47 percent), loss of revenue (43 percent) and loss of customer loyalty (37 percent) were recognized as the most common consequences of website or mobile app performance issues.

■ Infrastructure or network-related failures (54 percent) were ranked as the most significant contributor to performance issues experienced in the last 12 months.

Performance Issues Are Caused by Both Internal and External Factors

Customer metrics and performance have a symbiotic relationship – without responsiveness or proper performance benchmarking, abandonment rates may increase and repeat visitors decrease.

Knowing the points of control across digital channels, which can be caused internal as well as external variables, can help organizations effectively manage the customers’ digital experience. Issues may arise internally from the company’s infrastructure, network or application, or it can arise from outside of IT’s control that are specific to the user environment. Third-party content and managed service providers also create more room for variables to contribute to sub-optimal performance.

Shared Goals and Metrics are Critical

Even if decision-makers of digital transformation are sitting in different parts of the organization, everyone should be looking at the same health indicators. The findings from the Forrester study reveal that IT has a better view over three key digital metrics in relation to their business counterparts: new user growth, responsiveness, and repeat visitors (retention). With access to these technical metrics, IT needs to help their business counterparts guide the digital strategy. Just because the lines of business owners may not be ‘technically’ inclined doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t have a vested interest in monitoring the performance of digital channels. A drop in performance, after all, can have a direct effect on customer metrics.

The transformation to digital can help inform a company’s strategy. It will require more than just new titles like Chief Digital Officer having a seat at the table. Cultivating an understanding between customers, business and IT, as well as the capabilities and functions they enable is a start to understand where to prioritize your attention and resources in the transformation. Running an agile business to meet the needs of customers and expanding your competitive advantage that retains their attention requires a new model

Aaron Rudger is Director of Product Marketing at Keynote.

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