To Get Digital Experiences Right, Think Integration



There isn’t an organization in existence today that hasn’t had some internal dialog about digital experiences, and for good reason. Digital experience investments, either in technology, people, or process (or all of those), represent a unique opportunity.

Done properly, digital experiences can drive higher revenue and act as a catalyst for change throughout an organization. An effective digital experience strategy can help win, serve, and retain customers, while leaving your competitors behind.

Done poorly, digital experiences become Black Swan events that can prove ruinous. Take departmental technology investments, for example. Let’s say your marketing team wants to do something new with mobile. They’re sold a get-live-quick suite that eschews elegant integration with core back office systems. This results in overlapping soiled customer data. Overlapping data leads to duplication, errors, and eventually failure. In the end, the digital experience suffers.

Sadly, this is not a far-flung scenario. In a recent survey by Forrester Research of 135 digital executives, respondents said they are seeing lots of barriers to success in customer-facing mobile and web experiences. Chief among them was a failure to effectively integrate people, process, and technology across an organization.

Monolithic technology stacks are driving a wedge between data views of the customer. Customer data silos are the biggest barrier to top-line revenue growth initiatives such as omnichannel and personalization. Customer data is fragmented between phases of the customer journey — lead generation, marketing, commerce, social, and support.

The solution is to treat integration as a strategic initiative. The question should not be does it integrate, but how well does it integrate.

Forrester advocates embodying integration, as a discipline and strategic goal, into a digital experience reference platform. A flexible, modular experience platform will help guide digital experience investments across organizational silos. In addition, the reference architecture will unify investments across the organization and from one project to the next.

This doesn’t happen overnight. Organizations must work on the engine while it’s still running. But taking stock of your foundational strategies, practices, and technologies will help lay the groundwork for creating exceptional digital experiences.



Reprinted by permission.

Image credit: CC by Mami_H

About the author: Linda Bustos

As Director of Ecommerce Research at Elastic Path, Linda Bustos works with some of the world’s largest companies to help improve conversion rates and profitability on the Web. In addition to writing the Get Elastic blog since 2007, Linda’s articles have appeared in Mobile Marketer, CMO Magazine, E-Marketing + Commerce, and Search Marketing Standard. She is a frequent speaker at industry events, including XCommerce, Conversion Conference, and Affiliate Management Days.

In 2010, Linda earned a spot on the DMNews Top 30 Direct Marketers Under 30 list. She has served as faculty for the Banff New Media Institute’s Career Accelerator Program and Marketing Profs University, and has appeared as one of the Top 100 Influential Marketers of the year in 2008 and 2009. Prior to joining Elastic Path, Linda worked agency-side, specializing in usability and SEO.

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