CIOs and CMOs: Coming together to deliver great customer experiences in a digital world

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The engine of the global economy is increasingly transitioning towards digital services. Businesses are shifting focus from mass-manufactured, mass-marketed products to an immersive market of custom services and digital experiences.

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The new service economy is dominated by digital services that are made-to-order for customers, where the quality of the experience – including intuitive ease, convenience, and richness of choice – is a key differentiator. Understanding customers is at the centre of the “digital transformation.” CIOs and CMOs must work together to orchestrate digital experiences that engage each customer with a rich array of choices that can make their lives easier or better.

The role of customer experience within digital transformation

When it comes to customer experience, it’s not just about understanding its importance for the business, but about comprehending how the experience itself is evolving and what a successful service relationship looks like from the customers’ point of view.

With more and more people choosing to purchase products and services via smartphones, tablets, PCs, laptops and even wearable devices, customers within the commercial and consumer space have more choices and means of opting in or out of a product or service offering than ever before. Before reaching out to a company, consumers typically do most of their initial research on their own.

As a result, marketing needs to reach out to consumers across all devices to create a seamless digital experience. Whilst progress is being made, Forrester still estimates 46% of marketing leaders and 51% of technology management leaders have a single view of the customer across all touchpoints.

That being said, more organisations are adopting a digital first strategy, recognising they need to reach the customer across their digital journey. By embracing technology across the business, companies like Starbucks, Proctor & Gamble, Airbnb and Uber offer customers more options and greater convenience at lower costs.

It’s not just about marketing

As businesses continue to go digital, the entire organisation must have a digital mind-set. In particular, CMOs and CIOs must work together on digital initiatives. Digital technologies have reinvigorated the CMO’s role as a driver of growth. Big data, social media, and the cloud have drastically changed the consumer landscape as marketing technology is becoming increasingly popular.

With IT organisations having much deeper experience in digital technologies, a tight alliance between CMOs and CIOs is a must. There is a strong need to seamlessly link digital marketing efforts to the enterprise systems that enable customer relationship management in order to deliver great customer experiences and drive measurable results for the business.

Working together to improve customer focus

Marketing may work the magic behind the success of digital services, but that magic itself depends on the support of the right technologies. However, aligning the needs and expectations of the business and IT’s ability to deliver is easier said than done.

The Riverbed Global Application Performance Survey 2015 revealed while 98% of executives believe that enterprise application performance is critical to achieving optimal business performance, 89% say poor performance of enterprise applications negatively impacts their productivity on a regular basis.

All teams must now become more tech-savvy. New technologies are making it easier to bridge the gap between the business the IT and specifically between CIOs and CMOs. New tools allow detailed analytics to be run, and subsequently acted upon. It provides the C-suite with vital information which steers business decisions.

By coming together to make technology- based marketing magic, CIOs and CMOs can consolidate ideas and learn more about their consumer base. The targeted approach this creates is key to ultimately fulfilling the potential of digital transformation.

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The Author – Rich Hillebrecht is Chief Information Officer, Riverbed Technology

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