Fast-Forward the Future of Customer Experience with a Customer-Adaptive Approach

Keeping customers over the long term is what drives profitable growth. However, a number of companies are missing key opportunities to understand and anticipate what their customers wantnow and in the future.

The Future of Business with Game Changers,” a special edition series of SAP Radio, will be examining over the next 13 weeks different critical aspects of how businesses will need to change over the next decade.  The first show “The Future of Customer Experience: Fast Forward” examined the need to be customer adaptive with an insight-packed panel discussion. The panel featured Jeremy Cox, principal analyst at Ovum; Jaco Van Eeden, partner at Deloitte Consulting and a global enterprise usability and user experience (UX) design leader; and Peter Spielvogel, senior director of Product Marketing for the SAP Imagineering team.

The key qualities of a customer-adaptive organization

Jeremy Cox defined a customer-adaptive organization as one that is able to remain consistently relevant to its customers. In fact, these businesses are able to “sense, respond, and adapt at the right pace.”

Cox noted that these companies can be characterized by visionary leadership that puts the customer at the heart of every activity. This creates a culture where the workforce is engaged, empowered, and purpose driven. Plus, enterprise-wide collaboration with customers and partners becomes a part of business operations.

In addition, these companies can sense customer needs and desires by generating actionable insights about their customers. Coupling that information with continuous innovation and management capabilities, the innovation pipeline becomes fertile with opportunities and brings breakthrough innovations to market quickly. “This includes turning Big Data into insight and also having an effective enterprise-wide voice of the customer program to drive continuous improvement in the customer experience as well as a source of innovation,” Cox explained. As a result, the customer experience is meaningful and adds value – no matter which channel is used.

Customer-adaptive organizations also typically have connected and frictionless processes throughout the value chain. This enables every line of business to increase efficiency and perform at a consistently high level. And with an adaptive enterprise architecture, they can visualize how the organizations fits in the whole pursuit of a customer-focused vision and quickly integrate new technologies that are required to meet new challenges and opportunities.

Enterprise users should not need any training to use enterprise systems

According to Jaco Van Eeden, a customer-adaptive organization requires enterprise applications that are intuitive and are seamlessly integrated into job roles and daily responsibilities. And it is optimum that these applications have a transaction-free user interface or are accessible with a mobile device.

“Business users should not need more than three clicks or steps to perform any activity on their mobile or Web user interface. The system should know proactively who they are, what they need, and when to provide it to them. This includes compliance policies, business workflows, leading practices for their roles, and standard operating procedures,” advised Van Eeden.

It is now possible for companies to improve user adoption by outfitting ERP systems with a “user experience platform” that recognizes the individual user, their role, and the information they need on a real-time basis to become more productive. This type of platform combines business processes, compliance rules, collaboration, social capabilities, as well as digital and structured content – all driven by proactive analytics in a personalized fashion. Ultimately, the platform would instantly provide users’ priorities, activities, workflows, collaboration, and transactions that are related to their jobs in a single, easy-to-use interface.

Van Eeden believescompanies can increase the value they get from their ERP systems along with employeesproductivity, by deploying a transformational ‘cloud-based user experience platform’ that enables persona-driven, day in the life, mobile capabilities dramatically improving usability and productivity and eliminate the need for user-training.”

To be ‘customer first,’ your application development approach must be ‘user first

Peter Spielvogel agreed with Van Eeden’s thoughtsadding that the user experience starts with the user. You must know what the user needs to do before any application is built. Themobile firstparadigm has really changed application development. It has forced developers to prioritize the handful of functions that are most important to employees. It’s much harder to start with a full-blown desktop application and remove items than it is to add capabilities for tablets or desktops.

Consumer applications such as Amazon, Facebook, and hundreds of mobile apps have defined the standard for usability. They don’t come with instructions. You look at them and know what to do. This is what people expect now from all software. This change in how IT is consumed has changed how people view technology in the office.

Spielvogel observed, “Not only do people want to bring their own devices and attach them to the corporate network, they want office software to work like what they use at home. We’re still a long way from that.”

To listen to a replay of this edition of the Future of Business with Game Changers series, presented by SAP Radio, click here.

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