Showing posts with label process. Show all posts
Showing posts with label process. Show all posts

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Customer Experience Management(CXM): The New Frontier for Companies to Focus on

CXM Overview

You might have heard about the new motto ‘Customer Experience Management (CXM)’ in many professional and official forums. Now days many people seem to be talking about it, analysts are writing about it and conducting many conferences dedicated to it and so on. So, what is it?

Customer experience (CX) is the sum of all experiences a customer has with a supplier of goods and/or services, over the duration of their relationship with that supplier. This can include awareness, discovery, attraction, interaction, purchase, use, cultivation and advocacy in the customer lifecycle. 

According to Gartner, Customer Experience (CX) is the customer’s perceptions and related feelings caused by one-off and cumulative effect of interactions with a supplier’s employees, channels, systems, products and services. 

Amazon, Zappos, Apple, Disney, Nordstrom, Starbucks and Marriott are few examples who pioneered in customer experience management and proved number one in their business areas. Starbucks spent less than $10MM on advertising from 1987 to 1998 yet added over 2,000 new stores to accommodate growing sales. Starbucks' popularity is based on the experience that drove its customers to highly recommend their store to friends and family.

A company's ability to deliver a product or service experience to its customers helps to increase the consumer spending with the company and increase loyalty to its brands/products. Loyalty is mainly driven by a company's interaction with its customers and how well it delivers on their wants and needs. The function/entity within an organization having the goal of establishing and improving customer experience is called customer experience management or customer relationship management.

Building great customer experiences is a complex initiative involving strategy, leadership commitment, technology integration, formulating and fine turning business models and brand management. Customers have an experience every time they interact with a company/brand—whether it is shopping in a department store, using a mobile device, grabbing coffee or making bill payments. That experience can be good or bad or somewhere in between. This experience impacts their impression and loyalty to the brand/product/company. Customers feel more loyal to those brands and buy/use more when they have a delightful experience. Customers’ expectations are growing; companies that completely ignore CEM will be far behind. 

Critical Success Factors

Here are few critical Success factors for an effective CXM initiative in your organization.

1)Define CXM : Amazon and Starbucks provide totally different kinds of customer experiences, and both are successful. Define what CXM means in your organization. Each entity/function in your organization should be clear on how they contribute to CEM and how they can seek to improve it. 

2)Funding: Have a budget for CXM investments. Some initiatives may involve the purchase of software, resources, or other resources. 

3)Cultural Change: Managing the customer experience should be part of the company culture. Initiative requires full support from executives, division heads, and then all employees. 

4) Management Commitment: Strong management commitment is needed for implementing a sustainable CXM initiative. 

5)Incentives: If a company is placing their customers’ experience as a high priority, then its employees should be incentivized for the success in a way that aligns with the KPIs.

CXM implementation Approach

Customer Experience Management topic is very broad and complex, no one can really offer a universal approach that works for every company. The breadth of organizational coverage, along with the specific qualities/goals will decide the complexity of CXM implementation/improvement within the organization. The vagueness in definition and details gives each company the freedom to define and implement the customer experience in a way that best suits to their business model. Here is the recommended approach for the implementation of a customer experience management in your organization


Customers are more demanding now than ever. They feel that interacting with every company should be easy and personalized. For example, when I have already logged into my Amazone site, I shouldn't have to fill out my address again to request for a shipment. They already have all of my information. Why should I ever have to repeat it?
Customer Experience Management as a concept is important because it involves looking at the company from a customer’s perspective. Right digital tools, skill set, culture and processes can help your company to provide best in class user experience to your customers. Knowing who your customers are and presenting them with consistent, relevant content across all the touch points in which they interact with your company will help you to further engage your customers leading to business success. Start leveraging all your CXM technologies, and enable them to work together. This will allow you to deliver the optimal experience to your customers, thus increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty, bringing immediate impact to your brand name, as well as long term benefit to your company.

Related Article: Customer Experience Management (CXM) Implementation Approach for Dummies

Sunday, February 2, 2014

How to Initiate Social Media Analytics in your Organization? Here is the Simplified Implementation Framework!

As a prerequisite for social media marketing, you need to have a clear understanding of your overall vision, what your goals will be, and how you will track and measure the success of your social media initiatives. In other words, you must create a social media analytics plan.

The first step in a social media analytics initiative is to determine which business goals the data that is gathered and analyzed will benefit. Typical objectives include increasing revenues, reducing customer service costs, getting feedback on products and services and improving public opinion of a particular product or business division. This can be achieved by monitoring how the users are looking at your brand/products and how they are looking at your competitors. When we are talking about ROI, there is no single ROI we can point out. The business impacts of social media various at different levels in the organization. For example, the C-level executives care about metrics such as brand reputation, revenue, customer satisfaction etc. At the same time, the business unit heads and line managers are interested in more granular metrics specific to their goals.

Define Strategy

A successful social media strategy requires alignment with the strategic business goals of the organization, organizational alignment and required support/commitment to enable the execution. We have to define what we are trying to achieve and how we are going to approach it. Defining the success criteria will help to drive the initiatives and evaluates the effectiveness. Strong organizational commitment and support is needed to implement the strategies.

Define Measurements

Always advisable to begin with few key metrics that you believe are practical to deliver and actionable. They should give the most impact on your business. Formalize those metrics with process and dashboard and then expand further by adding other metrics in an incremental approach. Here are a couple of guidelines you should follow when defining KPIs:

  1. Select key performance indicator(KPI) metrics that translate into business context like sales, revenue, business leads, lead conversion, customer interaction, conversions, etc.
  2. Create specific social media analytics metrics for each social network site and specific elements of your website
  3. Define actionable social media analytics

The most important guideline above is to define actionable metrics and here are few examples
  • Reduction in support costs
  • Number of people in a specific location who follow your company on Twitter
  • Reduction in sales cycles
  • Increase in product reviews

Resources & Tools

You have to asses your readiness to measure social media in terms of present state of the organization, probable barriers and strategies to overcome it, resources, required analytical and tools expertise and communication strategies. A successful social media analytics implementation and operation depends on the integration and effective utilization of all means in the organization.


The organization identified financial performance improvement as a key objective. Identified call center operation cost reduction as one of the ways to improve the financial performance. In order to provide the same quality of service to customer, organization decided to respond proactively to users through social media like twitter and facebook. Here the call center cost performance becomes the business KPI and number issues solved via social media become the social media metrics.

Check list

Since social media analytics is in the early stage of adoption, there aren't any well-established frame works are published anywhere. However organizations have to follow the discussed minimum critical steps to build a business focused social media strategy.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Cloud Computing : Challenges and Considerations

Part -2, The industry shift towards cloud computing

Continual monitoring of cloud computing trends, with regular updates to the enterprise's cloud strategy, will be essential to avoid costly mistakes or miss market opportunities over the next few years, according to Gartner, Inc. Although the potential for cloud computing is significant, the breadth and depth of the impact, as well as the level of adoption over time, are uncertain and will require frequent review. "The trend and related technologies continue to evolve and change rapidly, and there is continuing confusion and misunderstanding as vendors increasingly hype 'cloud' as a marketing term," said David Mitchell Smith, vice president and Gartner Fellow.

A astigmatic view around the adoption of cloud/SaaS models can clearly have an adverse impact on an organization’s decision-making capability in the long run. Organizations moving their applications from an in-house to a hosted cloud model must pay adequate attention to the information management practices of the hosting provider. Some of the key points organizations need to address include

• The service provider’s strategy for data governance across the enterprise as well as the cloud and SaaS applications
• The compatibility of the cloud/SaaS information model and the organization’s information model
• The application provider’s security strategy
• The Service provider’s integration strategies and its adherence to in-house integration standards
• Enterprise information standards.

Professional digest enlist you the strategic consideration which organizations has to follow while planning for Cloud service.

Existing organization assets and infra integration

All organization will possess their own infrastructures, applications and process. The organizations have to asses and find out solution on how the internal systems can integrate with the cloud service. The considerations should cover the ROI, usability, maintainability and technology. Recently a well known retailer outsourced its application hosting to cloud providers. They forced to bring its ecommerce application back in-house when it faced integration challenges between its enterprise applications and the e-commerce application. This resulted in inconsistent product pricing, undelivered orders and so on. The reason is the incompatibility of the core information objects across the landscape created the inefficient processes.


Clearly, isolating customers from one another is, or should be, a major concern for cloud providers. Neither data from one customer should be exposed to any other, nor should one customer's behavior affect another. With traditional outsourcing, isolation is achieved by maintaining dedicated physical infrastructure—separate production lines at a contract manufacturer, for instance—for each customer and by wiping clean all shared computers (such as workstations storing customer designs) before reuse.

To plug known security holes, cloud providers sometimes offer add-on services. For instance, Amazon Virtual Private Cloud allows the customer to specify a set of virtual machines that may communicate only through an encrypted virtual private network. EC2 also allows its users to define security groups, which operate like firewalls to control the incoming connections to a virtual machine.
If businesses are still concerned with data protection, they can always choose a private cloud: an infrastructure operated solely for a single organization. “That way access can be restricted to whatever level is required by the business, and encryption helps create even greater security. The decision making points are volume of sensitive data, and its cost of maintaining private infrastructure. Organizations can also consider keeping the sensitive data in house and moving the rest to cloud based service.


Local backup of important content on a regular basis can help reduce this problem. Also, some may want to keep sensitive and frequently accessed content on their devices to make sure they can access it anytime. All cloud service providers are giving the backup and DR facilities as a default or as a value added service. Apart from that the organization can consider taking back up and its restorations for the sensitive/ critical data. The influencers are cost and the data sensitivity. Organizations have to establish adequate SLAs to ensure the expected reliability with the service provider.


The cloud service providers have their own standards and process which are forced to the organizations to follow. Organization availing services will not have much control on the enforced process and they are supposed follow the same. Each organization will have its own regulatory and compliance specific requirements. Before selecting the cloud service provider, organizations has to do the vendor audit and ensure that the service provider’s process will not conflict with the internal regulatory/compliance requirements. We have to consider this as well when we establish SLAs. It also mandates organizations to create and modify new process in order to align with service provider’s process.


As Apple, Amazon, Google, and other companies race to offer cloud-based systems for storage, synchronization, and all sorts of applications, they’re encountering several pitfalls along the way. As more companies, government agencies, and consumers adopt cloud technologies, they’re encountering turbulence along the way. The not-unexpected hurdles include a plethora of file formats, applications that fail to operate with each other, and the inability to move data from one cloud-service vendor to another. Organization has to consider cloud portability and inter​­operability. At any point of time, organizations should be able to switch the cloud service provider and we will find it challenging unless we consider it while selecting the service provider initially. The detailed standards are evolving to ensure portability and IEEE formed a active working group for the same.

Trends That Will Affect Cloud Strategy Through 2015

Gartner has identified five cloud computing subtrends that will be accelerating, shifting or reaching a tipping point over the next three years and that users must factor into their planning processes.

Formal Decision Frameworks Facilitate Cloud Investment Optimization

The cloud promises to deliver a range of benefits, including a shift from capital-intensive to operational cost models, lower overall cost, greater agility and reduced complexity. It can also be used to shift the focus of IT resources to higher-value-added activities for the business, or to support business innovation and, potentially, lower risks. However, these prospective benefits need to be examined carefully and mapped against a number of challenges, including security, lack of transparency, concerns about performance and availability, the potential for vendor lock-in, licensing constraints and integration needs. These issues create a complex environment in which to evaluate individual cloud offerings.

Hybrid Cloud Computing Is an Imperative

Hybrid computing refers to the coordination and combination of external cloud computing services (public or private) and internal infrastructure or application services. Over time, hybrid cloud computing could lead to a unified model in which there is a single "cloud" made up of multiple cloud platforms (internal or external) that can be used, as needed, based on changing business requirements. Gartner recommends that enterprises focus near-term efforts on application and data integration, linking fixed internal and external applications with a hybrid solution. Where public cloud application services or custom applications running on public cloud infrastructures are used, guidelines and standards should be established for how these elements will combine with internal systems to form a hybrid environment.

Cloud Brokerage Will Facilitate Cloud Consumption

As cloud computing adoption proliferates, so does the need for consumption assistance. A cloud services brokerage (CSB) is a service provider that plays an intermediary role in cloud computing. Interest in the CSB concept increased last year, and Gartner expects this trend to accelerate over the next three years as more individuals, whether they are in IT or a line-of-business unit, consume cloud services without involving IT.
To address this challenge, Gartner believes that IT departments should explore how they can position themselves as CSBs to the enterprise by establishing a purchasing process that accommodates cloud adoption and encourages business units to come to the IT organization for advice and support. The enterprise CSB approach can be implemented by modifying existing processes and tools such as internal portals and service catalogs.

Cloud-Centric Design Becomes a Necessity

Many organizations look first for opportunities to migrate existing enterprise workloads to a cloud system and/or an application infrastructure. This approach may provide benefits where the workload has a highly variable resource requirement, or where the application naturally lends itself to horizontal scalability. However, to fully exploit the potential of a cloud model, applications need to be designed with the unique characteristics, limitations and opportunities of a cloud model in mind. Gartner advises enterprises to look beyond the migration of enterprise workloads to the creation of cloud-optimized applications that fully exploit the potential of the cloud to deliver global-class applications.

Cloud Computing Influences Future Data Center and Operational Models

In public cloud computing, an enterprise is acting as a consumer of services, with the cloud services provider handling the implementation details, including the data center and related operational models. However, to the extent that the enterprise continues to build its own data centers, they will be influenced by the implementation models used by cloud services providers. Gartner recommends that enterprises apply the concepts of cloud computing to future data center and infrastructure investments to increase agility and efficiency.

Additional information is available in the Gartner report "Five Cloud Computing Trends That Will Affect Your Cloud Strategy Through 2015." The report is available on Gartner's website at


As the adoption of cloud/SaaS-based applications increases, every buyer needs to understand the impact of these applications on the enterprise information landscape. The emergence of cloud services to address specific business processes/functions clearly shows the target market for such applications is moving away from the CIO’s office to the lines of business. While cloud-based services provide the flexibility and agility to meet business needs, the buyer needs to ask his/her solution provider the tough questions around both its information management processes and its ability to integrate its applications with an enterprise information architecture within the enterprise firewall. Every buyer must clearly articulate the impact of the cloud service on the organization’s information management processes and account for investments to align the new application with the organizations goals and objectives