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Expert advice from Joël Depernet, Executive Vice President R&D, Axway 

Joel Depernet
Joel Depernet

Reaching beyond corporate boundaries is one of the essential requirements for omnichannel success. So how can organisations use this open approach to build, nourish and grow Customer Experience Networks? 

Expose data to drive innovation and monetisation

From an organisation’s point of view, Customer Experience (CX) Networks are about moving away from a traditional internal/external segmentation to a more open, client-focused approach where external partners become genuine company stakeholders.

To begin this process, it’s crucial to establish a map of the CX Networks most valuable to the organisation and share a common vision with the appropriate stakeholders. Then, you can innovate new ways of engaging within these networks while showing how they can enrich and support other projects and initiatives.

The ultimate goalis for multi-company processes to drive growth in the organisation by improving operational efficiency, reducing time to market, creating greater agility and optimally enhancing the overall customer experience.

All of the above calls for the secure, consistent and efficient exposure of data to everyone involved – from users, to developers, to partners. Analysis of the data will then lead to service quality improvements, better performance and higher levels of adoption and engagement.

This agile approach will likely introduce fresh, experimental business models and devise new, more predictive and better-developed experiences. Your “data as capital” becomes “data as products and services” which can, of course, be monetised…

Encourage digital “facilitators”

The data-fuelled digital technologies now within reach of business operations teams and marketing departments mean the roles of IS departments, IS managers, company architects and IT teams are critically important. These are the people working to facilitate a trouble-free expansion of the ecosystem.

Most importantly, previously unused data can now be accessed in the form of shared services, both internal and external, to improve operational efficiency. The adoption of a DevOps approach, with its encouragement of operational automation, rationalisation and agility, is potentially useful here.

However, be warned: opening data to ecosystems in this way grants access to your information system. And this access must be provided securely via the careful, precise management of API life cycles.

The parties primarily affected by this new, open ecosystem are your suppliers and partners. The aim is to reduce time to market by simplifying on-boarding processes and coordinating resources in order to maximise external data, increase market penetration and access innovation from outside the company.

However, customers should be able to participate in this open approach too. To effectively engage them, all applications must be consistently attractive, unique and no longer be based solely on company-derived data. It has to incorporate data from your wider ecosystem – or even wholly external data.

Restructure the company

Using existing data to improve the customer experience is one thing. But successful companies also realise a new approach involves the creation of new data, which calls for identification and management requirements. In this respect, the Big Data approach enables a total rethink of customer engagement, using this new data to tailor the customer pathway according to observed changes in customer expectations, preferences and behaviour.

In short, building CX Network srepresents a paradigm shift for the entire company. They require a rigorously prepared, well-thought-out change management policy. Opting for an exploratory approach in the beginning will boost adoption and acceptance, such as starting from the existing situation and showing potential advantages from an organisational and commercial point of view.

Adopting such an approach therefore becomes a question of how far are you willing to go? Will you explore beyond the horizon of the company itself? Many projects and initiatives of this kind are now flourishing on an international scale, such as those facilitated by the now legendary DigiLab, and offer unprecedented innovation potential.