Accenture interactive-point of view:integrated-digital-platforms

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Can organizations measure up to the integrated infrastructure of a consumer’s mind, where thought processes are dynamic yet interconnected, and decisions can turn on a dime? If so, what will it …

Can organizations measure up to the integrated infrastructure of a consumer’s mind, where thought processes are dynamic yet interconnected, and decisions can turn on a dime? If so, what will it take?

Today, a host of technologies support a consumer’s journey from anonymous browser to engaged buyer: social media, paid search, content management systems, e-commerce and customer database, to name a few. All are intertwined, integrally connected to support one goal: conversion. There’s just one problem: Today, most companies do not have an integrated technical infrastructure to support that journey without interruptions.

Too many brands select platforms based on only one aspect; consequently, one system focuses on product information, another on loyalty and yet another on purchase. Integrated platforms can support multiple brands, languages and geographies, not to mention a multitude of channels including the Web, email, mobile an

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  • 1. Accenture Interactive | Point of View SeriesIntegratedDigital PlatformsFlexible technology to meetthe consumer challenge
  • 2. Integrated Digital PlatformsFlexible technology to meet the consumer challengeCan organizations measure up to Consider a fairly typical journey today’s Now consider the intricate web of technologiesthe integrated infrastructure of a consumer
takes when looking for a product. that support a consumer’s journey from A new mother, for example, wanting to freshen anonymous browser to engaged buyer:consumer’s mind, where thought her look, is browsing for hair color. For her, social media, paid search, content managementprocesses are dynamic yet brand engagement begins with a Twitter post systems, e-commerce and customer database,interconnected, and decisions can about a new color formula revolutionizing to name a few. All are intertwined, integrallyturn on a dime? If so, what will it take? the product. She is intrigued and goes to connected to support one goal: conversion. Google Search, which sends her to a product There’s just one problem: Today, most website. There, she reads the opinions of companies do not have an integrated other users and views their satisfaction technical infrastructure to support that ratings, watches a video on application journey without interruptions. Instead, techniques, finds out whether or not the companies have developed multiple so-called product is environmentally friendly, and even “best-of-breed” systems, each supporting a checks out a blog link to a well-known hair distinct stop along the way, but not the stylist. The product site also gives our consumer entire journey. the option of becoming a member, joining a Facebook community and signing up to receive special promotions on hair color products. The ultimate stop in this journey: store, shelf (or online) and purchase.Growing Complexity of Digital Interactions Customer Search Site Display Social Mobile E-mail Analytics Keyword Site Media FB Mobile E-mail Analyses Analytics Analytics Analytics Analytics Analytics Applications Search Bid Website Media Buying Facebook Mobile Apps E-mail Apps Management (DSP) Content & Data Queries, Cookies, Interests, Check-in, 1st Party, Keywords, Behavioral, Likes, Apps 3rd Party, Catalogs Site Tweets Registration2
  • 3. From “best-of-breed” to integrated platforms Just as other functions have gone through Against the new digital yardstick,Not so long ago, when technology changed massive paradigm shifts (remember the 1980s most platforms that claim to be atat a slower pace, business applications took and the era of supply chain reengineering), the top fall flat.years to build. Customer Relationship digital marketing has reached a tipping point.Management (CRM) systems could take three It is both mature and strategically importantyears to plan and another three to execute. enough to warrant a re-think of fundamentalIn today’s digital climate, time is a luxury approaches. Just like the Six Sigma push oforganizations can no longer afford. The the 1990s, the need of the hour is to shiftunderlying architecture of business from a mentality of siloed areas of excellenceapplications needs to be flexible, to meet the to seamless operations.rapidly changing demands of consumers, yetrobust, to ensure security of data. And consumers Digital’s own paradigm shift is marked by awant a seamless and relevant experience focus that is first, last and always on theacross all touchpoints—online, offline and on overall consumer experience—from consideration
the go—the “R Factor”1 consumer challenge. to loyalty. Technology solutions should be selected based on delivering the full consumerMeasuring up to this new digital yardstick is, lifecycle. Too many brands select platformsindeed, proving demanding for most platforms. based on only one aspect; consequently, oneTo accommodate the ever-expanding universe system focuses on product information,of consumer touchpoints, platforms need to another on loyalty and yet another on readily adaptable to any context—from Integrated platforms can support multiplethe corporate website, to social media pages, brands, languages and geographies, not toto customer contact systems. They also need mention a multitude of channels includingto be dynamic and smart enough to allow the Web, e-mail, mobile and more.publishers to execute different experienceswith individualized e-shopfront presentationsto elicit different customer behavior. This meansthat truly “best-of-breed” platforms are highlyresponsive and relevant to customers (evenanonymous ones); they anticipate their needsand create appropriate offerings on-the-fly. 3
  • 4. From Point Solutions… Social Media Manual (Radian6) Rules Setting Content Management Manual (Adobe CQ5) Rules Setting Faceted Search Manual (Google) Rules SettingToward Integrated Platform Architecture… Platform Services Digital Marketing Business Cockpit Site Enablement Consumer Profile Digital Dashboard Site Accelerator Digital Optimization Digital Controls Conversion Tools Asset Gallery Core Platform Base Services Channels & Devices Marketing Common Applications Rendering Social Media Commerce Syndication Access Controls Advertising Integration Services Operations & Admin Data Integration Services Platform Admin Exposed Platform Services Operations Services Data Services Consumer Data Services Content Management Services Analytics & Reporting Services4
  • 5. Ready to buildconsumer-centricintegrated digitalplatforms?The digital ecosystem • Enterprise-level technology platform Eventually, integrated digital platforms willReady to build consumer-centric integrated Technology departments should consider a help consolidate agency relationships underdigital platforms? Not quite. The most critical short list of technical components that can one unified governance model and helpelement of a flexible and constantly evolving be leveraged to support vastly different achieve cost competitiveness, better contentdigital ecosystem is an end-to-end process communication needs. An orchestrated management and reuse, and brand consistencysupporting seamless consumer experience. review of the technical requirements will across geographies as well as channels.Current processes must be understood, help reduce duplication of effort, anddocumented and optimized. These processes speed up the launch of new tools.will cross organizational boundaries andseemingly lead to new digital operating models. • Centers of excellence Integrated operating structures demand aAt the very least, companies need to have a complex mix of staff to be involved inclear understanding of the following aspects content development and publishing,when developing integrated digital platforms: spanning product groups, geographies, and functional areas. Talent and skills to• Corporate goals and meet these needs may be hard to come by. communication objectives By creating centers of excellence, companies Both need to be actionable and prioritized can leverage valuable skills effectively and for each segment of the audience to ensure efficiently across the organization. This optimal design. approach also enables the establishment of formal, yet flexible change management• Needs of consumers, employees, processes that can be adapted to the investors and partners disparate needs of different groups. Businesses have a complex matrix of constituents, both external (consumers, prospects, press, investors, potential employees) and internal (sales, marketing, HR, operations). A clear understanding of their unique needs and respective priorities is critical before mapping out a technology solution.• Brand goals These will drive
the look and feel of a technology solution as well as the design of an interaction, which significantly influences the consumer experience. 5
  • 6. So, what should wefocus upon firstwhen buildingenterprise digitalplatforms?Data AnalyticsToday, we have abundant (structured Digital is highly measurable, and itand unstructured) data on prospects is about time that we startedand current customers. This data is measuring it! Interactive channelslocked in a variety of function- generate an enormous amount ofspecific applications and channel- statistics, but the key questionsspecific databases, and often stored about digital marketing performancein third-party systems. In order to often remain unanswered.strive for a seamless and relevant Companies need to define anconsumer experience, we need to analytics infrastructure that allowsbring it together. Does it mean that management to understand digitalall data must be consolidated into business performance vis-à-vis othera gigantic database available in channels and the competition,real time? No, we should focus only generating meaningful insights.on actionable data supportingmeaningful dialog. The goal of digital platforms cannot begin to be fulfilled unlessContent the underlying technologiesIt is what makes conversations facilitate seamless interaction acrossrelevant. Content is produced by a rapidly evolving digital channelsvariety of internal and external such as websites, portals, mobile,organizations, and it comes from social, e-commerce, campaignmultiple sources. The real cost and management, and more. Companies,value of the content production and therefore, need to be prepared todistribution is rarely understood. It plug and play and update currentmust be viewed as a mission-critical as well as future technologyasset and managed accordingly. components while maintaining the integrated core backbone—data, content and analytics.6
  • 7. New mindset To learn more about creating To really give the consumer center stage in integrated digital platforms, contact: the organization of tomorrow, it is imperative that companies embrace a technology strategy Anatoly Roytman today that helps drive consumer-centric digital platforms—critical for achieving consumer relevance at scale. Executives should challenge Tel: any current thinking which may limit their U.S. +1 877 609 8723 world of possibilities and prevent them from International +1 312 842 5337 taking a leap in a new direction. Instead, they should adopt a “growth mindset” that believes in unlimited possibilities, and yearns to learn and conceptualize new approaches to problems. A mindset that is comfortable stretching and adapting to new realities and making connections across all technology and business touchpoints.21 For details, see Baiju Shah and Nandini Nayak, “Got the R Factor: Driving breakthrough performance in the Era of Relevance,” Accenture-Relevance-At-Scale-POV-WEB-5April.pdf, accessed June 28, 2012.2 Carol Dweck has done a great deal of research on the “fixed mindset” and “growth mindset”; both are highly relevant to the corporate world, given that they influence the outcome of a strategy. See Carol S. Dweck, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success (New York: Random House, 2006). 7
  • 8. About Accenture InteractiveAccenture Interactive’s 1,500 professionals help the world’s leading brands drive superiormarketing performance across the full multi-channel customer experience. Leveraging the fullscale of more than 249,000 Accenture employees serving clients in more than 120 countries,Accenture Interactive offers integrated, industrialized and industry-driven marketing solutionsand services across consulting, technology and outsourcing powered by analytics. Follow@AccentureSocial or visit AccentureAccenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcingcompany, with more than 249,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries.Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries andbusiness functions, and extensive research on the world’s most successful companies,Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businessesand governments. The company generated net revenues of US$25.5 billion for the fiscalyear ended August 31, 2011. Its home page is © 2012 AccentureAll rights reserved.Accenture, its logo, andHigh Performance Deliveredare trademarks of Accenture.The views and opinions in this article should not be viewed as professional advice with respect to your business.