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It Takes an Ecosystem: How Technology Companies Deliver Exceptional Experiences

Cognizant
Cognizant

Experience is evolving into a strategy that reaches across technology companies. We offer guidance on the rise of experience and its role in business modernization, with details on how orgnizations can build the ecosystem to support it.

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August 2021
It Takes an Ecosystem:
How Technology Companies
Deliver Exceptional Experiences
Experience is evolving into a strategy that reaches across technology companies.
We offer guidance on the rise of experience and its role in business modernization,
with details on how organizations can build the ecosystem to support it.
2 / It Takes an Ecosystem: How Technology Companies Deliver Exceptional Experiences
Contents
Click a link below to jump to that section.
3	Introduction
4	
How we got here: The winding path of experience
6	
Connected selling: The fuel for experience
8	 The experience ecosystem in action
9	
CX and the bottom line: What research reveals
about tech companies
	
10	 Why organizational buy-in matters
11	 The challenge of strategic disconnect
12	
What keeps employees from delivering on tech
companies’ CX vision?
13	
Getting started: Building an experience ecosystem
18	 Looking forward
19	 About the author
3 / It Takes an Ecosystem: How Technology Companies Deliver Exceptional Experiences  Back to Contents
Introduction
Experience is breaking out. Having replaced price and product as the critical
mechanisms for competition, experience is finding its way into every function at
technology companies.
While it typically remains centralized within a single
function — usually customer experience — experience’s
contributions ripple throughout tech companies, from
the front office and human resources to RD, sales and
marketing, and the supply chain.
Experience has ascended to a company-wide goal and
even a metric, as research commissioned by Cognizant
Digital Experience highlights. Equally important, the
evolving role of external partners in the ecosystem
that supports experience signals a strategic shift in
technology companies’ approach to sales.
The shift is a direct result of the rise of cloud-based
subscription and as-a-service consumption models,
where the focus is on how customers and employees
feel when they interact with a brand rather than
product differentiation. Instead of long pipelines and
multimillion-dollar deals, the new models emphasize
building relationships that are nurtured throughout the
customer lifecycle. Partnerships become central to the
ecosystems through which products and services are
sold — and to experience. The result is a community
of connected sellers that’s akin to the iPhone and its
platform of developers. That is, an ecosystem that
values all parties’ creativity and allows them to do more
together than they can separately.
This ebook offers guidance on the experience
ecosystem’s potential to engineer modern technology
businesses, with details on how organizations can build
the platform to support it.
4 / It Takes an Ecosystem: How Technology Companies Deliver Exceptional Experiences  Back to Contents
Experience is the focus of technology companies everywhere. But its growth has been
anything but a straight trajectory.
For the last few years, omnichannel has taken a star turn in the world of experience.
It’s a significant advance that lets customers interact with companies through
multiple avenues — e-commerce, mobile apps, email, call centers, etc.— and
enables companies to reach back with hyper-personalized offers.
But omnichannel efforts often remain siloed, with little integration among them
and a channel-centric view of experience that runs counter to customers’
perspective: Customers think of products and services as experiences; they
don’t distinguish by channel.
The experience ecosystem requires the dismantling of silos. It supercedes the vertical
views of customer experience (CX), employee experience (EX) and user experience
(UX) to unite the disciplines into a single strategy. Optimized experience becomes
the responsibility of everyone across the enterprise. For example, as on-time delivery
becomes a core competency, supply chain officers scrutinize experience as closely as
their peers in sales and marketing. Gartner refers to the trend as “total experience,”
and named it a top strategic technology trend for 2021.
How we got here: The winding
path of experience
5 / It Takes an Ecosystem: How Technology Companies Deliver Exceptional Experiences  Back to Contents
Yet as business guru Peter Drucker wisely
observed,“if you can’t measure it, you can’t
manage it,” so we see experience evolving into a
key performance indicator (KPI) that, like ROI and
customer satisfaction, will be used by businesses
to measure and report in quarterly and annual
financial statements.
One potential example is to aggregate monthly
recurring revenue (MRR), net promoter score
(NPS) and churn rate (CR) into a metric that
predicts the risks on recurring revenue of a
customer/partner segment or service.
The graph at right shows what a score curve
for experience might look like. The segment
on the lowest end requires attention as it
impacts the overall score and indicates potential
detractors from a positive experience — whether
for customers, partners or employees. The
Responsive segment is engaged and has the
potential to pivot to High Performers.
Based on the output, organizations would create
a robust plan for each segment. A failure mode
and effect analysis (FMEA) would be a structured
action plan to address each sub-metric
individually and assist in reducing risk priority
numbers (RPNs).
Overall
0%
Benchmark Averages
100%
30%
40%
65%
Detractors
High Performers
Potential (36%)
Your Organization's Experience Score (57%)
Average Global Benchmark (53%)
High Performing Companies/Products (78%)
Indifferent
Responsive
Experience as a KPI: Sample score curve
6 / It Takes an Ecosystem: How Technology Companies Deliver Exceptional Experiences  Back to Contents
If experience is poised to become the engine for technology companies,
connected selling will be its fuel. It’s gaining steam as increasing numbers
of companies shift their portfolios to consumption-based models. But
co-selling is much more than transactional. It reflects the elevated roles of
influence and collaboration that experience brings to enterprises.
Co-selling takes a broad view of experience and depends on an open
ecosystem. It focuses on openness not just with APIs but also in culture and
structure. With its ability to remove friction from the distribution of products
and services and to create value for customers, co-selling has the potential
to help technology companies drive customer loyalty and reduce churn by
offering B2B customers the platforms they need to assemble technology
stacks. It creates stickiness.
Microsoft and Amazon Web Services have rolled out extensive co-selling
programs in recent years. Start-ups are further advancing collaborative
sales by proactively introducing prospective partners to each other. For
example, CoSell connects B2B companies’ CRM systems to find customer
overlaps and facilitate introductions. Affinity puts a fresh spin on CRM by
using AI to analyze relationship strengths and then highlighting the best
path to introductions.
Behind the emphasis on experience and connected selling is an important
trend: Partnerships are going virtual, with knowledge-sharing portals taking
the lead in highlighting potential synergies and showing who’s connected to
whom.
Connected selling: The fuel for experience
Ad

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It Takes an Ecosystem: How Technology Companies Deliver Exceptional Experiences

  • 1. August 2021 It Takes an Ecosystem: How Technology Companies Deliver Exceptional Experiences Experience is evolving into a strategy that reaches across technology companies. We offer guidance on the rise of experience and its role in business modernization, with details on how organizations can build the ecosystem to support it.
  • 2. 2 / It Takes an Ecosystem: How Technology Companies Deliver Exceptional Experiences Contents Click a link below to jump to that section. 3 Introduction 4 How we got here: The winding path of experience 6 Connected selling: The fuel for experience 8 The experience ecosystem in action 9 CX and the bottom line: What research reveals about tech companies 10 Why organizational buy-in matters 11 The challenge of strategic disconnect 12 What keeps employees from delivering on tech companies’ CX vision? 13 Getting started: Building an experience ecosystem 18 Looking forward 19 About the author
  • 3. 3 / It Takes an Ecosystem: How Technology Companies Deliver Exceptional Experiences Back to Contents Introduction Experience is breaking out. Having replaced price and product as the critical mechanisms for competition, experience is finding its way into every function at technology companies. While it typically remains centralized within a single function — usually customer experience — experience’s contributions ripple throughout tech companies, from the front office and human resources to RD, sales and marketing, and the supply chain. Experience has ascended to a company-wide goal and even a metric, as research commissioned by Cognizant Digital Experience highlights. Equally important, the evolving role of external partners in the ecosystem that supports experience signals a strategic shift in technology companies’ approach to sales. The shift is a direct result of the rise of cloud-based subscription and as-a-service consumption models, where the focus is on how customers and employees feel when they interact with a brand rather than product differentiation. Instead of long pipelines and multimillion-dollar deals, the new models emphasize building relationships that are nurtured throughout the customer lifecycle. Partnerships become central to the ecosystems through which products and services are sold — and to experience. The result is a community of connected sellers that’s akin to the iPhone and its platform of developers. That is, an ecosystem that values all parties’ creativity and allows them to do more together than they can separately. This ebook offers guidance on the experience ecosystem’s potential to engineer modern technology businesses, with details on how organizations can build the platform to support it.
  • 4. 4 / It Takes an Ecosystem: How Technology Companies Deliver Exceptional Experiences Back to Contents Experience is the focus of technology companies everywhere. But its growth has been anything but a straight trajectory. For the last few years, omnichannel has taken a star turn in the world of experience. It’s a significant advance that lets customers interact with companies through multiple avenues — e-commerce, mobile apps, email, call centers, etc.— and enables companies to reach back with hyper-personalized offers. But omnichannel efforts often remain siloed, with little integration among them and a channel-centric view of experience that runs counter to customers’ perspective: Customers think of products and services as experiences; they don’t distinguish by channel. The experience ecosystem requires the dismantling of silos. It supercedes the vertical views of customer experience (CX), employee experience (EX) and user experience (UX) to unite the disciplines into a single strategy. Optimized experience becomes the responsibility of everyone across the enterprise. For example, as on-time delivery becomes a core competency, supply chain officers scrutinize experience as closely as their peers in sales and marketing. Gartner refers to the trend as “total experience,” and named it a top strategic technology trend for 2021. How we got here: The winding path of experience
  • 5. 5 / It Takes an Ecosystem: How Technology Companies Deliver Exceptional Experiences Back to Contents Yet as business guru Peter Drucker wisely observed,“if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it,” so we see experience evolving into a key performance indicator (KPI) that, like ROI and customer satisfaction, will be used by businesses to measure and report in quarterly and annual financial statements. One potential example is to aggregate monthly recurring revenue (MRR), net promoter score (NPS) and churn rate (CR) into a metric that predicts the risks on recurring revenue of a customer/partner segment or service. The graph at right shows what a score curve for experience might look like. The segment on the lowest end requires attention as it impacts the overall score and indicates potential detractors from a positive experience — whether for customers, partners or employees. The Responsive segment is engaged and has the potential to pivot to High Performers. Based on the output, organizations would create a robust plan for each segment. A failure mode and effect analysis (FMEA) would be a structured action plan to address each sub-metric individually and assist in reducing risk priority numbers (RPNs). Overall 0% Benchmark Averages 100% 30% 40% 65% Detractors High Performers Potential (36%) Your Organization's Experience Score (57%) Average Global Benchmark (53%) High Performing Companies/Products (78%) Indifferent Responsive Experience as a KPI: Sample score curve
  • 6. 6 / It Takes an Ecosystem: How Technology Companies Deliver Exceptional Experiences Back to Contents If experience is poised to become the engine for technology companies, connected selling will be its fuel. It’s gaining steam as increasing numbers of companies shift their portfolios to consumption-based models. But co-selling is much more than transactional. It reflects the elevated roles of influence and collaboration that experience brings to enterprises. Co-selling takes a broad view of experience and depends on an open ecosystem. It focuses on openness not just with APIs but also in culture and structure. With its ability to remove friction from the distribution of products and services and to create value for customers, co-selling has the potential to help technology companies drive customer loyalty and reduce churn by offering B2B customers the platforms they need to assemble technology stacks. It creates stickiness. Microsoft and Amazon Web Services have rolled out extensive co-selling programs in recent years. Start-ups are further advancing collaborative sales by proactively introducing prospective partners to each other. For example, CoSell connects B2B companies’ CRM systems to find customer overlaps and facilitate introductions. Affinity puts a fresh spin on CRM by using AI to analyze relationship strengths and then highlighting the best path to introductions. Behind the emphasis on experience and connected selling is an important trend: Partnerships are going virtual, with knowledge-sharing portals taking the lead in highlighting potential synergies and showing who’s connected to whom. Connected selling: The fuel for experience
  • 7. 7 / It Takes an Ecosystem: How Technology Companies Deliver Exceptional Experiences Back to Contents Insights Data Data Experience Front Office Back Office Ecosystem Engag e m e n t s E n t e r p r i s e E n gagements Scalable Headless Architecture New Operating Model Bot IoT AR/VR Mobile People Assets API Connected Processes Actions Communities and Experience Portals Connected Selling + Cross-selling Upselling Enabled by Ecosystem New Customer Onboarding Digital Backbone Anatomy of the experience ecosystem The following components are essential to creating and delivering a complete and consistent experience to customers, employees and partners.
  • 8. 8 / It Takes an Ecosystem: How Technology Companies Deliver Exceptional Experiences Back to Contents The experience ecosystem in action The reinvention of its partner experience by a multinational technology conglomerate is a strong example of how tech companies are putting connected selling into action. By creating an open ecosystem, the company is positioning its partners to pursue lifecycle and everything-as-a-service opportunities. In the span of five Sprints,we rolled out the pilot for the company’s first digital platform for centralized delivery of all partner resources. With its UX-driven approach, the platform is intuitive and simple to use for the company’s thousands of partners to achieve greater growth and improved margin profiles. The unified platform provides a connected experience and data- driven decision-making for 60,000 partners and 240,000 partner users. We partnered with the company to consolidate 130 applications into the platform. To avoid time-consuming customization, we used standard capabilities, and we also maintained data security at the solution’s core. The cloud-based solution includes API-enabled integration and automation of reporting partner onboarding. The result for partners is a much-needed single source of information. The platform houses profile details and contact management as well as certifications and specializations. Its key innovations include personalized content based on partners’ sales roles as well as guidance on how to convert information into sales. Embedded analytics enables data-driven decision-making. For the company, the platform provides a more effective way to onboard and manage partners and to share product insights. It also provides real- time monitoring and reporting of partners’ sales and performance. Most important, however, the platform enables the company’s vast network of partners to generate more revenue by bundling and packaging products in ways they couldn’t in the past.
  • 9. 9 / It Takes an Ecosystem: How Technology Companies Deliver Exceptional Experiences Back to Contents Our research revealed enterprises that invest in employee and partner enablement and experiences recognize tangible business benefits. Among technology companies, expectations are high when it comes to the top expected business benefits of improved CX, with talent retention topping the list. CX and the bottom line: What research reveals about tech companies Aspirations for experience Asked “In what ways will CX improvements benefit your company’s overall success?” the following percentages of re- spondents selected “This is a benefit we hope to realize”: Base: 105 CX strategy leaders at technology companies Source: Forrester Research study commissioned by Cognizant Digital Experience 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% Generate additional revenue through new customers Improve perception by capital markets by better connecting improvements to corporate goals Lower financial/credit risk by reducing the churn that jeopardizes cash flow Upsell existing customers Reduce costs to serve by automating manual processes Improve employee retention by removing unnecessary processes that lower productivity and engagement 48% 46% 42% 41% 41% 40%
  • 10. 10 / It Takes an Ecosystem: How Technology Companies Deliver Exceptional Experiences Back to Contents Even after technology companies build out the experience ecosystem, capitalizing on its promise requires organizational buy-in. Our research found shockingly few technology companies fully committed to the enterprise-wide education and communication that’s needed to make the experience ecosystem a reality. For example, more than one quarter said improving employee and partner enablement only partially or slightly describes their companies’ approach to CX. Less than one third completely agree that CX improvements are a shared responsibility across their organization. Why organizational buy-in matters The commitment vision challenge “How well do the following describe your organization’s approach to CX?” Base: 105 CX strategy leaders at technology companies Source: Forrester Research study commissioned by Cognizant Digital Experience 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% CX improvements are a shared responsibility across the organization My company communicates CX metrics with actionable insights to employees and partners My company educates employees about our customers, our CX vision and the employee’s role in fulfilling our CX vision My company educates partners about our customers, our CX vision and the partner’s role in fulfilling our CX vision My company’s vision for improving CX includes improving partner enablement My company’s vision for improving CX includes improving employee enablement Not at all Slightly Partially Mostly Completely 27% 28% 33% 35% 24% 31% 47% 43% 44% 37% 50% 39% 24% 29% 21% 21% 26% 25% 3% 1% 2% 6% 1% 4% 0% 0% 0% 1% 0% 1%
  • 11. 11 / It Takes an Ecosystem: How Technology Companies Deliver Exceptional Experiences Back to Contents Aligning around experience is a challenge for many technology companies, and the disconnect has widespread implications for organizations’ ability to provide cohesive CX and EX. Technology companies’ top three challenges to aligning strategies for CX and employee/partner enablement reveal that companies are still working to get the basics right. The challenge of strategic disconnect Why disjointed experiences occur “What challenges does your company face with creating better alignment between your employee and/or partner enablement strategies and CX strategies?” Base: 105 CX strategy leaders at technology companies Source: Forrester Research study commissioned by Cognizant Digital Experience 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% Employee goals are in tension across business functions. We prioritize our largest partners and fail to work with many of our smaller partners on CX improvements. Key stakeholders are not aligned on the customer impact of better enabling employees. 45% 42% 44%
  • 12. 12 / It Takes an Ecosystem: How Technology Companies Deliver Exceptional Experiences Back to Contents What keeps employees from delivering on tech companies’ CX vision? Key experience impediments “What is preventing employees from delivering customer experiences that align to the company’s CX vision?” Base: 105 CX strategy leaders at technology companies Source: Forrester Research study commissioned by Cognizant Digital Experience 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% Difficulty executing simple tasks Slow, inefficient processes for implementing new processes/changes Constantly changing customer expectations to which we can’t adapt quickly enough Employee challenges around empathizing with customers because they lack enough insight into the customer’s situation to truly understand where the customer is coming from 37% 33% 30% 30%
  • 13. 13 / It Takes an Ecosystem: How Technology Companies Deliver Exceptional Experiences Back to Contents We suggest an end-to-end approach to building an experience ecosystem. It combines CX strategy, technology innovation and data integration among systems of record that together feed systems of engagement to create experience. By building out the ecosystem, companies position their organizations to quickly develop customer-centric initiatives supported by standardized platforms, processes, technologies and data. What follows are the steps to build an experience ecosystem that benefits your organization, partners and customers. Getting started: Building an experience ecosystem
  • 14. 14 / It Takes an Ecosystem: How Technology Companies Deliver Exceptional Experiences Back to Contents Adopt a horizontal model for experience The first step to building the experience ecosystem is about process, not tools. Efforts to share responsibility for experience throughout organizations are already well underway, with 90% of companies having established the positions of chief experience officer or chief customer officer or the equivalent. It’s a good start, but it remains a vertical, siloed view. Adopting the horizontal model requires going further by assigning CX leads within each function, from RD and development to human resources and finance. This model credits each function with playing a critical role in customer retention, increased adoption and enhanced consumption. The advantage of the cross-functional view is that it enables everyone to see how the dots of experience connect throughout the enterprise. It’s important to note that distributing responsibility for experience requires implementing experience-related metrics at the departmental level. For example, in addition to velocity, an experience KPI for development teams might feature adoption rates. That is, how widely a new feature is used by customers, how often key users access it and the average length of time to adopt it. 1
  • 15. 15 / It Takes an Ecosystem: How Technology Companies Deliver Exceptional Experiences Back to Contents Make experience insight-driven Most tech companies share the same straightforward mission for customer data: Collect it, analyze it and use it to support customers. Many are proficient at the first, most stumble on the second, and almost none consistently use data to support the customer — a gap that must be closed to establish a successful experience ecosystem. It’s no secret that tech companies typically struggle to apply and monetize the wealth of historical data they have amassed. Data in outdated formats remains a challenge, as does integrating data from external sources such as social networks to generate a 360-degree view of the customer. The upshot? Tech companies are rich in data but often poor in making sense of it. Yet experience requires deriving meaning from data and converting it into insight-driven experience. Forecasting with data isn’t enough. For example, we partnered with one of the world’s largest technology distributors to create a new business model and platform for the company that includes a 360-degree view of consumption of its products and services across the value chain. Our team architected a solution to connect all cloud services for easier provisioning, billing, management and monetization. The resulting ecosystem spans 78 countries, 16 currencies and nine languages. Like experience, we see data use also becoming a metric, with analysts evaluating an organization’s credibility and stability based on its use of data, reviewing it along with other assets and liabilities on the balance sheet. In the meantime, for tech companies building experience ecosystems, it’s critical that they lead with data to accomplish three objectives: ❙ Improve UX with frictionless and accessible data on demand at the point of need ❙ Enable self-service through intuitive, interactive dashboards that provide relevant insights and enable easy- to-download reports ❙ Reduce customer churn by capturing in-house and external data for customers and using a customer master to identify areas of synergy and individual needs of customers/ brands to deliver unified, enriched experience across channels with contextual, personalized content 2
  • 16. 16 / It Takes an Ecosystem: How Technology Companies Deliver Exceptional Experiences Back to Contents Re-architect for the future Getting experience onto the strategic agendas of CIOs and CTOs takes commitment to building the platform that forms the center of the ecosystem. It’s critical for removing friction from the distribution of products and services and creating value for customers. We suggest the following: ❙ Core modernization and cloud technology to accelerate delivery of managed experience services and SaaS to lines of business, and to generate full customer value across the lifecycle. ❙ Agile tools and a scalable architecture that enable experience to break out of technology silos, connect front and back offices, and accommodate the continuous addition of new features. ❙ Rationalizing applications and portals to a single platform plays a key role in a streamlined experience ecosystem.The single platform is essential for delivering partner efficiencies such as faster enrollment and increased co-selling opportunities. ❙ A headless architecture for publishing content over multiple channels. By decoupling the UI from back-end logic, headless architecture shines as a path for producing and managing content and ensuring a seamless experience. ❙ AI/ML-based automation enables speed-to- market, a key driver for subscription services, and enables applications to gather data and integrate with existing data systems. ❙ Balance security with CX. Experience ecosystems require secure digital channels that don’t negatively impact CX through slow authentication and login. 3
  • 17. 17 / It Takes an Ecosystem: How Technology Companies Deliver Exceptional Experiences Back to Contents Deepen engagement through positive onboarding A well-planned onboarding process for partners and customers is critical for the experience ecosystem because it sets the tone for an ongoing relationship. Successful onboarding lets companies capitalize on that and take the first steps toward creating customer lifetime value. Positive onboarding starts with knowing what success looks like for partners, and especially for customers. Why do they use your products and services? What are their business goals, and what role do your products and services play in enabling them to reach those goals? Understanding the answers is key to an onboarding process that contributes to the experience ecosystem. To ensure both partners and customers understand how your products and services contribute to their success, be sure your onboarding incorporates the following elements: ❙ Demonstrate value quickly ❙ Empower the customer and encourage self-help ❙ Evaluate onboarding effectiveness through customer surveys and support metrics Remember that the onboarding process needs constant revision and iteration to ensure it stays relevant for customers’ needs. 4
  • 18. 18 / It Takes an Ecosystem: How Technology Companies Deliver Exceptional Experiences Back to Contents Looking forward With experience in a still-fluid state, creating a healthy, thriving ecosystem positions technology companies to quickly develop customer-centric initiatives. Forming the ecosystems takes organizational change as well as cloud- based technology, tools and data. Yet the process is a win-win-win, enabling organizations, partners and customers to come together in ways that make it easier for B2B customers to assemble the complex stacks that run their businesses and maximize the recurring revenues of consumption-based products and services. The next generation of ecosystems will take a verticalized approach, where companies will look at industrializing their products and reach in order to gain a competitive advantage by meeting customer demands. Ecosystem 2.0 will be an industrialized micro-ecosystem play.
  • 19. Back to Contents 19 / It Takes an Ecosystem: How Technology Companies Deliver Exceptional Experiences About the author Anish Nair Technology Practice, Cognizant Anish Nair is a Global Client Partner in Cognizant’s Technology Industry Practice. Anish has 25-plus years of experience managing high-tech relationships with Fortune 500 and Global 2000 clients. A Six Sigma black belt and green belt certified professional, he has delivered multiple enterprise transformation initiatives for CXOs at companies across industries. Anish brings a fresh perspective on CX strategy, core modernization and the business pivots needed to capitalize on market trends. With a deep understanding of the experience ecosystem, Anish helps high-tech companies combine data, insights and trends to successfully compete in the digital era. Anish.Nair3@cognizant.com | www.linkedin.com/in/anish-nair-2667698/
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