The era of the new digital CIO

Attention all CIOs: If your job description hasn’t already changed, it’s about to. Welcome to the era of the new digital CIO; legacy business models are no longer driving the top line revenue that shareholders expect and in the words of Greg Fuller, VP of marketing, operations and technology at Pearson: “The things that made us really successful in the past will not make us successful in the future.  Scalable, direct relationships with customers can only happen digitally”.  Companies are losing market share, their customer base is shrinking, and compliance and other market factors are increasing the cost of doing business.  Household brands like Borders and Blockbuster disappeared when they failed to adapt, to innovate, and to listen to their customers. This is the reason Customer Experience Management (CEM) is now a top three priority for Fortune 2000 organisations.Let’s take a look at how this applies to a few top industries from a macro trends perspective:

  • Finance – The focus has shifted from getting customers into branches to completed online applications. Buzzwords: cost per lead, upselling, cross-selling, account openings.
  • Media – Subscription-based models have been replaced with advertising. CPM and cost per 1,000 impressions have become commoditised and profits are eroding. The focus now is on creating synergies between online, email, phone, print, social and TV channels. Buzzwords: clicks-per-million (CPM), paid walls, metering.
  • Education – The focus has shifted from classroom-based learning to delivering learning outcomes and proving efficacy within personalised learning.  Buzzwords: individualised content, adaptive learning, digital readers.
  • Retail – The focus has moved from retail stores to virtual storefronts that satisfy the needs, wants, and desires of target audiences. Buzzwords:  predictive analysis, conversion rates, order to visit value.

Got it, customer experience is important. Now what?
The reason why improving customer experience falls into the CIO’s territory is because the solution is based on technology, but has a business focus. A Web Experience Management (WEM) platform that manages content and the user experience across channels is the gold standard to improving your organisations’ customer experience. Next Generation WEM platforms have four basic tenets: they are multi-channel, contextually deliver content, can be highly personalised for targeted audiences, and are measurable with key performance indicators (KPIs) and success metrics.

Below is a transformation map that will help CIOs align leadership and create a single view of success within the organisation by improving the customer experience. There are five essential stages:

  • Step 1:  Content Strategy
    Understand your customer’s experience and how your organisation manages content.  Where is it falling short? Is the content reusable? Are you too dependent on IT to solve problems? Are your applications in silos? Speak with different industry leaders, companies and customers who can advise from experience. Identify six critical use cases, customer personas and content models.
  • Step 2: WEM Product Evaluation and Selection
    Evaluate WEM products based on these five areas: Functionality, Non-Functionality, Product Direction, Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), and Company Support.  There is a lot of great existing industry material to leverage.  And, it’s important you don’t skip the Proof-of-Concept; it is often the game changer.
  • Step 3:  WEM Platform Design and Implementation
    Develop a reference architecture or pilot. This is instrumental in establishing quick wins, focusing on information architecture, governance, training, building adoption and creating standards/best practices that other sites can leverage. It will also lower your TCO through reuse patterns.
  • Step 4:  Content Modeling and Migration
    Migrate your organisation’s web, social and mobile sites to the new platforms. This is where you want to focus on developing your Center of Excellence. It will take time, typically a site or two, before you can start optimisation efforts.
  • Step 5:  Integration and Rollout
    Focus on continuous improvement efforts and tackling more difficult use cases, such as: ERP integration, CRM, ecommerce and advanced go-to-market strategies.

Even more change ahead
For most executives, change is a way of life. Technology ensures that no industry is ever static. Yet this new focus on engagement and customer experience has stumped even the best of leaders.  Recently, I polled 39 company leaders about their digital marketing efforts. When asked where they need the most help, 60 percent answered “Digital Experience Strategy and/or Education.”

As the future evolves, the Digital CIOs would increasingly look towards driving the company growth by converting traditional business models to digital ones, and also oversee the operations in the changing digital sectors like mobile, social, cross-channel, and digital marketing. No doubt, Digital CIOs will have an important role to play -that of managing the change and importantly refocusing their organizations to successfully compete in the millennial market place.

This article was originally published on on September 24, 2013, and is re-posted here by permission.

Shane Closser

Vice President and Worldwide Customer Experience Management Head - Mobile/HTML5, UI/UX, ECM, & Social/Community, Virtusa. Shane manages over 350 content management specialists worldwide as they develop advanced CEM and ECM solutions for Virtusa’s clients. For more than a decade, he has managed 50+ content management projects and implementations. Closser is a hands-on practitioner whose clients include Fortune 500 and Global 2000 organizations and enterprises. His work was recently recognized winning Information Management’s 2009 Innovative Solution Award for Enterprise Content Management for his team’s accomplishments at National Geographic. He is a frequent speaker on issues such as ECM strategy and execution, IT governance, mobile delivery, internationalization, SEO/Analytics, Portals, and various technology trends (i.e. SOA, REST, CMIS). Recently spoke at Gilbane, AIIM, and Opentext conferences.

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