Here's why Benchmarking is important to digital transformation

In today’s world where information is democratized to a large extent, end consumers have become the most powerful body in determining brand presence, relevance and obsolescence for enterprises. They have become the starting and ending point of any digital transformation initiative and in a way, become brand enhancers and executioners. For companies embarking on digital transformation initiatives, often times, it is a daunting task to know where they stand currently in terms of their maturity levels and where they want to see themselves at the end of their digital transformation journey. Without a map, navigating through this journey leads to complexities with added twists and turns, making it less pleasant for both the drivers and the intended beneficiaries of digital transformation initiatives, mostly, the end consumers. Enterprises should therefore have a quick, repeatable and an easy way to benchmark their current digital transformation initiative to offer personalized, original, fun-filled, and helpful services.

Benchmarking helps enterprises identify gaps in their transformation strategy and execution. Enterprises can benchmark their digital transformation initiatives comparing with the best-of-breed capabilities within an industry (say a retail company benchmarking its initiatives against the best practices in the retail space), or across industry spectrums (for e.g., utility companies benchmarking capabilities against retail, hi-tech companies). Companies that have achieved higher maturity levels within an industry often, look for inspiration from a higher maturity player in a different but more mature industry. Benchmarking digital transformation initiatives start with understanding the desired capabilities and end outcomes and then assessing where they are in offering those in comparison with inter- or intra- industry best practices. Broadly, each of these capabilities support one of four different phases and can often be selectively meshed to offer highly distinct customer experiences:

· Listen: Capabilities that enable enterprises to analyze the voice of the customer, either to understand the effectiveness of a given experience, or to make targeted interventions where experiences go wrong (or right!)
· Observe: Capabilities that enable monitoring of customer behaviors to assess the effectiveness of customer experience designs, often in real-time so that appropriate actions (x-sell, up-sell etc.) can be initiated
· Deliver: Technologies – often, leading-edge – that provide personalized, entertaining, surprising (positive side!), or helpful customer experiences
· Manage: Operational applications that enable customer-facing employees to engage with customers in innovative ways and successfully manage the resulting interactions

The above capabilities deliver the desired digital transformation outcomes that are personalized ( know me), original ( surprise me), fun ( entertain me), or helpful ( make it easy for me). The below table summarizes this view.

Capabilities Description Desired outcomes
LISTEN Social Listening Monitor trending topics on social networks and make targeted interventions. Functionality ranges from simple keyword searches to more complex customer sentiment analysis. Know me
Response mechanisms Capture structured (for e.g., NPS) and unstructured feedback data to measure and improve customer experience through unified communications across digital and traditional channels. Know me, make it easy for me
OBSERVE Web analytics Measure, collect, analyze and report web data generated by specific events / transactions to support insights that can be used to improve customer experiences. Know me, make it easy for me, surprise me
A / B / multivariate Testing Test and optimize web designs based on usage, conversion rates, and other metrics Make it easy for me
Customer flow tracking Monitor and analyze customer flow in retail to help optimize store layout and inform key merchandising decisions. Know me, make it easy for me
Eye-tracking Solutions that monitor how customers view digital content to optimize page layout. Make it easy for me, surprise me
DELIVER Near Field Communication (NFC) Enable real-time data exchange between devices or between devices and tagged objects to support mobile payment, access control, ticketing, couponing, and personalization. Know me, entertain me, surprise me, make it easy for me
Augmented reality Create immersive web and retail experiences through mediated reality to enhance customer sales and service interactions, improve marketing effectiveness, and strengthen brand differentiation. Entertain me, surprise me
Motion sensing Fun interactive product demos. Entertain me
Private social networks Online communities hosted by company to bring customers, suppliers, or channel partners together to share experiences. Entertain me, make it easy for me
Mobile first Customer applications designed for mobile platforms (tablets, smart phones, etc.), for e.g., for loyalty program delivery, mobile augmented reality, and branded gaming. Know me, entertain me, surprise me, make it easy for me
Click-to-call / video chat Support digital customer interactions by providing real-time support from an agent via website or mobile app. Make it easy for me
Recommendation engines driven by big data, BPMS and BRMS Recommend products / services based on users past buying behavior or buying behavior of users with similar characteristics using a set of defined and inferred rules. Know me, entertain me
Customer experience design Provides individualized customer experiences by dynamically generating and delivering unlimited variations of rich digital content in real time. Make it easy for me
Social CRM / social analytics Capture, respond, transact and track issues and queries via social networks and understand customer psyche in social platforms and its impact on buying behavior. Know me, make it easy for me
MANAGE Lead management Insight-based responses to pre-defined triggers (for e.g., failure to complete purchase online) to present highly relevant communications to prospects. Make it easy for me, surprise me
Single view of the customer (SVOC) Customer data hub collation and matching of customer data across multiple touch points to support granular segmentation models and predictive analytics. Know me
Marketing resource management Organize and manage the delivery of creative assets and other content across digital marketing channels, including web, mobile, email, social media, and video. Make it easy for me
Interactive web stores A consistent shopping experience across all customer touch points, including mobile, social and in-store. Make it easy for me
Marketing analytics and optimization Use of prospect and customer data to help optimize all aspects of the marketing mix, including communications, channels, and price and thereby deliver relevant and helpful offers. Know me, make it easy for me

Once the capabilities and outcomes are identified and mapped, the current state can be mapped on a progressive scale of maturity viz. “digital newbies”, “digital dabblers”, “digital experts”, and “digital masters”. Each of these stages represents a maturity gradation based on achieving a certain level of capability across a set of critical parameters.

To successfully navigate through the digital transformation journey, enterprises need to focus on building capabilities that address their strategic priorities across listen and respond, observe, deliver, and manage, and benchmark these capabilities on a periodic basis. To help prioritize capabilities and chart out a journey for developing them, Infosys has developed a digital transformation benchmark model. Enterprises across different benchmark stages adopt different progression strategies. For example, enterprises that are just beginning their digital transformation journey (‘Newbies’), adopt an iterative approach that works through the stages, rather than attempting to become ‘Masters’ in a single initiative. For enterprises that are higher on the maturity stage, the focus for progression is to radiate the success and high maturity levels across newer processes, business areas, and essentially, leverage the learnings to reflect a higher maturity across the entire enterprise.

(The article is authored by Shankar Krishnamurthy, Senior Industry Principal – Digital Marketing, Infosys)

Image credits: indiatimes

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