Successful Business Transformation. Forbes Insights Report Identifies Key Components. Accurate, high-quality data is the critical foundation for engaging customers digitally. A new report by Forbes Insights, in association with Pitney Bowes, “Digital Transformation: Using Data-Driven Insights for Exceptional Customer Engagement,” concludes that customer engagement can be transformed across digital touchpoints by pulling together high-quality customer data from multiple sources and capturing insights from advanced analytics and software.

Market research firm IDC predicts that by 2019, 5 percent of revenue will come through customer interactions with a digital assistant like Amazon’s Alexa or Google Home, and that demand for digital-related services will account for more than 70 percent of all external services growth. It also forecasts that as early as the end of 2017, revenue growth from data-based products will be double that of the rest of the product or service portfolios for one-third of all Fortune 500 companies.

These forecasts indicate something about the topography of the business landscape we’re entering, and the kinds of business models that will dominate in that space. But it is critical that organizations get their data—the underpinning on which the rest of the transformation runs—right from the start.

Through interviews with industry experts and analysts, and an examination of real-world use cases, this report explores some of the challenges of digital transformation, as well as the imperatives that demand it through the lens of customer engagement.
It discusses this complex topic in three parts: a road map for a digital transformation strategy that delivers unique, hyper-personalized, scalable and relevant experiences in the right moment and through the right channel; perspectives from analysts, industry professionals and real-world users on the digital customer engagement transformation; key takeaways and advice for businesses looking to invest in their own digital transformation journey.

If your data is unreliable or redundant,” said Bruce Rogers, Chief Insights Officer and Head of the CMO Practice at Forbes Media, “it’s difficult to avoid sending redundant or even conflicting messages to your customers.”

Digital transformation doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It’s a corporate-wide initiative that everyone has to buy into,” said Chris Hall, Vice President of Customer Engagement Solutions at Pitney Bowes. “Part of transforming requires enhancing the customer experience, but organizations can only do so with clean and complete data. With the right leadership team, systems and partner support, digital transformation and engaging customer experiences are attainable.”

Takeaways and advice:

Leadership must be emotionally ready to make changes. Until they reach that point, despite intellectual awareness of the need for change, top executives are likely to drag their feet.

Demonstrated differentiated capabilities:
Look for partners with a demonstrated differentiated capability, those that understand the particulars of your industry and regulatory environment, with clear scopes, goals and objectives for what success looks like, with a proven record of success. Partners should be able to help you leapfrog any deficiencies in digital maturity.

Trust and fit:
Assess vendors on their prior success in solving the same kinds of business challenges with others within your industry, their flexibility in adapting to new circumstances, realistic goal setting and deliverables, and a high level of customer service. Don’t be afraid to get referrals.

The end-to-end process:
Vendors should be able to address the end-to-end customer journey and the moments that impact customers along that journey in a unified way.

Get data right, and make sure there’s a plan:
Quality data is fundamental to digital transformation. There should be a clear plan from the vendor for data, one that takes into account how all the disparate databases, files and records will be identified and digitized; what the process is to de-duplicate and validate that data; and how it will be integrated into systems going forward.

Integrate vertically, rather than horizontally:
Digital transformation doesn’t need to be tackled all at once. Organizations will do better when they “go deep” in one channel rather than attempting to go across multiple channels right out of the gate. A lot of companies push new channels but without really thinking through issues such as data privacy and agility.

About this research
For this report, Forbes Insights interviewed industry experts and analysts—and examined real-world use cases—to explore both the challenges of digital transformation and the business imperatives that demand it, with a special focus on its implications for customer engagement.

Forbes Insights is the strategic research and thought leadership practice of Forbes Media, a global media, branding and technology company whose combined platforms reach nearly 75 million business decision makers worldwide on a monthly basis.
By leveraging proprietary databases of senior-level executives in the Forbes community, Forbes Insights conducts research on a wide range of topics to position brands as thought leaders and drive stakeholder engagement. Research findings are delivered through a variety of digital, print and live executions, and amplified across Forbes’ social and media platforms.

Pitney Bowes (NYSE: PBI), is a global technology company powering billions of transactions – physical and digital – in the connected and borderless world of commerce. Clients around the world, including 90 percent of the Fortune 500, rely on products, solutions and services from Pitney Bowes in the areas of customer information management, location intelligence, customer engagement, shipping, mailing, and global ecommerce. And with the innovative Pitney Bowes Commerce Cloud, clients can access the broad range of Pitney Bowes solutions, analytics, and APIs to drive commerce.



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