The post below, originally authored by Martin Cookson, Director of Mobility at Oracle EMEA and posted on the Oracle EMEA blog, does a great job at describing the challenges organizations are facing when it comes to digital experience and engagement, and what you can do to ensure your digital engagement strategy is successful. Martin's blog post also sets the stage nicely for topics we'll be discussing in the coming weeks and months around how you can use digital experience solutions in the cloud to modernize employee engagement, customer experience and applications infrastructure. We've got a lot of great use cases around these topics we can't wait to share with you, so please stay tuned!
Author: Martin Cookson, Director of Mobility at Oracle EMEA
Digital is throwing up new challenges and opportunities for businesses. On the one hand companies face challenges from disruptive ‘digitally native’ competitors, rapidly taking significant market share, or worse: redefining the traditional market entirely. Take that now classic example of Amazon, which revolutionized online retail with 1-Click Ordering and has subsequently launched Amazon Web Services. On the other hand, companies are finding that they can create significant new revenue streams and enter new markets through the use of digital technologies within their traditional businesses. Chemicals company Monsanto, for example, has branched out into the delivery of data science technologies for the agriculture sector.
The digital revolution is also an opportunity for any business to transform its own operations and in doing so, find new markets, develop new business models, and engage with consumers in innovative ways. To do this, however, companies must understand the nature of digital engagement and the possibilities that it affords.
Digital engagement in action
Digital engagement is of course driven by leveraging technology but success is about ensuring positive outcomes. It encompasses creating new revenue streams, seeking out new business opportunities, finding a competitive edge, creating efficiencies, and better serving customers.
One great example of an established business benefiting from digital engagement is Floyd Medical Center in the US, which is using its new web experience management platform to improve the way it communicates. Floyd Medical Centre today uses its web presence as an important community resource and marketing tool as it faces up to the challenge of increased competition in the region.
The healthcare system also includes an intranet that provides important information and resources for employees across the organization, as well as for departmental teams. Employees can now securely access the intranet, which is updated with new content daily, either in the office or remotely; while improved search and segmentation capabilities enable employees to find internal content more quickly. The result is a more effective workforce better able to service customers and deliver a competitive edge.
One of Europe’s largest and busiest airports, meanwhile, is using beacon technology to track travellers across its premises. Not only can the airport know exactly where an individual is at any time, but it can use the data it gathers to have new interactions with people at every stage of their journey. This enables it to target people with tailored information, whether it’s marketing messages in duty free, hotel and taxi recommendations at arrivals, or relevant advice at check-in or immigration.
Finally, News Limited in Australia has overhauled its publication systems and processes to remain competitive in the digital age; particularly to provide content designed for mobile devices and to introduce new services, such as paywalls for premium content. Its new digital content management platform allows the company to publish stories in less than 90 seconds, compared to 15 minutes in the past, allowing the company to stay on top of breaking news in real-time. News Limited has also added new features, such as story and gallery wizards and intelligent, internal search and automated editorial-content enhancement functions that have increased the quality of content and enabled greater customer satisfaction and higher subscription numbers.
Intelligent, in-the-moment customer experiences
So what are these businesses doing that sets them apart from their competitors? Or to put this question another way: what can businesses do to ensure their digital engagement strategies are successful?
First, businesses must adopt a mobile first strategy and engineer their services from the outside in (i.e. think with mobile devices and end user needs in mind). Businesses should then look to create value and loyalty while reducing the cost of operations by building intelligent, in-the-moment experiences across different channels simultaneously, in-context and collaboratively. This is all about knowing the user; not just about who they are and what they like etc., but what they are doing now; where they are and who and what they are near.
This is why the above-mentioned airport is enjoying such success from its beacon technology – it enables a service that is all about the customer at a precise moment in time, it meets a need, in context and through the perfect engagement channel. This is what digital engagement is all about – exceptional customer experiences through intuitive services that build customer engagement and loyalty.
Enabling digital engagement
Any business serious about creating disruptive digital engagement needs to adopt a mature digital engagement platform. The agile nature of digital engagement means that any such platform must be based on cloud computing technology. This is because only the cloud can deliver the flexibility, integration capabilities and speed businesses need to innovate and take engagement models to market before their competitors.
The cloud is also where many of the services digital engagement platforms leverage are based – such as Facebook, Google Maps and Apple Notifications and Twitter – and it makes sense to build the platform as close to these services as possible. Finally, the cloud delivers the cost-effective business models and appropriate operations models (for example, DevOps), required to make digital engagement a success.
Today’s cloud for tomorrow’s needs
However, cloud platforms are not all created equal. As businesses look to enable digital engagement, they must select cloud platforms capable of accelerating their digital transformation, integrating core business systems with modern engagement and delivery platforms, and giving them a competitive edge. This requires a holistic digital engagement platform comprising middleware and database software that delivers against the core areas of digital engagement, such as mobile, the Internet of Things, content and collaboration, digital web experience and business process agility. These are all elements that tie directly to building and deploying transformational omni-channel customer experiences.
It is crucial to point out that the right digital engagement platform is not simply an enabling technology - it is a strategic engine of innovation and absolutely essential to creating compelling customer services. The right cloud platform provides application developers within businesses with the ability to test and develop new and innovative customer services in low-cost, intuitive cloud environments, using pre-configured development tools. This approach dramatically reduces the cost and time associated with innovation.
Moreover, a hybrid cloud approach, which brings together both public and private cloud elements in combination with on-premises systems, enable businesses to rapidly scale up applications that have been proven to be successful within the test environment. It is an ideal approach for businesses that due to regulatory or policy reasons have not been able to move to the public cloud as fast as they would like. In today’s environment all businesses need to think of themselves as start-ups and look to deploy cloud platforms that help them innovate at speed and low cost – whether that is public, private or hybrid solutions.
No-one has a natural right to the digital future. Businesses will have to fight hard, be brave and experiment. The rewards are there to be won, but those who have no stomach digital transformation will find themselves in a fight for survival.