The key to business advantage

The Call for Bigger and Better Digital Experiences

Mark Troester
digital experiences
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The sense of urgency around producing and delivering digital experiences is growing. What can organizations do to boost success? See what data Progress found when they conducted a survey about planning and execution of digital experience initiatives.

The best customer experiences, buyer journeys, and even employee experiences are all made possible by delivering incredible digital experiences on every channel, device, touch point—everywhere, all the time. As the number of people working, buying, and conducting business on multiple devices and channels continues to grow exponentially, there are incredible user experience expectations. We accept nothing less than the best. If we don’t get it, we go elsewhere.

To see where companies currently stand on their digital experience challenges, Progress conducted a first-ever global survey, administered by Insight-Avenue, a third-party research consultancy in the U.K. More than 900 app dev, web, marketing, and business leaders from North, South, and Central America and Europe participated in the survey, revealing where their organizations are in their planning versus execution of digital experience initiatives. While the high-response rate indicates that interest is strong, the results show that organizations are still struggling to create, deliver, and manage effective digital experiences.

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Digital Experiences Key to Business Advantage

The sense of urgency around producing and delivering digital experiences is growing. Almost half of the respondents report that their organizations must make significant inroads toward improving digital experiences within the next 12 months or they will face negative financial or business consequences. Another 32% gave themselves a little more time—one to two years. Overall, 79% indicated they have a mandate to use digital to achieve competitive advantage.

With the rising importance of digital experiences, the target groups they have to serve are also evolving. While the focus on B2C experiences remains strong, employee and partners experiences also appear as a priority. Due to this expansion, traditional channels like desktop and web have developed to include work devices, mobile apps, and portals. According to the survey respondents, the channels most likely to be added in the next 12 months include virtual reality, augmented reality, and micro apps.

Barriers to Digital Experiences

Although organizations understand the importance of digital experience initiatives, many are facing difficult to overcome barriers. The survey shows that 53% of enterprises are struggling, and 90% of the respondents have canceled or delayed projects in that realm in the last 12 months. The key reasons they cite are technical complexity issues, lack of budget and resources, and reliance on IT.

Given this low success rate, it’s surprising that the majority of the respondents feel confident in their organization’s ability to execute on a digital experience strategy. As areas get more specific, however, confidence fades. For example, only 33% say they have access to the right third parties and partners to support delivery, and only 36% report having a defined, aligned, and communicated strategy.

Technical Complexity Keeps Business Dependent on IT

Traditionally, digital initiatives have always been mostly into the hands of IT because of the crucial role technology plays. Nothing seems to have changed. According to the survey, today digital efforts are most likely to be driven by IT with help from different lines of business. Marketers still continue to be highly dependent on IT to manage the customer journey because of internal processes and technological constraints. Only a small part of them can make structural changes or personalize/optimize the customer journey without IT support.

It’s also interesting to note that while we are seeing a market shift from CMS/WMS to DXP, marketers aren’t fully doing the transition. According to the survey, even the leaders are more likely to manage digital experiences using traditional WCM/CMS (66%) vs. DXP (34%). It’s worth also noting, though, that they are moving to a DXP at a faster rate than the remainder of the participants.

Regardless of who and how is leading these initiatives, almost all participants in the survey, 93%, agree that focusing on digital experience and application development efforts can accelerate digital transformation through delivering outcomes more quickly.

What’s Next?

What can organizations do to boost success? First, make the digital experience the spearhead of digital transformation by extending digital experiences to all constituencies. Coordinate web and app dev efforts and devise self-service access to key usage data. Think top down and bottom up for both strategy and execution. Think horizontal and vertical experience integration, take an agile approach to your strategic plan, and manage digital experiences as you would a product. Finally, turn to technology partners to support key roles—app dev, digital experience, and business leadership, and create an investment strategy for innovation.

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The demand for exceptional digital experiences is at an all-time high—never in history have so many people been working and interacting digitally. Digital experiences can “make it or break it” when it comes to staying competitive and organizations that want to be among the winners need to invest in their strategy and execution. It won’t be long until they see it might be too late.

The findings report is available here.


Mark Troester

Mark Troester is the Vice President of Strategy at Progress. He guides the strategic go-to-market efforts for the Progress products and solutions strategy. Mark has extensive experience in bringing application development and big data products to market. Previously, he led product marketing efforts at Sonatype, SAS, and Progress DataDirect. Mark has worked as a developer and developer manager for start-ups and enterprises alike. Connect with him on LinkedIn or @mtroester on Twitter.

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