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Getting connected in the experience economy

Getting connected in the experience economy

Why businesses need to see connectivity as the next stage in their evolution

In our current landscape, customers are the true innovators, constantly pushing brands based on their expectations.

In this economy, customers know what they want and expect it with immediacy. I can order my groceries and have them arrive within the hour; I can watch whatever film or TV show I want, whenever I want; and I can hail a taxi to right where I’m standing on the street, simply with a few clicks on my smartphone.

None of these are wow experiences any longer – they’re just how we’ve come to expect things to be.

It’s an urgent challenge, but one that can be readily met if businesses connect their data, intelligence and experience on one platform, integrating all core processes together. Silos can’t exist in this environment. Customers don’t see your business as a set of different departments, they just see one company and want one seamless experience as promised.

And yet, a truly connected enterprise is still a rarity. Some organisations have taken steps in the right direction and have begun integrating some of their applications. But, here, we’re talking about a business that is completely open and integrated. Not just vertically, laterally, diagonally, but externally too; pulling in customer, partner and even supplier data into one place.

We call this ‘infinite’ connectivity and know it’s the only way to unearth those ‘hidden’ insights that will help a business differentiate itself from its competition and help to create new value opportunities.

The great thing is, anyone can become connected – it just requires the right applications and mind-set to bring everything together.

We speak to a lot of organisations who seem to think creating a connected enterprise is something limited to technology companies, but this is far from the case. We’re seeing banks connecting all their systems to help offer better retail propositions, tyre sellers pulling data from car retailers to know when a customer is in time to change or retailers directing in-store customers to items of clothing they know they were browsing online.

The key to making the most of being connected is to use your information to understand what the customer wants and then work back from that to meet their needs.

One organisation that identified the customer experience as the key to success and adapted their operations accordingly is Scottish Water.

As Brian Strathie, group financial controller at Scottish Water, notes: “Our main driver is always to look for ways to improve the customer experience. We knew customers wanted some form of customisation, but needed a single version of the truth across all aspects of the business – both internally and with our suppliers – in order to give them that. Now the services we offer customers are simpler and tailored to them. It’s our way of being bold and radical in a competitive market and has resulted in a 21 per cent increase in customer satisfaction.”

At hearing and healthcare services provider Amplifon, meanwhile, all internal and third party information has been connected across the 22 countries the organisation operates in.

“Everything is about becoming more agile and efficient in order to, ultimately, give our customers the best experience,” says CIO Gabriele Chiesa.

“Using the right platform, our teams are fully connected and can use each other’s data in order to make important design and development decisions. Everyone in the company knows we all need to work together as one connected entity and with the same long- term vision if we want to compete and continue to grow.”

Top notch customer experience is no longer an option. It’s a must-have if organisations want to survive in this experience economy. Customers are dictating what that should look like, and brands need to be able to listen, digest and deliver on their desires accordingly.

But creating customer-led propositions means achieving ‘infinite’ connectivity, where insights can be garnered and acted on as immediately – or even before – they need to happen.

All businesses need to adapt to succeed, and in the experience economy, that evolution means becoming connected – and soon.

Karine Picard is EMEA vice president of applications strategy and sales development at Oracle

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