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For: Application

Development
& Delivery
Professionals

Five Ways IT And Business Can


Cooperate To Win At Digital
Experience Delivery
by David Aponovich, January 14, 2014

Key Takeaways
Shift Focus To Business Technology To Support Digital Customer Experience
Companies are moving fast to refocus around the customer. Digital customer experience
has elevated to a corporate mandate at a time when business and marketing teams have
lost faith in technology managements ability to execute the business technology (BT)
agenda. IT leaders can stand up and create BT teams to support customer experience.
Seize The Opportunity To Improve The Speed Of Digital Marketing
Technology management professionals need to speed up their processes to ensure that
digital marketing and other business peers have the tools to quickly respond to shifting
digital customer experience requirements.
Unlock Customer Data To Enable Digital Customer Experience
Enhancements
Technology management professionals can boost their credibility and value to the
business by helping marketers tap into the gold mine of customer data currently locked
up in legacy systems.

Forrester Research, Inc., 60 Acorn Park Drive, Cambridge, MA 02140 USA


Tel: +1 617.613.6000 | Fax: +1 617.613.5000 | www.forrester.com

For Application Development & Delivery Professionals

January 14, 2014

Five Ways IT And Business Can Cooperate To


Win At Digital Experience Delivery
by David Aponovich
with Stephen Powers and Steven Kesler

Why Read This Report


Enterprises are overhauling their digital customer experience strategies and adopting technology to
address customer needs. Amid this rapid digital shift, many companies fall behind because application
development and delivery (AD&D) pros and business peers (e.g., marketers) clash over whos in charge of
sourcing new web applications, how fast they should roll out new technology, and who needs to own and
control core digital experience platforms. Inside many companies, legacy team silos are hindering digital
experience mandates from the CEO and posing challenges to effective digital experience delivery. This
report examines how organizations can overcome dysfunction and get in sync to deliver digital customer
experience requirements.

Table Of Contents

Notes & Resources

2 IT And Business Must Stop Squabbling To


Earn Digital Experience Wins

For this report, Forrester draws on its 2013


research on digital customer experience
technology delivery, as well as interviews
with application development and delivery
(AD&D) professionals, system integrators,
and other service providers addressing these
issues for their clients.

5 Five Ways AD&D And Business Can Work


Together
recommendations

7 Digital Experience Success Requires


Communication And Cooperation
8 Supplemental Material

Related Research Documents


Market Overview: Digital Customer
Experience Delivery Platforms
November 26, 2013
Refocus The Digital Experience Technology
Investment Discussion
September 9, 2013
TechRadar For AD&D Pros: Digital
Customer Experience Technologies, Q3 2013
September 3, 2013
The Forrester Wave: Web Content
Management For Digital Customer
Experience, Q2 2013
April 8, 2013

2014, Forrester Research, Inc. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited. Information is based on best available
resources. Opinions reflect judgment at the time and are subject to change. Forrester, Technographics, Forrester Wave, RoleView, TechRadar,
and Total Economic Impact are trademarks of Forrester Research, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective companies. To
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For Application Development & Delivery Professionals

Five Ways IT And Business Can Cooperate To Win At Digital Experience Delivery

IT and business Must stop squabbling to earn Digital Experience wins


In the age of the customer, theres no room for intracompany turf wars, competing agendas, and
distrust among those who should be allies, especially in the symbiotic roles across technology
management and the business. Were witnessing an era of rapid change affecting your company and
your customers (hint: they are now in charge) as well as your competitors (hint: theyre trying to
steal your customers).
Forrester defines the age of the customer as:
A 20-year business cycle in which the most successful enterprises will reinvent themselves to
systematically understand and serve increasingly powerful customers 1
The age of the customer places new demands on organizations, requiring changes to how they
develop, market, sell, and deliver products and services.2 CIOs and their organizations must
support these changes and widen their agendas beyond internal IT to include BT, ie., the systems,
technologies, and processes to win, serve, and retain customers. IT and business teams frequently
inhibit successful digital experience execution by failing to work cooperatively.
You might say IT is from Mars and marketing is from Venus, since many have believed the two
groups dont speak the same language or understand each others priorities. The result of this
conflict? We spoke recently with a business-to-business (B2B) technology company whose digital
marketers had sourced a portfolio of secret web technology without involving technology
management because IT had not been responsive enough to their demands for enabling technology.
A consumer packaged goods company had a digital marketing team that requisitioned softwareas-a-service (SaaS) applications through a digital agency partner, ignoring a sizable investment in
a legacy web content management platform controlled by technology management professionals,
again, due to the responsiveness issue.
Confusion About Business Technology Down In The Trenches
Many traditional IT teams remain grounded in their core functions and values, such as managing
a portfolio of software for the overall enterprise, not just applications for marketing or digital
experience, and advocating for stability, consistency, and security. These historic IT priorities often
clash with business desires for rapid delivery amid customer and competitive demands.
But ITs business partners have doubts that IT can offer the credibility, collaboration, and architecture
to drive the business forward: A Forrester survey of 3,250 business decision-makers in late 2012
showed that 32% of marketers believe that technology management actually hinders business success.
That same survey showed that marketing departments are accelerating plans to spend their own
money on technology. Marketing departments are spending 15% of their budgets on technology;
customer service departments are spending 15%; and sales departments are spending 14% all less
than research and development, which spends 18% of its budget on technology. 3

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For Application Development & Delivery Professionals

Five Ways IT And Business Can Cooperate To Win At Digital Experience Delivery

Marketing is particularly aggressive, increasing its private technology spending two to three times
faster than IT overall. The new reality shows that many non-IT groups within the enterprise now
control some digital customer experience technology budget (see Figure 1).4
Figure 1 Many Non-IT Groups Control Budgets For Digital Experience Applications
What organization(s) within your firm own the budget for purchasing applications that
support digital customer experiences?
IT

51%

Corporate marketing group

32%

Individual lines of business

26%

Dedicated eBusiness or
eCommerce group

23%

Marketing-technology shared
service group

18%

Dedicated online marketing group

17%

Dedicated customer
experience group

9%

Enterprise architecture group

9%

Definition: These are applications that support the management,


delivery, and measurement of customer experiences.
Examples include: web content management, eCommerce platforms, web analytics,
social analytics, site search, testing and optimization tools, and social networking platforms.
Base: 233 digital experience professionals
(multiple responses accepted)
Source: March 2013 Global Digital Experience Delivery Online Survey
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Source: Forrester Research, Inc.

The AD&D-Business Divide Threatens Digital Experience Objectives


CIOs and CMOs need to foster a culture of collaboration that keeps digital customer experience
mandates on track.5 However, at levels below the C-suite, challenges frequently persist.6 At the same
time, software vendors are expanding digital customer experience portfolios, creating further need
for collaboration across IT and business teams.7 There are still common problems that cause ITbusiness dysfunction. These include:

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For Application Development & Delivery Professionals

Five Ways IT And Business Can Cooperate To Win At Digital Experience Delivery

A go-it-alone mentality from non-technical teams. Technology management professionals

have long owned key business software systems and tools, especially back office systems, such
as accounting, enterprise resource management, and human resources technology systems. The
shift to business technologies to win, serve, and retain customers, like web content management,
web analytics, and mobile tools, has pushed marketers and other line-of-business professionals
to source their own software (frequently from SaaS vendors) and services (such as digital
agencies), to bypass IT. This yields a collection of technology that does not have internal
management and a consistent support model and may not fit in the existing application stack or
skill set of the overall organization. Achieving functional relationships between IT and business
requires a willingness to rely on each others expertise and a more forward-thinking BT agenda
(see Figure 2).

Inconsistent digital experience technology delivery. After the business acquires a new

application or technical capability without technology managements input and oversight,


its often caught off guard shortly thereafter by the question of who owns a given digital
experience technology. If IT doesnt possess some knowledge and expertise in certain digital
applications, then technology professionals are not in a position to support when something
breaks or when systems require customization. This leads to an inconsistent digital experience
delivery over the long term, when technology management professionals actively manage some
digital customer experience applications but not others.

Failure to see BT as different from IT: Technology management professionals must broaden

their IT agendas beyond internal operations to include support for business technology that
supports the entire customer life cycle.8 Many companies have not yet made this shift nor have
they made the distinction between IT and BT.9 This shift requires a change in thinking, as well
as in organizational structures and teams. The CIO, enterprise architect, head of applications
and development, and other technology management professionals must manage two agendas
in the future: 1) internal operations that are now perpetually critical to the business, which we
can call IT, and 2) BT.

2014, Forrester Research, Inc. Reproduction Prohibited

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For Application Development & Delivery Professionals

Five Ways IT And Business Can Cooperate To Win At Digital Experience Delivery

Figure 2 What IT Has Valued And What Forward-Thinking AD&D Should Value
What IT typically has valued

What forward-thinking AD&D needs to value

Inward focus on traditional back end


infrastructure and enterprise applications

Outward focus on front end technology and


digital customer experiences

Disciplined, slow processes around building and


deploying technology/applications

Agile, faster sourcing and deployment of digital


customer experience tools and technology

On-premises infrastructure and licensed software


applications

Cloud-based infrastructure and applications,


including SaaS

Top-down IT management using expert internal


resources

Bottom-up BT technology requirements and option


to use non-internal resources (e.g., SaaS and digital
agencies)

Security

Speed

Risk averseness: low tolerance for experimentation

Risk tolerance: higher tolerance for experimentation

Emphasis on transactions

Emphasis on content

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Source: Forrester Research, Inc.

Five ways AD&D and Business can work together


There are several key areas of activity that technology and business peers can focus on cooperatively
in 2014 and beyond as they travel together through the digital customer experience evolution. This
includes the following:
1. Create A BT Agenda and Organization To Lead Digital Customer Experience
The shift to a more focused digital customer experience is still new for many organizations, and ITs
ability to deliver has not kept pace. The creation of a BT agenda and team can be the bridge necessary
to support the spotlight on the customer and help the business deliver better digital experiences.
A related way to help streamline collaboration and communications is to colocate technology
management professionals with a broad collection of people who are involved in digital customer
experience delivery and mindful of business requirements to bring innovation to fruition.
Farm Credit Services of America, a $17 billion organization, put aside legacy, siloed software
development processes and built a new office environment literally, a building at headquarters
where cross-role teams tackle digital customer experience innovations in unison. Application developers,
database programmers, user experience experts, QA engineers, and others work in a location that
promotes constant ideas and interaction as they create the next phone app or website experience for
customers. The space includes open areas for informal conversation and breakout areas for small groups
to work together two elements designed to encourage interaction and help workers focus on serving
the customer and the business. Human-sized cardboard cutouts, each with a name and detailed
attributes, represent specific customer personas, which help teams visualize and internalize who theyre
really working for.

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For Application Development & Delivery Professionals

Five Ways IT And Business Can Cooperate To Win At Digital Experience Delivery

2. Assign Liaisons To Enable Technology And Business Cooperation


Forward-thinking companies appoint peer liaisons to reach across the IT-business divide and
establish more fruitful working relationships. Their job: to communicate each others needs
and priorities as their organizations morph into customer-centric, digital-experience-focused
organizations. We often see people with dual expertise (e.g., left brain/right brain people) in these
roles. Liaisons meet regularly to discuss each others strategic goals and specific tactical projects, and
define how best to make an initiative move forward and be successful.
An IT manager at a large pharmaceutical company says she is in constant contact with her digital
marketing liaison to propel digital experience projects. I partner with him to figure out what IT
must to bring to the table. For instance, were looking at whats the best web content management
system to support our strategy for migrating brand and corporate communications sites onto one
platform. Our goal in IT is to provide a stable platform and tools that the digital marketers can use.
3. Establish A Center Of Excellence For Digital Customer Experience
Some firms go beyond liaisons and create formal, hybrid-skills groups, or digital centers of excellence
(CoEs), which draw on skills and expertise from IT, application development, digital strategy, digital
marketing, communications, customer support, and even project management. This can be formal or
informal a virtual team or best practices team can also be useful, especially when composed of
members of different groups who can cooperate for digital customer experience success.
A technical architect at a pharmaceutical company says the companys digital center of excellence is
the embodiment of IT and business working together to achieve digital experience success. He told
Forrester, This group is tasked with leading us in the right direction for digital. It recognizes that
the company needs key capabilities [for digital execution] and it needs a group to take ownership
and run with them. The still-evolving roles for their CoE will include, among others, digital
strategists as well as experts in social media, mobile, traditional back-end IT, and customer-facing
business technology.
4. Rally Around The Opportunity To Unlock Big Data And Analytics
Many companies sit on an untapped gold mine: tons of customer data.10 Legacy systems (e.g.,
customer relationship management, accounting systems, and business intelligence), and digital
experience applications (e.g., web content management and web analytics) contain data that
marketers can use to personalize or contextualize digital customer experiences and influence
strategic decisions.11 Much of this data, especially back-office data, isnt readily accessible to the
business; its stuck in data silos. However, IT can help the business gain value from the data by
unlocking it and making it consumable to serve the needs of the business, create more personalized
digital experiences, and raise overall business effectiveness and competitiveness in the digital era.12

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Five Ways IT And Business Can Cooperate To Win At Digital Experience Delivery

To gain further insights into data, companies should team data professionals with visual designers.
The combination of skills will help companies deliver easy-to-understand customer insights
internally and compelling interfaces to their customers. We see this strategy form in many ways,
from high-touch retailers like Nordstrom, which is leveraging data about its customers to deliver
personalized customer experiences that show the retailers understanding of individual customers
and encourage long-term loyalty and purchases, to Uber, the upstart livery service that uses data
about its customers combined with real-time situational data to deliver a highly personalized
transportation services. The result is a fast-response car service for which Uber customers are
willing to pay a premium price over the cost of a typical taxi ride.
5. Improve The Speed Of Digital Marketing By Selectively Outsourcing
Many companies are utilizing a pressure-release value by partnering with digital experience-focused
agencies that help bring about change to the way companies think about technology delivery in
the age of the customer. Jason Mowery, director of strategy for digital agency Cynergy Systems,
says, CIOs talk to me and say: I need help. Were growing so fast. These are the kind of triggers
that show IT is ready and willing to get help so they can respond to the needs of the business [. . .]
if you have a culture of being nimble, youre more likely to make this transition. Companies are
also finding better ways to share technology responsibilities. According to a digital leader at a B2B
software company: IT wants to have purview on the infrastructure. There is a way to do that to
allow them to have insight and to sign the contract, and also to let the business manage and use the
technology. IT can still have oversight, and they can identify where there may be overlaps so we
avoid redundancy in technology.

R e c o m m e n d at i o n s

Digital experience Success requires Communication and


Cooperation
AD&D pros and their business counterparts can take lessons from companies and brands that have
successfully navigated the digital experience transition. Specifically, they should:

Get C-level leadership involved in driving vision and getting IT and business working

together. Example: One company we spoke with told us how a new CEO is driving customer
experience themes from the top down, and, by extension, this strategy is influencing digital
experience cooperation and success at all levels of the company.

Establish a BT agenda. Create a specialized BT team to handle customer-facing applications,


or start by establishing IT-business liaison roles that translate needs and requirements across
the chasm separating requirements and digital experience technology from the delivery of
this technology.

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Five Ways IT And Business Can Cooperate To Win At Digital Experience Delivery

Put the customer at the center to force internal cooperation: A strategic corporate

mandate to put the customer at the center of the business strategy is often the only way
to get technology management professionals and business to work together to execute a
customer-centric digital business strategy. When everyone agrees the customer is at the
center, things fall into place. Youre more likely to do the right thing, a technical architect
at a large banking organization told us. In the past, people looked at things from their own
perspectives. Now with everyone putting themselves in the shoes of the customer, were
getting the same answers. Thats a principle you can work by, but its not easy to do.

supplemental material
Forrester fielded its March 2013 Global Digital Experience Delivery Online Survey to 233 digital
experience professionals. This survey was fielded to end users who are involved in customer
experience management (CXM) technology decisions at their organizations. Forrester fielded the
survey in March 2013, and the sample consisted of organizations across verticals and included third
parties for relevant questions, as third parties become deeply entrenched partners for many digital
experience initiatives. Please note that there may be some sample bias. While the survey was fielded to
a global audience, the majority of respondents was North American and came from an uneven
distribution of industries and from companies of various sizes. This survey was not fielded to a
random sample. The majority of the respondents came from Forresters readership reports, which may
have biased this sample. This survey is not guaranteed to be representative of the population. Unless
otherwise noted, statistical data is intended to be used for descriptive and not inferential purposes.
Endnotes
Empowered customers are disrupting every industry. Competitive barriers like manufacturing strength,
distribution power, and information mastery cant save companies in this disruptive environment. In this
age of the customer, the only sustainable competitive advantage is knowledge of and engagement with
customers. For more insight, see the October 10, 2013, Competitive Strategy In The Age Of The Customer
report.

Its clear that the age of the customer changes your business model. Customers now have the upper hand
thanks to digital technology. They can easily turn to each other to gather the information they need to make
better choices. Using social, digital, and mobile technologies, they are learning new, more effective ways
of engaging with brands. Customers are no longer dependent on passively awaiting offers now they can
more aggressively and inexpensively dictate their needs, both individually and in the aggregate. For more
insight into this shift, see the October 21, 2013, Linking Customer Engagement To Business Capabilities In
The Age Of The Customer report.

Source: Forrester, Forrsights Business Decision-Makers Survey, Q4 2012.

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Source: Forrester, Digital Experience Delivery Online Survey, March 2013

IT and business alignment isnt just happening down in the trenches. Its happening, rightly so, at the
leadership levels. CIOs and CMOs in many companies are working closely together to set a combined
agenda to drive technology and digital customer experience strategy forward. For more insight into how
companies like Dell, Alcon, and GE Oil & Gas are making the CIO-CMO relationship flourish for business
success, see the November 13, 2013, Quick Take: Three Ways That The Right CMO-CIO Partnership Can
Pack A Powerful Punch report.

Forrester has identified 14 specific digital technologies and capabilities associated with helping companies
manage on-site experiences. See the September 3, 2013, TechRadar For AD&D Pros: Digital Customer
Experience Technologies, Q3 2013 report.

Many companies and brands are aggressively adopting a new, expanded roster of digital customer
experience tools and technology to address the growing requirements of managing on-site experiences.
Vendors in traditional markets, like web content management and eCommerce solutions, are leading the
way by offering these solutions, by buying, building, or integrating these capabilities from third parties into
far-reaching platforms often adopted by digital marketers or other business professionals. Forrester refers to
these emerging solutions as digital customer experience platforms. For more insight, see the November 26,
2013, Market Overview: Digital Customer Experience Delivery Platforms report.

Todays consumers are hyperactive. The increase in device accessibility spanning smartphones, phablets,
tablets, and laptops and convenient access to cloud-based services fuel a greater number of overall
interactions across all devices. As a result, highly empowered, hyper-connected customers cross devices
and platforms at will, blur context in pursuit of a single goal, and multitask regularly. See the June 27, 2013,
Meet The Changing Needs Of Connected Customers report.

The business technology (BT) agenda focuses on providing superior customer experiences. It requires
new discipline and doesnt follow an easily automated process or formula. Less mature yet rapidly evolving
technologies for superior customer interactions, including social, mobile, customer analytics, and customer
experience management, drive BT ecosystems. BT will provide the next big technology payoff as companies
find innovative ways to intercept and engage empowered customers through digital interfaces, devices, and
services. For more insights into this major shift, see the October 10, 2013, Technology Management In The
Age Of The Customer report.

Most firms are not doing everything possible to profit from the explosion of customer data. They struggle
with the proliferation of data silos, an avalanche of big data, the demand for predictive analytics, and
expansion of mobile platforms to support real-time digital customer experiences. Fortunately, new
technologies, architectures, and practices are emerging to overcome these struggles and deliver a worldclass next-generation customer data management platform. For more insights, see the July 16, 2013,
Customer Engagement Cant Begin Without A Next-Gen Customer Data Management Platform report.

10

With an overabundance of customer data available, companies need ways to aggregate it and create
actionable insights for marketing and business. Contextual delivery is the holy grail many companies want

11

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10

to attain. For more insight into using data for delivering contextual digital experiences, see the April 8, 2013,
Contextual Delivery And Cross-Channel Analytics Revolutionize Digital Experiences report.
Customer data is the lifeblood of your organization. It lives in and should enlighten every function of
the business, including R&D, operations, customer experience, marketing, sales, service, and finance. A
customer data management (CDM) strategy is critical. Forrester provides a four-step process for creating a
customer data management strategy in the following report, see the October 1, 2013, Nail Your Next-Gen
Customer Data Management Strategy report.

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Forrester Focuses On
Application Development & Delivery Professionals
Responsible for leading the development and delivery of applications
that support your companys business strategies, you also choose
technology and architecture while managing people, skills, practices,
and organization to maximize value. Forresters subject-matter expertise
and deep understanding of your role will help you create forward-thinking
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Forrester Research (Nasdaq: FORR) is a global research and advisory firm serving professionals in 13 key roles across three distinct client
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