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Customer Centricity Tips for Digital Transformation | @CloudExpo #Cloud
Digital transformation is hard. But get it right and your customers will love you forever.

Seven Extreme Customer Centricity Tips for Digital Transformation

One of the most important tenets of digital transformation is that it's customer-driven. In fact, the only reason technology is involved at all is because today's customers demand technology-based interactions with the companies they do business with.

It's no surprise, therefore, that we at Intellyx agree with Patrick Maes, CTO, ANZ Bank, when he said, "the fundamental element in digital transformation is extreme customer centricity."

So true - but note the insightful twist that Maes added to the customer-driven digital mantra: extreme.

In the context of digital transformation, then, what are some examples of customer centricity we would consider to be extreme? Here's our take.

Extreme Customer Centricity #1: Ditch the IVR

Quick show of hands: who likes interactive voice response (IVR)? You know, "press 1 for sales, press 2 for support," etc. Anybody? The fact of the matter is, everybody hates IVR - that is, except for the call center bean counters who are looking to squeeze every last penny of cost out of the system.

In fact, IVR is all about reducing costs, rather than addressing customer preferences, let alone providing customer delight. Want extreme customer centricity? Ditch your IVR.

IVR aficionados are sure to object at this point and note that IVR has come a long way since the "press 1" days. Today's high-tech IVR has human-like voice interactions, and allow for a range of spoken inputs. So, should we cut IVR a break?

Not on your life. Even today's most modern IVR system is far from customer-centric. I find the oh-so-friendly humanoid voices downright patronizing, as though a fake person will fool me into thinking I'm chatting with someone who really cares about why I'm calling. No thank you!

Extreme Customer Centricity #2: Free Shipping Both Ways

Zappos pioneered this policy, of course. Everybody said it would cost too much, that customers would abuse the privilege, blah blah blah. Zappos made it work and is now part of Amazon, where it continues to blow away conventional wisdom along with its competition.

Free shipping means smaller margins to be sure, but it also means more revenues - both from new customers as well as existing ones. Do the math.

Extreme Customer Centricity #3: No More No-Reply Email

We've all received these emails from our friendly neighborhood big companies - emails that don't permit a reply, because they're being sent from an "unmonitored mailbox" or some such.

Ask yourself: why doesn't that big company want a reply? Answer: because it doesn't want to make it easy for you to interact with it.

Now put on your extreme customer centricity hat. You'd love to have an email response from a customer, because establishing relationships with customers is your top marketing priority. The whole point to email is to facilitate human interaction, after all. So ditch the one-way emails!

Extreme Customer Centricity #4: Digital Signage Should Be Interactive Signage

When I was a kid back in the pre-digital days, moving billboards fascinated me. This early technology leveraged vertical triangular tubes. A motor periodically rotated a row of several tubes to show one of three faces, thus switching the entire billboard.

Today, signage is likely to be digital, from small, iPad-based signs by doors to the massive, Times Square-size screens that shine across entire city blocks. And yet, so many digital signs have no more interactivity than the analog moving sign of the last century.

There's no excuse today for all of these digital signs to have a level of interactivity appropriate for their purpose.

The small signs in Delta Airlines' Sky Clubs indicate how long since a restroom has been serviced, and will indicate when one is out of service. Staff simply interact directly with the sign to make updates via its service management interface.

For larger signs, interactivity must either be a group exercise, or the interaction must take place away from the sign interface so it can be a personal experience. With beacon technology, signs can now know when people are nearby. Why can't we interact with signs from our phones?

Extreme Customer Centricity #5: Mind the Customer Journey

A central facet of digital marketing is the customer journey. This journey takes an anonymous visitor (either online or in a physical location) to becoming an identified prospect to the purchase transaction, and then onto becoming a happy customer (who might buy more) or an unhappy one (who needs some kind of special treatment to be happy again).

For every step in this journey, each customer requires interactions specific to that step. However, in many cases, the merchant in question either has no idea where particular individuals are in their journey, or even worse, does know where they are but disregards that information in its interactions.

Take retargeting, for example. I've lambasted retargeting before, but now let's put a finer point on the problem.

Here's how retargeting is supposed to work: let's say you visit a web site for shoes because you're shopping for shoes, but you remain undecided at the end of your visit. Thereafter, the retargeter wants to feed you ads for shoes similar to the ones you were looking at in hopes of moving you along your journey to the purchase transaction.

Alternatively, let's say you completed the purchase. Now, serving you ads for shoes similar to the ones you purchased is not only pointless, but annoying. Instead, retargeting should recognize that you made the purchase and feed you ads for appropriate accessories instead.

Here's another example. Let's say there was a defect in your shoes, and you tweet your dissatisfaction. In this case the merchant should leverage sentiment analysis to identify your dissatisfaction, and take some kind of action like offering a free exchange to address the problem - maybe via a Twitter direct message, or perhaps an email or a text, depending on your preference. But feeding you more ads will only make you more frustrated with the merchant.

Extreme Customer Centricity #6: Let the Customer Choose the Channel

Sometimes customers like to interact with companies' web sites. Other times they like to make a phone call. Perhaps interacting via social media is more your thing. Furthermore, some customers have one particular channel preference, while others use different channels for different purposes.

Extreme customer centricity requires that companies fully allow for such customer preferences. Does one customer only want to interact on Twitter? Then so be it. Maybe another prefers email? No problem.

One important caveat here: sometimes security or broader compliance issues limit a company's (or government agency's) ability to interact via certain channels. In those situations, it's important to educate the customer on the given constraints, and to provide customer-centric alternatives (like a secure web-based messaging alternative to email). Educated customers will generally prefer appropriately secure and confidential interactions, after all.

Extreme Customer Centricity #7: Incentivize Self-Service without Penalizing Full Service

Ditching IVR? Dealing with responses to customer emails? Interacting via multiple channels? Sounds expensive, right?

Call centers in particular are surprisingly expensive to run - from $15 to more than $40 per customer call. It's no wonder companies do what they can to keep customers from calling, and if they do call, to keep those calls short.

But that's not how to be extremely customer-centric. However customers choose to interact with a company - even if they call in - they should have a truly delightful interaction. So make sure when a customer calls, a real human being who can truly address the customer's need answers the phone - and answers immediately.

If you're wearing your customer hat, you're cheering right now. But put on your bean counter hat, and all you see are exploding costs. Fortunately, there's an extremely customer centric approach to managing costs, even for call centers that actually delight customers.

The answer is to incentivize self-service interactions - but without penalizing full-service interactions. Most of the time, customers would rather use a self-service channel like a web site or mobile app anyway. So for those situations where self-service would be perfectly fine but customers call, email, or tweet anyway, think about what you can do to incentivize them to choose the self-service option.

For example, Comcast uses big data to predict when particular customers are about to call in to report a problem - and preemptively sends them a text letting them know it's working on the issue (with the proper customer opt-in, of course). In this case, proactive information is the only incentive a customer needs not to call.

It's important to note that this principle is all carrot and no stick. Ever call a company and the first thing you hear is how you can go to their web site? Well duh, why didn't I think of that, right? Such disincentives are high on the annoyance factor and low on customer centricity.

Or banks like Bank of America, which offers an account that has no monthly fee if you never see a teller. Go into the branch once, however, and it zings you with a fee. B of A is on the right track to be sure, but penalizing customers for using a teller in those situations where only a teller will do will only antagonize customers. Offer a reward instead for making the self-service choice.

The Intellyx Take

Customer service is no longer a euphemism in today's digital world. It's a mandate. Short-term cost considerations must give way to long-term customer delight. If you don't figure this out, your competition will - and you'll be toast.

Nobody is saying it'll be easy. In fact, digital transformation is hard. But get it right and your customers will love you forever.

Intellyx advises companies on their digital transformation initiatives and helps vendors communicate their agility stories. As of the time of writing, none of the organizations mentioned in this article are Intellyx customers. Jason Bloomberg is a current or former customer of Bank of America, Comcast, Delta Airlines, and Zappos. Image credit: Travis Wise.

About Jason Bloomberg

Jason Bloomberg is a leading IT industry analyst, Forbes contributor, keynote speaker, and globally recognized expert on multiple disruptive trends in enterprise technology and digital transformation. He is ranked #5 on Onalytica’s list of top Digital Transformation influencers for 2018 and #15 on Jax’s list of top DevOps influencers for 2017, the only person to appear on both lists.

As founder and president of Agile Digital Transformation analyst firm Intellyx, he advises, writes, and speaks on a diverse set of topics, including digital transformation, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, devops, big data/analytics, cybersecurity, blockchain/bitcoin/cryptocurrency, no-code/low-code platforms and tools, organizational transformation, internet of things, enterprise architecture, SD-WAN/SDX, mainframes, hybrid IT, and legacy transformation, among other topics.

Mr. Bloomberg’s articles in Forbes are often viewed by more than 100,000 readers. During his career, he has published over 1,200 articles (over 200 for Forbes alone), spoken at over 400 conferences and webinars, and he has been quoted in the press and blogosphere over 2,000 times.

Mr. Bloomberg is the author or coauthor of four books: The Agile Architecture Revolution (Wiley, 2013), Service Orient or Be Doomed! How Service Orientation Will Change Your Business (Wiley, 2006), XML and Web Services Unleashed (SAMS Publishing, 2002), and Web Page Scripting Techniques (Hayden Books, 1996). His next book, Agile Digital Transformation, is due within the next year.

At SOA-focused industry analyst firm ZapThink from 2001 to 2013, Mr. Bloomberg created and delivered the Licensed ZapThink Architect (LZA) Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) course and associated credential, certifying over 1,700 professionals worldwide. He is one of the original Managing Partners of ZapThink LLC, which was acquired by Dovel Technologies in 2011.

Prior to ZapThink, Mr. Bloomberg built a diverse background in eBusiness technology management and industry analysis, including serving as a senior analyst in IDC’s eBusiness Advisory group, as well as holding eBusiness management positions at USWeb/CKS (later marchFIRST) and WaveBend Solutions (now Hitachi Consulting), and several software and web development positions.



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Systems

THYKAT-
TIL

Navisite

TRELOAR
Bebaio

SIVARAMA-
KRISHNAN

Red Hat
Cloud Expo New York All-Star Speakers Included

DE SOUZA
Cisco

POTTER
SafeLogic

ROBINSON
CompTIA

WARUSA
-WITHANA

WSO2 Inc

MEINER
Oracle

CHOU
Microsoft

HARRISON
Tufin

BRUNOZZI
VMware

KIM
MapR

KANE
Dyn

SICULAR
Basho

TURNER
Cloudian

KUMAR
Liaison

ADAMIAK
Liaison

KHAN
Solgenia

BONIFAZI
Solgenia

SUSSMAN
Coalfire

ISAACSON
RMS

LYNN
CodeFutures

HEABERLIN
Windstream

RAMA
MURTHY

Virtusa

BOSTOCK
IndependenceIT

DE MENO
CommVault

GRILLI
Adobe

WILLIAMS
Rancher Labs

CRISWELL
Alert Logic

COTY
Alert Logic

JACOBS
SingleHop

MARAVEI
Cisco

JACKSON
Softlayer

SINGH
IBM

HAZARD
Softlayer

GALLO
Softlayer

TAMASKAR
GENBAND

SUBRA
-MANIAN

Emcien

LEVESQUE
Windstream

IVANOV
StorPool

BLOOM-
BERG

Intellyx

BUDHANI
Soha

HATHAWAY
IBM Watson

TOLL
ProfitBricks

LANDRY
Microsoft

BEARFIELD
Blue Box

HERITAGE
Akana

PILUSO
SIASMSP

HOLT
IBM Cloudant

SHAN
CTS

PICCIN-
INNI

EMC

BRON-
GERSMA

Modulus

PAIGE
CenturyLink

SABHIKHI
Cognitive Scale

MILLS
Green House Data

KATZEN
CenturyLink

SLOPER
CenturyLink

SRINIVAS
EMC

TALREJA
Cisco

GORBACHEV
Systems Services Inc.

COLLISON
Apcera

PRABHU
OpenCrowd

LYNN
CodeFutures

SWARTZ
Ericsson

MOSHENKO
CoreOS

BERMING-
HAM

SIOS

WILLIS
Stateless Networks

MURPHY
Gridstore

KHABE
Vicom

NIKOLOV
GetClouder

DIETZE
Windstream

DALRY-
MPLE

EnterpriseDB

MAZZUCCO
TierPoint

RIVERA
WHOA.com

HERITAGE
Akana

SEYMOUR
6fusion

GIANNETTO
Author

CARTER
IBM

ROGERS
Virtustream
Cloud Expo Silicon Valley All-Star Speakers

TESAR
Microsoft

MICKOS
HP

BHARGAVA
Intel

RILEY
Riverbed

DEVINE
IBM

ISAACSON
CodeFutures

LYNN
HP

HINKLE
Citrix

KHAN
Solgenia

SINGH
Bigdata

BEACH
SendGrid

BOSTOCK
IndependenceIT

DE SOUZA
Cisco

PATTATHIL
Harbinger

O'BRIEN
Aria Systems

BONIFAZI
Solgenia

BIANCO
Solgenia

PROCTOR
NuoDB

DUGGAL
EnterpriseWeb

TEGETHOFF
Appcore

BRUNOZZI
VMware

HICKENS
Parasoft

KLEBANOV
Cisco

PETERS
Esri

GOLDBERG
Vormetric

CUMBER-
LAND

Dimension

ROSENDAHL
Quantum

LOOMIS
Cloudant

BRUNO
StackIQ

HANNON
SoftLayer

JACKSON
SoftLayer

HOCH
Virtustream

KAPADIA
Seagate

PAQUIN
OnLive

TSAI
Innodisk

BARRALL
Connected Data

SHIAH
AgilePoint

SEGIL
Verizon

PODURI
Citrix

COWIE
Dyn

RITTEN-
HOUSE

Cisco

FALLOWS
Kaazing

THYKATTIL
TimeWarner

LEIDUCK
SAP

LYNN
HP

WAGSTAFF
BSQUARE

POLLACK
AOL

KAMARAJU
Vormetric

BARRY
Catbird

MENDEN-
HALL

SUPERNAP

SHAN
KEANE

PLESE
Verizon

BARNUM
Voxox

TURNER
Cloudian

CALDERON
Advanced Systems

AGARWAL
SOA Software

LEE
Quantum

OBEROI
Concurrent, Inc.

HATEM
Verizon

GALEY
Autodesk

CAUTHRON
NIMBOXX

BARSOUM
IBM

GORDON
1Plug

LEWIS
Verizon

YEO
OrionVM

NAKAGAWA
Transparent Cloud Computing

SHIBATA
Transparent Cloud Computing

NATH
GE

GOKCEN
GE

STOICA
Databricks

TANKEL
Pivotal Software


Testimonials
This week I had the pleasure of delivering the opening keynote at Cloud Expo New York. It was amazing to be back in the great city of New York with thousands of cloud enthusiasts eager to learn about the next step on their journey to embracing a cloud-first worldl."
@SteveMar_Msft
General Manager of Window Azure
 
How does Cloud Expo do it every year? Another INCREDIBLE show - our heads are spinning - so fun and informative."
@SOASoftwareInc
 
Thank you @ThingsExpo for such a great event. All of the people we met over the past three days makes us confident IoT has a bright future."
Yasser Khan
CEO of @Cnnct2me
 
One of the best conferences we have attended in a while. Great job, Cloud Expo team! Keep it going."

@Peak_Ten


Who Should Attend?
Senior Technologists including CIOs, CTOs & Vps of Technology, Chief Systems Engineers, IT Directors and Managers, Network and Storage Managers, Enterprise Architects, Communications and Networking Specialists, Directors of Infrastructure.

Business Executives including CEOs, CMOs, & CIOs , Presidents & SVPs, Directors of Business Development , Directors of IT Operations, Product and Purchasing Managers, IT Managers.

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Cloud Expo Show Guide
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Join Us as a Media Partner - Together We Can Rock the IT World!
SYS-CON Media has a flourishing Media Partner program in which mutually beneficial promotion and benefits are arranged between our own leading Enterprise IT portals and events and those of our partners.

If you would like to participate, please provide us with details of your website/s and event/s or your organization and please include basic audience demographics as well as relevant metrics such as ave. page views per month.

To get involved, email Patricia Henderson at patricia@sys-con.com.

@CloudExpo Blogs
We are seeing a major migration of enterprises applications to the cloud. As cloud and business use of real time applications accelerate, legacy networks are no longer able to architecturally support cloud adoption and deliver the performance and security required by highly distributed enterprises. These outdated solutions have become more costly and complicated to implement, install, manage, and maintain.SD-WAN offers unlimited capabilities for accessing the benefits of the cloud and Internet. SD-WAN helps enterprises to take advantage of the exploding landscape of cloud applications and serv...
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.
In an era of historic innovation fueled by unprecedented access to data and technology, the low cost and risk of entering new markets has leveled the playing field for business. Today, any ambitious innovator can easily introduce a new application or product that can reinvent business models and transform the client experience. In their Day 2 Keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Mercer Rowe, IBM Vice President of Strategic Alliances, and Raejeanne Skillern, Intel Vice President of Data Center Group and GM, will discuss how clients in this new era of innovation can apply data, technology, plus human in...
This week I had the privilege of interviewing Christine Ashton, SAP's Global CDO, Digital Office, ERP Cloud. In this interview, we dig deep into her insights on digital transformation, AI, automation and the economic case for running ERPs in the cloud, plus what it takes to win in a fast changing technology environment. Enjoy!
Founded in 2000, Chetu Inc. is a global provider of customized software development solutions and IT staff augmentation services for software technology providers. By providing clients with unparalleled niche technology expertise and industry experience, Chetu has become the premiere long-term, back-end software development partner for start-ups, SMBs, and Fortune 500 companies. Chetu is headquartered in Plantation, Florida, with thirteen offices throughout the U.S. and abroad.
Bill Schmarzo, author of "Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business" and "Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science," is responsible for setting the strategy and defining the Big Data service offerings and capabilities for EMC Global Services Big Data Practice. As the CTO for the Big Data Practice, he is responsible for working with organizations to help them identify where and how to start their big data journeys. He's written several white papers, is an avid blogger and is a frequent speaker on the use of Big Data and data science to power the organization's key ...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Dez Blanchfield joined the faculty of CloudEXPO's "10-Year Anniversary Event" which will take place on November 11-13, 2018 in New York City. Dez is a strategic leader in business and digital transformation with 25 years of experience in the IT and telecommunications industries developing strategies and implementing business initiatives. He has a breadth of expertise spanning technologies such as cloud computing, big data and analytics, cognitive computing, machine learning and the Internet of Things.
Bill Schmarzo, author of "Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business" and "Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science," is responsible for setting the strategy and defining the Big Data service offerings and capabilities for EMC Global Services Big Data Practice. As the CTO for the Big Data Practice, he is responsible for working with organizations to help them identify where and how to start their big data journeys. He's written several white papers, is an avid blogger and is a frequent speaker on the use of Big Data and data science to power the organization's key ...
HyperConvergence came to market with the objective of being simple, flexible and to help drive down operating expenses. It reduced the footprint by bundling the compute/storage/network into one box. This brought a new set of challenges as the HyperConverged vendors are very focused on their own proprietary building blocks. If you want to scale in a certain way, let's say you identified a need for more storage and want to add a device that is not sold by the HyperConverged vendor, forget about it. This meant that up to now the HyperConverged vendors were in charge of the requirements.
The cloud wars rage on. The room is full of 800lb gorillas that have been battling over market share and supremacy for several years now. You know who the key players are - Amazon, Microsoft, Google and IBM – all still standing. Three year ago, Gartner described the market as ‘still evolving and maturing’. However, last year, they described the market as ‘in a state of upheaval’ with many providers shifting their strategies as they struggle to obtain market share.
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, James Henry, Co-CEO/CTO of Calgary Scientific Inc., introduced you to the challenges, solutions and benefits of training AI systems to solve visual problems with an emphasis on improving AIs with continuous training in the field. He explored applications in several industries and discussed technologies that allow the deployment of advanced visualization solutions to the cloud.
As you move to the cloud, your network should be efficient, secure, and easy to manage. An enterprise adopting a hybrid or public cloud needs systems and tools that provide: Agility: ability to deliver applications and services faster, even in complex hybrid environments Easier manageability: enable reliable connectivity with complete oversight as the data center network evolves Greater efficiency: eliminate wasted effort while reducing errors and optimize asset utilization Security: implement always-vigilant DNS security
In this presentation, you will learn first hand what works and what doesn't while architecting and deploying OpenStack. Some of the topics will include:- best practices for creating repeatable deployments of OpenStack- multi-site considerations- how to customize OpenStack to integrate with your existing systems and security best practices.
Evan Kirstel is an internationally recognized thought leader and social media influencer in IoT (#1 in 2017), Cloud, Data Security (2016), Health Tech (#9 in 2017), Digital Health (#6 in 2016), B2B Marketing (#5 in 2015), AI, Smart Home, Digital (2017), IIoT (#1 in 2017) and Telecom/Wireless/5G. His connections are a "Who's Who" in these technologies, He is in the top 10 most mentioned/re-tweeted by CMOs and CIOs (2016) and have been recently named 5th most influential B2B marketeer in the US. His social media "Klout"​ score is 81 and rising!
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In their session at 21st Cloud Expo, Jenny Hung, E2E Engineer Manager at Yahoo Gemini, Haoran Zhao, Softw...
"Venafi has a platform that allows you to manage, centralize and automate the complete life cycle of keys and certificates within the organization," explained Gina Osmond, Sr. Field Marketing Manager at Venafi, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Michael Maximilien, better known as max or Dr. Max, is a computer scientist with IBM. At IBM Research Triangle Park, he was a principal engineer for the worldwide industry point-of-sale standard: JavaPOS. At IBM Research, some highlights include pioneering research on semantic Web services, mashups, and cloud computing, and platform-as-a-service. He joined the IBM Cloud Labs in 2014 and works closely with Pivotal Inc., to help make the Cloud Found the best PaaS.
Cloud-enabled transformation has evolved from cost saving measure to business innovation strategy -- one that combines the cloud with cognitive capabilities to drive market disruption. Learn how you can achieve the insight and agility you need to gain a competitive advantage. Industry-acclaimed CTO and cloud expert, Shankar Kalyana presents. Only the most exceptional IBMers are appointed with the rare distinction of IBM Fellow, the highest technical honor in the company. Shankar has also received the prestigious Outstanding Technical Achievement Award three times - an accomplishment befitting ...
"Evatronix provides design services to companies that need to integrate the IoT technology in their products but they don't necessarily have the expertise, knowledge and design team to do so," explained Adam Morawiec, VP of Business Development at Evatronix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Business professionals no longer wonder if they'll migrate to the cloud; it's now a matter of when. The cloud environment has proved to be a major force in transitioning to an agile business model that enables quick decisions and fast implementation that solidify customer relationships. And when the cloud is combined with the power of cognitive computing, it drives innovation and transformation that achieves astounding competitive advantage.