As the world shifts to digital mode to weather the ravages of the health pandemic, it is easy to see the rising role of digital experience (DXP).
A recent Progress survey titled “Digital Experiences: Where the Industry Stands” notes that this is a shift that was already well underway before COVID-19. It also saw 93% agreeing that coordinating DXP and app development efforts can speed up digital transformation (DX) outcomes.
The survey, administered by Insight-Avenue, interviewed over 900 app development, web, marketing and business leaders around the world during November and December 2019 to find out their DXP strategies for the design, development, delivery and measurement of digital interactions.
It defines DXP as the interactions offered to prospects, customers, partners and employees through the use of digital technology using digital marketing and app development efforts.
Getting DXP right is becoming more urgent. Forty-eight percent said that they “must make significant inroads” in DXP efforts in the next 12 months or it will “negatively” affect their business. Nearly one-third (32%) said 1 to two years.
Yet, when you look past these numbers, surprises await.
“What was somewhat surprising was that the time given to act changed very little from the survey in 2016. I think this reflects that there are no discrete beginning and end dates for digital transformation and experience efforts,” says Mark Troester, the vice president of strategy at Progress.
He urged companies to drive constant innovation with a continuous delivery approach “that either expands the scope of their initiatives or looks to leverage new technology or use it in different ways.”
The biggest surprise from the survey lay in business alignment. In the 2016 survey, 77% said that their IT and marketing “could be better aligned on digital transformation efforts.” The latest one saw the same percentage (77%) saying that their business and technology leaders “are well aligned and collaborate effectively.”
“I personally don’t see that level of alignment in organizations that I speak to about digital efforts,” says Troester.
Despite these figures, Troester remains excited about the overall results and key DXP trends that the survey unearths. He points out that organizations see the need to deliver experiences for customers (72%), employees (71%) and partners (65%). “Both DesignOps and DevSecOps are on track to be used by 78% of organizations within the next 12 months.”
However, Troester cautions companies trying to draw a clear line between DXP initiatives and digital transformation success. While 79% said in the survey that their organizations now have a mandate to use DXP to achieve competitive advantage, “I don’t think that you can say that digital excellence automatically enables business success, and I think it would be a stretch to imply that a DXP translates directly into business success.”
Instead, Troester sees the results highlighting a rising understanding among companies that they are in the experience business, not a product or services one.
Chief digital officers (CDOs) are playing a dominant role in delivery DXP — once the exclusive domain of chief marketing officers and customer experience heads. The survey notes that 69% of CDOs (compared to 38% in 2016) are key advocates. Another title rising in prominence is the chief experience officer, which saw a jump to 42% from the previous 15%.
“That jump is likely due to an increase in organizations that staff these positions today, which is another indicator of the growing importance of digital,” says Troester.
However, the need for CDOs and chief experience officers to get involved also shows “a previous gap or failure within an organization,” he argues.
“My hope is that organizations that employ these positions integrate that individual effectively and look to embed digital or experience expertise across the entire organization. In my opinion, that person should be looking to work themselves out of a job once they have accomplished the necessary culture shift,” he adds.
Overall, the survey highlights an ongoing mindset change toward DXP and its role in a company's ambitions.
“Thinking more strategically about the role that technology can play by analyzing every aspect of the customer lifecycle and every aspect of the business can help drive consensus and alignment,” says Troester.
He also adds that practices around continuous innovation will help to get employees more engaged and broaden their minds in using digital.
“I can’t overstate how important the mindset is to success, and while it requires top-down sponsorship, it really needs to exude every element of the business for game changing success,” says Troester.