Legacy technology came up as one of the biggest pain points in Adobe's Digital Trends 2021 study released earlier this year, observed Scott Rigby, the chief technology advisor and principal product manager at Adobe. Speaking at a recent virtual roundtable discussion with CDOTrends, he pointed out that convenience on digital platforms is now a commodity and no longer a unique selling proposition.
Yet many organizations are still grappling with outdated workflows, a legacy technology stack, or a dearth of digital skills to stand out in the digital crowd. How can organizations overcome the technical complexity of customer experience management to deliver the personalized experiences that customers want?
The case for change
Of course, there is no avoiding the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which participants agree have accelerated digital transformation. Prashant Agarwal, who helms Digital Online & Integrated Marketing at AIA Group said: “The pandemic has forced a level of digital transformation into the last 12 months that we probably otherwise would have taken about five years to do.”
“One of the things that we've seen [from the pandemic] is people making the leap towards a digital-first world much faster than we would have thought. They are beginning to see the convenience and the ease of transacting digitally.”
This has ratcheted up the pressure for organizations to develop the capabilities to meet heightened expectations, which is a task easier said than done in highly regulated verticals such as the insurance industry.
“Expectations have gone up, because [customers] want an online insurance experience that is as easy as ordering medicine online, doing a teleconsultation, or booking the cab. They are benchmarking me not based on the best digital experience within my industry – which frankly, everybody is still bad at – but they are benchmarking me to the best experiences they have across their needs. Now, that changes the landscape,” said Agarwal.
Bridging the tech gap through partnerships
One focus area for Nirupam Das, the chief information officer at Liberty Insurance, is the removal of friction by improving legacy processes: “One of the things my company's doing is to evaluate the entire value chain and remove friction from our processes. We are working on that by redoing the whole customer journey, changing old legacy processes, and removing the steps that are not required.”
As an example of what is possible, Das pointed to new digital services such as the SingPass Myinfo API that allows banks and insurance firms – with the permission of customers – to digitally access income information to immediately approve certain types of applications.
“How do you make use of all [the] resources out there to remove friction? To make this happen, we need to make sure we take care of our legacy systems,” he said.
“I think the future is not about solving everything on our own, but to partner with [solution providers] like Adobe, and how do you make sure that they fit into that whole jigsaw puzzle and make sure they work well,” Das summed up. “Having a robust, deep software engineering experience, combined with a good understanding of what customer experience means will be crucial.”
Technology is but a tool
To be clear, technology is but a tool for enabling exceptional customer experience. Properly implementing it calls for a customer-centric mindset and efforts to leverage it properly.
“When we go through digital transformation, it is not just implementing new infrastructure and technology, but revamping the entire customer journey. This involves not just speaking with our own people, but [customers or users] as well. By adopting this kind of service journey, we really can empathize [with] pain points and incorporate that into our future processes,” said one participant from a Government agency in the region.
“Customer voices are very important. We put the customer first to develop a customer-centric solution. We then focus on making sure it works well and improve its efficiency.” he said.
Ion Mudreac, director of cloud development and DevOps at Singtel pointed to a huge spike in demand for cloud migration services over the last few months. But addressing any technology deficiency is only one aspect of what needs to be addressed, he says. There is a need to come up with new processes and processes to leverage the new capabilities to develop new services and scale them.
“We notice in many cases, even if they migrated successfully, they don't take advantage completely of all the services. People think migrating to the cloud will suddenly solve all their [technology] problems. However, there is a lot more to be done. Just by migrating It does not mean they solve the problem,” said Mudreac.
The time to invest is now
“Probably one of the things that hold organizations back when it came to legacy technology is really trying to prove the business pain points and identify the impact in the business,” observed Rigby. “I think the ongoing pandemic has shown that businesses need to have a technology infrastructure that can flex with the organization and is much more agile.”
“Going forward, businesses need to future proof themselves against legacy technology and their ability to be able to move at speed and move towards customer expectations. While there are technologies that can be Band-Aids for the interim, I think the last 12 months have made the business case to make that investment and do it in an aggressive, accelerated, fashion.”
“Where there's a will, there's a way,” he concluded.
Paul Mah is a senior editor at CDOTrends. He likes (almost) all things tech and enjoys writing about data science, AI, and digital transformation. You can reach him at [email protected].
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