We live in the age of the empowered customer. Armed with smartphones and social media, customers will switch brands without a second’s thought and will spread the word far and wide if they have a bad experience. Meanwhile, digital technologies are increasing customer expectations of what constitutes a great experience. Why phone for a taxi and wait half an hour when you can push a couple of buttons and one arrives immediately? Why settle for the takeaway at the end of the street when you can source a meal from the best restaurant in town and have it delivered to your door?
Cloud, mobile, the Internet of Things (IoT) and big data technologies are changing the nature of what customer experience means (call out). It’s no longer enough to offer a range of cool services that customers want to use; businesses need to offer a single integrated customer experience that consumers can access in the ways they want to access it (call out)– whether that’s in-store, online, through the products and services themselves or on social media.
Look at Oracle’s digital business; you’ll see that we do more than simply deliver isolated instances of good products or smooth customer service; we integrate the lot into a single digitally-enabled brand experience that keeps customers coming back for more.
Cloud, mobile, the Internet of Things (IoT) and big data technologies are changing the nature of what customer experience means.
Oracle’s Era I Enterprise: Ready for Anything study, in which 300 C-level executives across 10 industries were surveyed, found that 84 percent of respondents said their organization has witnessed the trend of customers wanting a more individualized experience. The study also found that organizations that have increased their revenue by more than 10 percent in the past year have put significant effort into offering individualized experiences (call out).
The integrated customer experience lies at the heart of digital transformation. To enable it, businesses need to join up their entire enterprise infrastructure – from their legacy, private and public cloud data centers, through to the applications these data centers serve – with one goal in mind: delivering something exceptional to the end user.
Businesses need to offer a single integrated customer experience that consumers can access in the ways they want to access it.
The aim of any business today should be to ensure that all of its data centers, applications, equipment, facilities and people are connected, with data flowing to and from each in the service of the customer experience: whether this is for use in big data analytics to understand what the next new customer service should be, IoT to ensure customers products are working well and if not - fixing them before the customer notices, or customer-facing smartphone apps and web services.
The more integrated the business, the better the customer experience. A Cloud Platform offers what I believe to be the most effective way to enable this integration. This is supported by the Oracle study referred to above, which found that 81 percent of organizations note an important link between cloud-based IT solutions and the agility required to offer more individualized employee and customer experiences.
Organizations that have increased their revenue by more than 10 percent in the past year have put significant effort into offering individualized experiences.
Cloud Platforms fill the role that middleware used to, but is capable of so much more. Through a Cloud Platform, businesses can integrate all sources of data; all data centers, applications, end points and connected devices seamlessly, without the need to configure or manually integrate them (call out). Cloud Platforms free data so that it can be used in real-time wherever it is needed, allowing businesses to offer a personalized, context-aware customer experience.
At every customer interaction, Cloud Platforms ensure that all relevant data is in use. Dynamic pricing is a good example of this. Through unfettered access to all customer data flowing through to the right applications, retailers can alter their prices according to certain criteria: stock levels, performance of competing products and customer sentiment (measured through on-the-fly social media analytics), for example. Crucially, a Cloud Platform enables prices to be updated in real time across all channels, so the customer experience is the same regardless of whether they are shopping online or in-store. The result is a consistent, optimized customer experience that meets the retailer’s product strategy and customer expectations.
Through a Cloud Platform, businesses can integrate all sources of data; all data centers, applications, end points and connected devices seamlessly, without the need to configure or manually integrate them.
The integration capabilities provided by Cloud Platforms can also play a role in bringing services to the delivery channels that customers are adopting. For example, providing a compelling mobile experience is increasingly important when engaging with Millennials. Oracle Mobile Cloud Service supports this by providing enterprise apps to Android and iOS mobile devices at the touch of a button, while Oracle Developer Cloud Service provides continuous integration and delivery automation. The latter is proving particularly popular in the Samsung partner ecosystem.
Any business serious about digital transformation needs to be serious about using cloud technology to integrate its data. Customer expectations are changing, and only those businesses that can deliver a fast, consistent and compelling customer proposition will succeed.
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