Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Analytics and User Experience Must Become Strategic

Culture is the glue to make analytics-driven, customer-centric strategy stick.

Digital is the big time for big data and customer empathy. If data are your assets, applications are your life blood and people are your business priority, then why isn't performance analytics or user experience in your strategy?

 User experience, as well as analytics, has gained ground in the recent past. The analytics, especially around user experience and performance analytics, is gaining ground, as the technology is putting customers in the center of their business. More and more businesses will be making this a priority now. However, many organizations do one of these well at best. They either focus on the numbers without regard to the way humans think or do not ground any decisions in metrics.

Data which leads to information and lastly to knowledge can be a real competitive advantage; it acts as a differentiator among the competition. It can provide a real competitive advantage in a sustainable manner for any company that wants to stand out of competition and with the use of analytics explore hidden/unseen business opportunities. The same applies to the customer experience. By seeking feedback from customers, you can refine the strategy to provide unique, superior user experience which again can act as a differentiator attribute as part of the competitive strategy. Thus, both should be considered as vehicles for gaining a competitive advantage over the competition and incorporate them in our company’s strategy.

Becoming truly data driven is now a compulsory part of the strategy. Investing in the right technologies/tools can pay for themselves by driving the 3 components of ROI - reducing costs, enhancing productivity and generating new sources of incremental revenue. As we are more to a software-controlled world, DevOps becomes the critical starting point for application performance and user experience across the entire delivery chain. More and more companies are adopting this because the time-to-value is so compelling. Also, because IT that continue to use the waterfall methodology will be at a distinct competitive disadvantage. Silos will have to yield to collaboration in the name of efficiency. 

It is all about the data. And the data is all about uptime. The key for IT is to evolve from managing infrastructure to managing data and the apps and service enablers. This is how IT teams can evolve from being perceived as a cost center that encumbers progress with slow and tactical deployments to strategic facilitators of apps and services that help the business achieve ROI and risk management objectives. The silos keeping CIO and Business separate is becoming outdated and this is a good sign for businesses and customers. Also, the rate of adaptability is the most important factor for making this the center of business strategy.

The elephant in the room is culture. Your competitive advantage via data acquisition exists only so long as you can stay ahead of the bulk of the competition, and is inherently unsustainable; culture is the glue to make your data-driven, customer-centric strategy stick. However, a culture that embraces analysis and is willing to change course based on its analysis is extremely difficult to either create or replicate, but that is where you're most likely to find a sustainable competitive advantage. Even so, it is important to note that such a culture (introspective) is only a strategic ASSET, not a strategy in itself.

Get smarter. Get faster. Get better. Get strategic. The purpose of weaving performance analytics and user experience into strategy is to run a radical digital business with digital intelligence and customer delight.

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