Evolve Your Digital Architecture Stack

Bhaskar Dey, Assistant Vice President Digital Services and Strategy, Blueocean Market Intelligence | Monday, 06 February 2017, 05:07 IST

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The digital challenge with marketers today
Today, many organizations flounder in their Digital Transformation efforts not because they lack talented people or capability but because they lack clear objectives, leadership, experimental mindset and multi-year roadmaps in aligning chaotic legacy ecosystems into useful digital architectures for successful business outcomes. 

The questions to ask are: What do you really want to achieve? What are the target set of use cases? What are the target business outcomes? How to build customer loyalty and customer engagement? How to meet Cheaper and faster targets? In other words, what are the relevant use cases? These are some of the important questions to be asked. 

Consumerization is driving the Next Generation Architecture
Consumerization and evolving customer behavior is forcing companies to change how they market, engage, sell and retain. Customers do not interact solely with the web site, call centers or stores, they engage with the entire business over time via multiple channels and they do it on their time frame and needs. Brands should meet customers at their leisure, to strengthen loyalty and build lasting customer relationships.

As a result, corporations are investing more and more money building/assembling comprehensive Multi-Channel Platforms for customer acquisition, engagement and retention. At the same time, corporations are finding it difficult to keep these increasingly expensive platforms aligned with business need.
Today marketers are spoilt for choice of technology –there are multiple big data engineering platforms and solutions available in the market; however which one to choose is always a big question for the marketers. Yesterday’s web-only sites have become today’s mobile-first, data-driven digital experiences.

The digital architecture, application development and delivery (AD&D) necessary to support next generation experiences requires significant planning. The first step is to define a digital operating model and Digital Enterprise Architecture that allow rapid integration of new technologies to fuel the digital transformation. This assumes there are not heaps of “technical debt” from past decisions that often derail projects. 

Below we describe three different views of the Digital Architecture:
• A touchpoint, application and technology view;
• An ad-tech, marketing and sales technology (martech) view;
• An individual digital project view.

Digital Architecture – CIO view - Application and Technology
The emerging requirements that CIOs are focused on include:

• Empower companies to connect customers through engaging experiences
• Create easy-to-consume integrated digital experiences (e.g., responsive web platforms and other device types that provide audiences immediate access to content, transformations and information needed)
• Integrated Social Engagement (Integrated social publishing and analytics; Apply social insight and data for new marketing campaigns)
• Integrated Mobile Engagement (Deliver mobile first experiences)

The pressure on CIOs is immense. Disturbance of seamless experience or failure to meet expectations is detected by customers immediately. Consumers share their disappointment within their social networks. This increases probability of customers opting out and availing competitor services. 

Digital Architecture – CMO View - Marketing and Sales Perspective
Most marketers were not trained to be technologists, analysts, mathematicians or economists. They were trained to be top-of-the-funnel demand generators and brand marketers. However, increasingly they are being forced to make significant sales, marketing, and service and commerce solution and platform decisions.

The emerging requirements that CMOs (and their chief marketing technology officers) are focused on include:

• Personalization of digital channels – Deliver relevant messaging to customer through email, mobile and web

• Visualizations of customer journeys — Gain new insights on engaging customers

• Apply pre-defined models and learning to future campaigns

• Predictive Analytics (predictive support for customer profile and next best action; attribution and marketing mix support)

Everything starts with Design. Design is a catalyst to drive change in the way world works. Service design combines the customer experience with the technology platforms.

Most strategic business solutions start with empathy with the consumer — customer or an employee. Outside in design is very much at the center of that. Companies are looking to transform their businesses through design-led innovation.

It’s true that the digital architecture space is continuously evolving, and its newest iteration is a series of interconnected clusters. Instead of one type of technology stacking on top of another; it is a rich ecosystem with complementary products that help fuel the marketer’s pipeline. It’s important for marketers not to think of each solution in isolation, but how each system intersects with each other and helps build existing technologies. So, the message is not to kill your digital architecture stack, but to evolve your stack. That would be the 21st century mantra for being successful with your digital set up and drive next generation marketing strategy.