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Microsoft urges organisations to tackle data blindspots to reduce risk of costly failed CX projects

Study reveals opportunity to boost transformation impact

SYDNEY – 18 February, 2019 – New research has uncovered a significant transformation opportunity for Australian enterprises, with the potential to reduce the risk and cost of failed CX projects and amplify the impact of data for customers and employees.

A study of 505 medium to large organisations conducted by business-to-business research agency, Colmar Brunton, and commissioned by Microsoft Australia, reveals that while most Australian enterprises (69 per cent) say they have an integrated digital transformation strategy, dig a little deeper and it turns out only 28 per cent have a company-wide strategy for sharing data.

Without access to a comprehensive array of data, organisations will be limited in their ability to intelligently use data to engage customers, empower people, optimise and automate processes, and transform products and services. Data locked away in silos, where it is not easily surfaced or accessible, will inevitably act as a brake on transformation.

When asked about the importance of data in terms of automating business processes, 83 per cent of respondents said it was “somewhat to extremely” important; 82 per cent said the same about access to data to gain a 360-degree view of the customer; and 79 per cent said it was somewhat to extremely important for generating a real time insight into the pipeline of opportunities. However, the research reveals that in spite of the critical role data plays to CX transformation almost a third (30 per cent) say that there is little to no data sharing across the organisation.

The blindspot this creates is causing many transformation efforts to fail to reach their full potential and help organisations understand the end to end customer journey with their products and services. At present 55 per cent of organisations nominate customer resistance to change as a barrier to transformation.

Data blindspots trigger costly project failures

The research uncovered the challenges organisations are having with regard to accessing all the available data through an integrated strategy, and how this is triggering a rash of costly CX project failures.

Despite the significant focus placed on CX transformation – over a third (37 per cent) of Australian organisations claimed between that more than one in five of their projects failed.

There can be big dollars involved. Almost a third (32 per cent) of survey respondents said these failed projects had cost $100,000-$500,000. Seven per cent had experienced project failures costing more than $500,000.

Crafting corporate-wide data sharing policies and implementing technology that allows all of an enterprise’s data to be accessed when and where it is required is critical, to optimise decision making and take informed action across an organisation, and reduce the risk of failed and costly CX projects

Michael O’Keefe, Business Applications Director at Microsoft says; “To transform, is to reimagine the organisation in every way possible. It requires an integrated digital strategy with comprehensive access to company-wide data at its heart. This encourages informed insights and better decision-making, which in turn, delivers dramatically enhanced outcomes. Think of it as democratising your corporate data.

“It’s really important that organisations identify and tackle their digital blindspots – and introduce policies, processes and technology that lets data help draft the organisational transformation blueprint.”

Customer engagement leads the way

The survey, which focussed on the finance, retail and government sectors, asked organisations to rank the prioritisation of four key areas aligned to their transformation efforts:

  • Customer engagement
  • Employee empowerment
  • Operational optimisation
  • Product/service transformation

This delivered some useful insights about the progress that organisations are making with transformation, and where there are opportunities not yet being addressed.

Survey respondents were asked to rate their maturity in intelligently using data across those four goals on a scale of zero to ten, producing a Net Data Intelligence Score’ based on methodology similar to that used to calculate net promoter scores. Only ‘customer engagement entered positive territory at +2.

While CX transformation is important, addressed in isolation it is unlikely to deliver the full transformation dividend to an organisation that comes from also transforming the employee experience, operational processes, as well as products and services.

The impact of that relative lack of maturity in using data, other than just for customers is clear when it comes to tracking the success of transformation efforts in each area. Put simply – if you don’t have access to or use data appropriately, you can’t expect transformation success.

Respondents noted that the two major barriers to successful transformation were a lack of senior management support (64 per cent) and a lack of company strategy from the board down (61 per cent). Interestingly customer and employee resistance to change also ranked highly at 55 and 56 per cent respectively.

This suggests that there needs to be a much clearer narrative from the top about the importance of transformation to the organisation, and the benefits it will deliver.

Transformation progress to date

Respondents were asked to rate successful delivery on a scale of zero to ten, with a ‘net success score’ produced. Again, engaging customers was the only outcome to achieve a positive ‘net success score’.

Respondents reported that the biggest challenges they faced included being able to customise offers and bundle products and services with personal pricing; modify go-to-market strategies in real time; gain a 360-degree view of the customer; and validate and test new ideas.

All of these require access to the right data at the right time to gain intelligence and insights.

O’Keefe adds; “Enterprise needs to develop policies about data access and use, and a technology framework that is able to access the data, interpret the data and then use the insights to empower people and organisations to take informed action.

“Data is the missing link in organisations embarking on company-wide transformation. Fortunately, there are proven solutions that address the issue.”

Dynamics 365 and Power Platform backed by the Common Data Service for Apps, provides a flexible cloud-based solution that allows organisations to easily capture, access and apply their data broadly across the business.

Common Data Service for Apps allows organisations to securely store and manage data that is used by business applications. Making that data available creates a digital feedback loop providing instant insights and intelligence to empower employees to drive action.

Organisations that implement a digital feedback loop, for example have the ability to easily bring data from their operational processes and customer interactions to understand key metrics like wait times and customer dissatisfaction that allows them to react quickly, drive change and provide better customer experiences.

Subtle differences across sectors

The study focussed on three sectors; retail, finance and government. While the overarching theme and intent of transformation resonated for all, there were some subtle differences.

The research found that government was driven towards optimising its operations, while the primary focus for finance firms was empowering employees. Not surprisingly, engaging customers was the number one transformation priority for retail businesses.

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