Technology Implementations Require More Than Wires and Code

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Many companies have the best of intentions about delivering differentiated, valuable customer experiences. Yet in many cases, their technology does not evolve as quickly as the rest of the business, hindering the ability to effectively treat different customers differently.

By the time a company decides to make technological improvements, it’s rarely just a technology implementation project. There are strategic and operational issues that go beyond a software or hardware installation. They typically include:

1. Creating a holistic data picture. Data is seldom in one place. Some companies may not even be collecting valuable customer data. Integrating the data pieces to create a 360-degree view of the customer is a challenge. But without this important step, no technology implementation will be successful.

2. Making data actionable. Just because you collect data doesn’t mean it’s valuable. And some data takes on new importance when combined with other information. Companies must understand the value within the data being generated or revealed by CRM and other technologies, and create a plan to use it effectively.

3. Customizing technology based on business needs. Delivering a differentiated customer experience often requires a differentiated way of using the technology. Companies should not feel forced to do only what the technology allows out of the box. When possible, they should uniquely leverage the technology to automate the customer experience in a way that’s the most relevant to their business. Initially, it may take more time but in the long run it will be more easily adopted internally and fit more seamlessly into how a company operates.

4. Creating omnichannel efficiencies. Companies often invest in technology to create efficiencies. Those efficiencies need to be considered in both customer and company context. When implementing technology, think about the best way to scale and automate treatment in the customer’s preferred channel. Don’t focus on only one channel simply because it’s easier for the implementation.

A successful technology implementation will take these non-technical factors into consideration, rather than lead with the technology and features. Many of these require the involvement of high-level stakeholders across the business, not just the IT department. Remember that successful implementations start with the end experience in mind, and then use technology as a resource to achieve the vision.