James HarveyJames HarveyJuly 8, 2020


The COVID-19 pandemic is continuing to create new challenges for technologists. Businesses are under phenomenal pressure to keep applications and digital services up and running, while at the same time being asked to deliver the best experience possible for their consumers.

In normal circumstances, consumers have very high expectations for the businesses and services they interact with. This demand for flawless digital experiences has meant that organisations need to deliver high-performance and scalable services at all times to protect their reputation and stay ahead of the competition.

During the current pandemic, consumers’ demands are intensified, as they rely even more on digital services to access information, services and products. In a digital-first world, brands need to ensure their digital performance is, and continues to be, a top priority. For IT teams, end-to-end visibility into both web and mobile applications is vital for gaining the insight they need to understand the consumers’ habits, as well as the broader business.

Increasing complexity across the technology stack, however, has meant that delivering exceptional digital experiences as standard might prove challenging for organisations. So, how can businesses successfully deliver an outstanding customer experience in the current climate?

Consumer demands impact IT

In recent years, application environments have exploded in complexity. This has made it more difficult for IT teams to react quickly to application issues and resolve them ahead of time. Today, digital experiences are how consumers engage with the world and, in many cases, how customers engage with brands. As outstanding digital experiences become the norm and appetite for services is soaring, brands need to ensure they deliver personalised, intuitive customer experiences.

According to the App Attention Index, half of all consumers would pay more for products and services that deliver a better digital experience. To remain ahead of the competition, businesses need to differentiate themselves through the applications and experiences they provide.

Building a better digital experience

A visual map makes it easy to see where any issues are and flag problems such as a marked drop-off in users because of delays or lags. Through this mapping, IT teams can gain a unique advantage in delivering an exceptional customer experience, while prioritising resources.

This performance-lens view allows IT decision makers to see the bigger picture, understand how customers interact with the applications, how performance impacts these interactions, as well as resolve the right issues at the right time.

To deliver world-class digital experience, IT teams need a holistic overview of their applications. Demand from consumers has meant that IT teams need to manage application complexity whilst also navigating operational silos that make collaboration, data exchange and problem resolution challenging.

To overcome these challenges, they need a comprehensive view on how customers are interacting with the application in real-time. Visualising the customer journey gives teams the opportunity to identify paths to optimisation and deliver the high-quality experience that consumers demand. Tools like Experience Journey Map provide a visual map of the UX across the entire web or mobile application. Through journey visualisation, teams can proactively manage the digital journey and uncover any hidden bottlenecks.

Re-thinking digital transformation

Today’s business climate brings new pressures and increasing customer demands every day, Organisations must adapt quickly and ensure they have a robust business transformation strategy in place.

To achieve success and deliver outstanding digital services through these uncertain times, businesses need to have full-stack visibility across their IT infrastructure. This will enable ITOps teams to consistently and quickly improve the digital experiences for the end customer. IT has become a strategic driver of business outcomes and a proactive approach to performance monitoring has never been more important.

In the end, the businesses that are able to transform, innovate and delight their users through their digital services, will be the ones who gain advantage ahead of the competition and earn the loyalty of their customers.

Paul ElworthyPaul ElworthyJune 16, 2020


Companies are now under intense pressure to review what they do and how they operate, which for many includes big technology shifts, including, better use of digital channels, automation and cloud technologies.

But, there’s a problem. It seems as though many digital change and transformations have been more than underwhelming when it comes to value realisation. Probably not a surprising point for many of us who work with organisations, helping them adapt to shifting customer expectations and market conditions. Look at the stats…

  • 73 percent of enterprises failed to provide any business value whatsoever from their digital change and transformation efforts, according to an Everest Group report;
  • Accenture have found that, out of 1,350 global players, 78 percent struggled to see results;
  • KPMG have reported that one in three CEOs (34 percent) say their organisations have failed to achieve the value they anticipated from previous transformation initiatives.

Why are so many transformations failing to deliver real return?

Change is a complex thing, particularly for organisations that are in themselves complex, with inflexible legacy systems, manual processes and ways of working, all getting in the way. There are lots of issues to contend with – but three big hairy problems, probably worth highlighting:

  1. A desire to ‘get on with it’ and make change happen can be great to encourage momentum, but it also can result in programmatic leaps, particularly between initial strategic intent and end solution development, resulting in key design and planning work, to define the exact problem and business needs, being missed out or squeezed. The result? Solutions being built, that don’t work and don’t answer the right problem.
  2. A monolithic ‘all or nothing’ approach is adopted, with delivery plans failing to release business value incrementally, resulting in inefficient resourcing, cumbersome work packages and poor ROI;
  3. The underlying culture and ‘ways of working’ are poorly aligned to the job in hand, such as lack of engagement from leadership; a delivery team that wants to be ‘agile’, but isn’t; limited capability to adapt to evolving business needs; misalignments in objectives and priorities across business line; all ultimately creating a drag on engagement and value release across the organisation.

Of course, these are pretty knotty problems, and there’s no single fix, but having seen many of these challenges myself and discussed key issues with clients and other consultants in the field, there is one common link that gets a common mention. That link is the gap in how business strategy is defined and applied through the deployment of the programme and new technology solutions.

This doesn’t actually sound that straightforward a problem to resolve, but it is a problem where a combination of good Business Design and Business Architecture can be a big help.

A key missing link – Business Design and Architecture

How do I come to that conclusion? Well, let’s first of all understand what Business Design and Business Architecture actually are.

The role of Business Designer (BD) was originally established by the design agency, IDEO, who describe the role as the job of applying “a human-centred approach to innovation and applying the principles and practices of design to help organizations create new value and new forms of competitive advantage”.

Business Architecture (BA) is an integral part of Enterprise Architecture and according to TOGAF (Open Group Architecture Framework) “defines the business strategy, governance, organization, and key business processes”.

Whilst BD tends to focus on innovation, business and product modelling within a service design agency setting, and BA tends to be integrated into a CIO strategy or Enterprise Architecture function, both disciplines, at their core, work to similar goals. They both aim to understand and describe strategy, capability, stakeholder motivations (which includes customers), plus aid the design of new approaches and innovations.

With a primary focus back into the business, but capable of being a key strategic link into technology, combined disciplines are perfectly placed to ensure that digital change and transformation activities don’t simply become technology led activities, but remain strategically focused on delivering against a business outcome-based set of requirements.

In doing so, they can help close the gap in value realisation which clearly exists in many programmes today.

10 ways in which Business Design and Architecture can help

1. By defining clear and compelling vision and strategy for change.

Although a vision and set of strategies exist within most programmes, they are not always clearly translated into value for customers and stakeholders. The process of vision definition is something that Business Designers can help deliver through stakeholder co-creation and strategic assessment of the business, its value proposition, operating model and market.

2. Double-checking that your change is feasible.

This means establishing a solid understanding of what needs to change, how it will be done, and associated value return ahead of any detailed design. If gaps between vision, objectives and solutions are only exposed later on, it can be much harder to change course. Because both BD and BA are focused on defining the key building blocks to change upfront, this risk can be mitigated.

3. Making sure everyone’s role is understood.

BAs, in particular, are able to develop a focused view on what changes are needed in organisational capabilities, services and functions, so that there is a clear view of how each part of the organisation will contribute to overall realisation of change.

4. Aligning financial forecasting and change planning.

I’ve seen many instances where businesses and change programmes become derailed either through underestimation of effort, overestimation of benefit or misalignment between traditional budgeting processes versus agile (incremental) delivery. Both BD and BA approaches help businesses establish value driven plans which are more likely to realise value in line with business expectations.

5. Following the thread from strategy to solution.

Continuous alignment of strategy with solution roadmap is key to ensuring longer programmes of work remain true to meeting business goals. It’s also crucial that the course of action can be re-set, in response to changing conditions. In their ‘bridging’ role, BDs and BAs can be key to maintaining alignment across various stakeholder groups (e.g. technology, PMO, operation and business).

6. Delivering business transformation not digital transformation.

Because the BD and BA view is customer and business centric rather than technology centric, the design processes and governance approach used, ensures solution design focuses on realising business value drivers not what the latest shiny tech promises.

7. Doing systems thinking not siloed thinking.

Simply taking an ‘analogue’ process or function and making it ‘digital’ may not be a sound approach. Organisations are systems and change in one place of an enterprise can impact adversely elsewhere. Equally it may be better to simply maintain ‘analogue’ processes if value return from converting to automation is poor. Applying a ‘systems thinking’ approach is something BDs and BAs do, helping ensure joined up business functions, experiences for customers and clear value return.

8. Bringing innovation into change.

Introducing a new automated process to reduce operating cost may be a great idea – but if that automation doesn’t deliver a better experience for customers it may not deliver the full value desired. Taking a user centred design approach, that comes with BD, will help test the quality of solution, drive innovation and ensure change delivers maximum value return to all key stakeholders.

9. Making roadmaps, value led.

It’s vital that all key value drivers are well defined and aligned to delivery increments. Understanding, maintaining and adapting a view across the programme of the key motivations, value streams, tactics and associated deliverables (whether defined through epics, features and stories) are key competencies within BA – and will go some way to ensure that business expectations and technology delivery remain on track.

10. Staying true to core goals – getting rid of ‘pet projects’ and distractions.

It is vital that everyone understands and remains engaged in the reasons for change and how it is to be implemented. If priorities are not well set and continually maintained, there can be a proliferation of demands, priorities become confused, and ‘pet projects’ get spun up that might meet an assumed need, but don’t contribute to the primary goals of change activity. Good BA and BD planning can help minimise this risk.

OK, lots of significant opportunities, but let’s be honest, just by dropping a dose of Business Design and Business Architecture capability into your change and transformation work, is no guarantee of a fix.

However, with so many change and transformations failing to deliver real value, often because of disconnects between business and tech domains, it seems sensible to me to have strong Business Design and Architecture support, as part of your change armoury. That’s if you want to avoid more big value gaps in your CX and digital transformation work.


Paul is a Judge at the UK Digital Experience Awards 2020.


Sandra RadlovackiSandra RadlovackiApril 16, 2020


Capita Consulting announces adoption of the OutSystems low-code platform to improve the solutions offered to their government, financial services, healthcare and utilities clients.

Low-code software development approach replaces thousands of lines of complex code and allows faster delivery of application, as well as building complete applications with modern-user interfaces.

Developers can easily skip all the infrastructure and re-implementation of patterns and go to the unique 10 percent of an app which enables swift distribution of software solutions to clients adapting to fast-changing business needs.

Ismail Amla, Chief Growth Officer at Capita Consulting, says: “At a time of unprecedented disruption for businesses, employees, and customers, Capita Consulting is working with our clients to accelerate their critical digital transformation initiatives,”

“The world, now more than ever, needs to leverage the power of technology to respond in delivering solutions to help society.  In an environment where online is truly the only way to go and speed of response can make all the difference, Capita Consulting is excited to leverage a proven low-code platform to rapidly deliver real business results for our clients.”

“This strategic partnership gives Capita the ability to rapidly develop and deploy apps for their clients, then manage them through their entire lifecycle,” said Peter Dunlap, Vice President, OutSystems. “This partnership empowers them to be agile and responsive and deliver custom solutions to their clients at scale.”

Garry Larner, UK Regional Director at OutSystems comments: “Capita Consulting has a very clear vision of partnering with clients to help them transform using digitally-enabled technologies.”

“What OutSystems offers is not only the ability to deliver software and applications faster and more efficiently than ever before, but to be able to help them create new services and engage with customers in new ways. We’re currently working closely with the Capita Consulting team to develop and co-design short lead-time projects, as well as looking at longer-term engagements with some of its larger clients.”

For more details about the partnership, visit this link.

Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJuly 22, 2019


The British love affair with bikes is receiving a boost from a growing number of eco-minded commuters keen to swap their car steering wheels for saddles, and a firm at the forefront of this pedal-powered revolution is Brompton Bicycle, famous for its iconic folding bike design.

The business builds over 45,000 bikes each year in its factory in London, 80 percent of which are exported globally. The brand is associated with its innovative product design and high-quality engineering for its iconic folding bikes.

Yet even a traditional, hands-on crafting company such as this knows the value of Digital Experience, and recently teamed up with Sitecore to offer customers a new way to interact online.

CXM spoke with Brompton’s Head of Customer Experience, Harry Mann (pictured below), to get an insight into the company’s impressive digital transformation journey…

What were the biggest challenges Brompton was facing when it came to Customer Experience?

Brompton has 14 stores across the world, but our customers predominantly make their purchase through our partner retailers. As a result, we found it difficult to gain insight into the customer journey and their individual needs because their data was fragmented. We knew that if we couldn’t use customer data to personalise experiences, we would struggle to build long-standing relationships and brand loyalty and wouldn’t be able to maximise sales opportunities.

In the past, customers could only demo and pick up their Brompton bike from a partner store, so their experience with our brand was often out of our hands. We introduced our flagship Brompton Junction stores and the purchase friction improved, but we still needed to understand the customer more clearly to be able to move them through the sales funnel towards a final purchase.

Our wide network of partners and multiple local websites also meant that customers were receiving a different brand experience depending on where they were in the world, and we lacked consistency across our platforms.

What were Brompton’s goals for personalisation and brand consistency?

As a brand that differentiates its offering through high quality products, we knew that investing in digital channels and providing personalised, multichannel experiences to our customers, regardless of where or how they purchased, was crucial. Brand consistency was also critical, so we chose the Sitecore Experience Platform – a CX management platform – to meet this objective.

The platform was chosen thanks to its ability to scale quickly across the entirety of our retail offering and to deliver personalisation at a local and individual level, factoring in where each customer is on their purchasing journey, based on their tracked profiles.

We wanted to be able to deliver a consistent global brand experience, catering to different audiences with locally translated websites, local content relevant to local trends and in-market behaviour, and the ability to suggest customisation of products.

How has Sitecore helped Brompton to develop a more personalised experience for customers?

For customers ready to build their bike online, Sitecore now allows us to present content that explains each feature, and ultimately leads the customer through the bike-building experience. Using the bike-builder tool, customers can experiment and put together a personalised bike to their exact requirements, choosing from 16 million combinations.

Additionally, Sitecore enables Brompton to make incremental improvements to the content served to customers. For example, we can identify through the online data we collect and analyse, if there are particular pages that are causing customers to leave or if content is ‘sticky’ and should be given greater prominence on the page as customers find it more informative or engaging. The platform’s tools enable Brompton to reconfigure the content and layout at the click of a button and react quickly to customer insights.

Quantitative and qualitative customer data presented clearly through the Sitecore Experience Platform has also played a key role in helping shape the brand’s offline strategy. For example, based on the insight gathered from search data on the website, we have been able to choose the best locations for our Brompton Junction stores.

Furthermore, Brompton can now segment our audience into key customer personas:

  • The builder: who is thinking about buying a Brompton
  • Brompton ‘novice’: who is just getting to grips with their new purchase
  • The ‘known customer’: who is using the bike to commute to work and enjoying the freedom the bike gives them
  • The super-fan: who wants to know about competitive Brompton cycling events

We can adapt the Customer Experience and content to suit the individual based on their segment. For example, the builder could be targeted with a calculator showing how the cost of a Brompton can be offset by not having to buy an annual gym membership or travel card.

What improvements has Brompton seen since implementing these tools?

It has enabled us to deliver a consistent and meaningful experience throughout the whole customer journey. The ability it gives us to own the relationship, even if a customer has bought a bike through a partner, is key for us. With a customer being able to get a bike serviced in addition to simply purchasing the bike, retailers are able to provide an overall ownership experience beyond the point of sale. This is especially important when retailers are struggling to get customers through the door in today’s difficult climate.

Jonathan SharpJonathan SharpJune 19, 2019


The future is upon us, with companies digitalising their contact centres with disruptive technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotic Processing Automation (RPA), that are improving the Customer Experience beyond recognition.

In the age of Brexit and political and economic uncertainty, more companies are tasked with the hard remit to cut costs and improve services at the same time. Mission Impossible? Surprisingly, it’s not!

By using AI and RPA solutions in your contact centre you can reduce the cost to serve by as much as 95 percent compared to other communication methods such as telephone call, email, or live web chat – and at the same time improve the experience for both agents and customers.

The aim is to make the customers’ journey seamless at every touch point helping you improve customer experience and reduce cost to serve. In turn this helps to reduce customer churn (retain existing customers) and increases their willingness to buy again from you and buy more.   As we know consumers are more vocal than ever before, especially within the social sphere and review sites.  Great customer experience increases advocacy, helping you to attract new ones – becoming your best marketing channel.

By removing wasted effort and the repetitive and mundane, your people will have the time to not only do their job more efficiently but importantly support the shift towards an innovation and value driven culture. This in turn presents new opportunities to transform, differentiate and develop new target operating models, helping to drive accelerated revenue growth.

The future is now

Customers expect to be able contact you 24/7, using whatever communications method they choose whether that’s text, phone, email, video call, or web chat. More than 60 percent of customers interact through multiple channels and they expect a consistent service (Deloitte research). We often see IT managers responding to a CEO requesting a webchat solution and then rushing into buying an off the shelf product that it is not suited to their needs and not part of an overall strategy. We must emphasise that it is vital from the start to set objectives and have a strategy in place before you embark on any AI or RPA project.

A digital transformation strategy does not need to be a huge and overwhelming project with endless budgets and deadlines. By working with a Solutions Provider, you’ll be able to deconstruct it into manageable projects which will aid you in getting approval and devising a strategy.

Mapping out the customer’s journey

It is crucial to know which business goals you want an AI and RPA project to achieve. If your objective is to improve tCX with a view to increasing sales and revenue then it is advisable to study the existing journey that your customers take and question what works and what doesn’t.

With the guidance from a Solution Provider you can then look at how it should be improved by asking agents and customers how they want to communicate and what improvements they think would benefit them. By involving all stakeholders, you are not only helping with the buy-in for the new technology but also enabling them to envision how they will collaborate with the AI and RPA solution. It is crucial that companies understand how humans can augment technology and how technology can enhance the roles of humans. This is an imperative step in the process of redesigning business processes to support your objectives.

Integration is everything

A Solutions Provider will ensure that AI and RPA is integrated into the front and back office so you can utilise what you have and maximise your new solution.

A survey from Forrester revealed that 64 percent of respondents commented that a lack of single view of information was one of their biggest challenges in CRM. Often companies deploy an ad hoc AI solution that doesn’t integrate with their existing technology and the contact centre agents then have multiple screens at a time to view all of the communications. We have more technology and communications methods available to us than ever before but if we do not plan how and where to use them, then it can be counterproductive.

The aim is to create a single view of all communications and essentially to have one ‘smart in box’ so the agents can view everything on one screen. All interactions are integrated over an orchestration layer connecting the front and back office together. Then you can truly revolutionise your contact centre, CX, and your business processes.

Segmenting and prioritising customers

Customers want easy to use communications, they don’t want to be left on hold, stuck in a queue, and transferred from one department to another. They expect to move seamlessly between communication channels and not to be asked who they are and what the purpose of their call is again and again.

With AI and RPA, you can segment customers on value and expectations, for example you can prioritise high value customers so they can jump the queue to talk to an agent or provide a call back option when is convenient with them. As the customers are high value you may want to provide them with real time communications, such as a phone or video call, offering a more personalised service.

Agents can also see on their screen that they are your top tier customers and have visibility of their details and history so they can personalise the service and making them feel valued.

Data used to segment customers can be managed, used to upsell and utilised for sales and marketing. The key is that people are required to analyse the data  to encourage departments to knock down the silos and share what they are working on.

Re-thinking business processes

The beauty of AI and RPA is that it forces companies to re-think business processes and how technology can be utilised to increase revenues and return on investment. Particularly around one of the biggest investments in your business – human capital. You can realign agents to focus on high value customers or queries that require more empathy and detail whilst offloading the daily mundane administrative duties to a Conversational AI. Enabling you to save cost and reinvest in training your agents to be more specialised to get more return from your investment.

Workforce optimisation

These disruptive technologies provide endless possibilities; redesigning CX and business processes.

Conversational AI solutions can learn content from your website and their customer conversations, so they can pre-empt needs. Relieve your agents and set up a self-serve option where customers can access answers to basic questions on your website. If the enquiry becomes too complex, then the digital agent hands the query over to a human agent.

Employees fears of being replaced

Digital transformation creates an intelligent blended workforce of humans and technology.

Employees must be reassured that with they will not be replaced with an AI and RPA solution, in fact it will complement them. Digital transformation is an opportunity for them to upgrade their skills and specialist areas. They will be able to focus on more valuable interactions as the AI solution frees them from mundane tasks. They will receive more job satisfaction from the new intelligent blended workforce. When rolling out AI and RPA, it’s crucial to ensure your culture is right first, otherwise your employees will reject it. Work on an open culture that empowers employees to share their opinions, digital transformation is a never ending process of continual improvement.

Mindset of a start-up

Digital transformation brings new everything – new technology, new ways of working, new business processes. Companies need to embrace the new culture and change existing ways of thinking, and adopt the same mindset of a start-up. By working with a Solution Provider they will reduce the risk through piloting any technology finding our what works and what doesn’t. They will also hold ‘discovery workshops’ to work closely with all of your teams conducting in-depth discussions on what technology they would like in place.

So, rather than ‘mission impossible’, it is very much ‘mission possible’; especially when you select the right partner.

Harald FanderlHarald FanderlMay 1, 2019


“What do my customers want?”

The savviest executives are asking this question more frequently than ever, and rightly so. Leading companies understand that they are in the Customer Experience business, and they understand that how an organisation delivers for customers is as important as what it delivers.

Armed with advanced analytics, Customer Experience leaders gain rapid insights to build customer loyalty, make employees happier, achieve revenue gains of five-to-10 percent, and reduce costs by 15-to-25 percent within two or three years. But it takes patience and guts to train an organisation to see the world through the customer’s eyes and to redesign functions to create value in a customer-centric way.

There are three key management tasks to undertake in order to achieve this shift: Observe, Shape, and Perform.

Observe: Understand the interaction through the customer’s eyes

Technology has handed customers unprecedented power to dictate the rules in purchasing goods and services. Three-quarters of them, research finds, expect ‘now’ service within five minutes of making contact online. A similar number want a simple experience, use comparison apps when they shop, and put as much trust in online reviews as in personal recommendations. Increasingly, customers expect from all players the same kind of immediacy, personalisation, and convenience that they receive from leading practitioners such as Google and Amazon.

Central to connecting better with customers is putting in place several building blocks of a comprehensive improvement in customer experience.

  • Identify and understand the customer’s journey
  • Quantify what matters to your customers
  • Define a clear customer-experience aspiration and common purpose

Customer journeys are the framework that allows a company to organise itself and mobilise employees to deliver value to customers consistently, in line with its purpose. The journey construct can help align employees around customer needs, despite functional boundaries.

Shape: Redesign the business from the customer back

Customer Experience leaders start with a differentiating purpose and focus on improving the most important customer journey first – whether it be opening a bank account, returning a pair of shoes, installing cable television, or even updating address and account information.

Then they improve the steps that make up that journey. To manage expectations, they design supporting processes with customer psychology in mind. They transform their digital profile to remove pain points in interactions, and to set in motion the culture of continuous innovation needed to make more fundamental organisational transformations.

Customer Experience leaders can become even better by digitising the processes behind the most important customer journeys. In these quick efforts, multidisciplinary teams jointly design, test, and iterate high-impact processes and journeys in the field, continually refining and rereleasing them after input from customers. Such methods help high-performing incumbents to release and scale major, customer-vetted process improvements in less than 20 weeks.

Perform: Align the organisation to deliver against tangible outcomes

As Customer Experience becomes a bigger focus of corporate strategy, more and more executives will face the decision to commit their organisations to a broad CX transformation. The immediate challenge will be how to structure the organisation and roll-out, as well as figuring out where and how to get started. Applying sophisticated measurement to what your customers are saying, empowering frontline employees to deliver against your customer vision, and a customer-centric governance structure form the foundation.

Securing early economic wins will deliver value and momentum for continuous innovation.

Delighting customers by mastering the concept and execution of an exceptionally good Customer Experience is a challenge. However, it is an essential requirement for leading in an environment where customers wield growing power, and crucially without it, you lose your ability to meet their needs. And as we all know, in today’s market dissatisfied customers quickly move elsewhere.

The author would like to thank Kevin Neher and Ewan Duncan for their contributions to this article.

Jo UpwardJo UpwardApril 29, 2019


The Delphi Study of Work 2050 can be seen as a sober read for those of us working in workplace culture.

As well as predicting an unemployment rate of around 24 percent of the world’s population by 2050 due to the convergence of technology, it talks about how we will be both virtual and metaverse-centric or living in a collective virtual world. 

There is no doubt that the impact of the next round of technology advances will be profound.  We are already going from ANI (Artificial Narrow Intelligence), where machines can learn a specific task, to AGI (Artificial General Intelligence), where they mimic humans, to bordering on the ASI (Artificial Super Intelligence), where machines’ abilities and functions become superior to that of humans. 

What this means for the workforce is that the nature of work has changed. Today we are multi-local and mobile. By 2050 we will live and work in a collective virtual world. No longer ‘jobs for life’ – there will be fewer permanent contracts, more patchwork careers, and a need to invest in long-term learning.

By 2030, digital assistants will guide us through our day, connected to our schedules, aware of our preferences, and with the ability and knowledge to book our favourite restaurants, plan routes, and arrange transportation for our travel.  Keyboards will be a thing of the past as interaction with devices will be via speech and gesture, and everything will be connected – by 2030, 20 percent of the world’s electricity is forecast to be used by the billions of connected devices.

We will of course be driven to work by our driverless car, which will be enabled by 5G, that it is predicted will have over two billion connections by 2030. And we will have less days off sick – a combined result of working on freelance contracts with no sick pay and the fact that our health will be monitored through our wearable devices.

So what does this mean for those of us working in workplace design and culture? How do we attract people to a workplace when we know the future is about designing for the tech rather than the talent?

We know that all businesses will need to be digital – to embrace digital transformation within their workforce. We also know that the human aspect is often what puts the heart into our businesses and gives us our point of differentiation from our competitors.  So, how do we design the space that brings digital transformation into our workplace yet is attractive to those who will work within it?

Flexibility in the workplace

Firstly, we need to create flexibility in the work environment to help teams work in a more agile way. Work will more organised around project not function and this can be challenging to accommodate in a fixed space. People need to be able to move from project to project and the technology and space needs to accommodate this seamlessly without causing delay or disturbance to those working agilely.

We all know that real estate is expensive and therefore the tendency is to cram people into the office space and ‘agility’ becomes another word for too many people in too little space. Digital teams, such as developers, also tend to be office-based rather than flexible workers, so the challenge is to create clever collaborative spaces where teams can get together on an hourly, daily, and weekly basis to discuss projects and progress, but also have space for concentrated activity.

The space needs to be attractive

To attract and retain good people you need to create attractive workplaces. We all have seen on YouTube, or at least heard about, Google’s offices complete with slide, putting green, and revolving bookcases, and although most of us don’t stretch to that level of innovation or budget, we do need to make our workforce proud of the space they work in.

The 360 degree work we live and work in means that we share far more of our lives on a day-to-day level. This includes our life in the office. Workspaces need to reflect the brand – so what you are externally saying to customers, internally lines up with your staff. This isn’t just graphics on the wall, but how the brand is lived and demonstrated within the workplace, including what food offerings are available, what rest and relaxation areas there are, how wellbeing is being addressed, and so on.

Ability to engage all

Ensuring that your frontline staff – for example those working in retail or those in the field – are delivering your brand and feel their workplace reflects them too is key. For example, getting feedback from these frontline staff in real-time or even delivering internal and external communication strategies in 3D and on their own mobile devices, can be a way to excite them about product launches, educate them about brand values, and make them feel that they know – and understand – what is going on within the company.

Culture comes from people, not brands, products, or robots. Every workforce needs a culture and therefore needs to place their people at the heart of workspace they are working in, whether this workspace is in the office, in the field, or virtual.

Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthApril 9, 2019


New research among British businesses examining employees’ attitudes toward digital transformation, innovation, and cutting-edge technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, reveals confusion about the true meaning of ‘digital transformation’ and a high degree of scepticism about their employers’ appetite for digital innovation.

The research, conducted by YouGov amongst employees at 500 businesses with 50 or more employees, on behalf of Cherwell Software, reveals that 57 percent of employees don’t know the correct meaning of ‘digital transformation’: 20 percent of respondents could not hazard a guess at its meaning, and 12 percent thought it meant moving to a paperless office.

This research focuses on the view from the workforce itself and its findings go a long way to explain why the 2018  Dell Digital Transformation Index placed the UK in 17th place in its adoption of digital transformation, lagging way behind emerging countries like India, Brazil, and Thailand.

In a further blow to the image of UK businesses, the survey highlights a reluctance to adopt cutting edge technology.  According to the survey, just nine percent of businesses are viewed by their workforce as being digital innovators, whilst 64 percent of employers only take on new technology after it has become widely available.

“It’s obvious that not enough time is being devoted to communicating with employees to develop their understanding and involvement in the process of digital transformation,” said Oliver Krebs, Vice President of EMEA sales for Cherwell.

“Unless business leaders bring their teams along with them on this journey British organisations are likely to fail and our ability to compete in the global market place will be severely compromised.”

Mixed reaction to Artificial Intelligence

Meanwhile, reactions to adoption of AI in the workplace were mixed: 34 percent of employees were confused (five percent), threatened (21 percent), or saddened ( eight percent); 20 percent were optimistic (16 percent) or excited (four percent); and 30 percent were intrigued – suggesting once again that leadership teams have not effectively communicated and engaged their team in the adoption of new technology.

Cross-departmental integration

Central to the success of most digital transformation projects is ensuring a consistent and integrated approach to the use of processes and data across all departments. Yet the survey reveals that just six percent of businesses’ data and processes are very well integrated across all departments, and 42 percent have not integrated inter-departmental data and processes well.

Andre Cuenin, Chief Revenue Officer at Cherwell said: “The research demonstrates that UK businesses still have a lot to learn in terms of planning and implementing digital transformation and their adoption of new technologies like artificial intelligence if they want to shed their image of digital innovation followers. The deep level of confusion and miscommunication amongst employees must be addressed by industry leaders.

“This may be due to the fact that digital transformation is frequently pigeon-holed as an IT issue, whereas in reality it should be seen as an initiative that involves everyone across the business, from the board, down to the most junior employee.”

Valur SvanssonValur SvanssonMarch 29, 2019


This article was co-authored by Josh Ayres, Head of Emerging Technology at IP Integration.


This week, 5,000 Contact Centre professionals descended on London for the Call and Contact Centre Expo – a two-day, annual event centred around Customer Experience management. 

Exhibitor stands and seminars were awash with talk of the sector’s coming of age as it embarks on a period of digitalisation, with emerging technologies placing the industry firmly on the cusp of the fourth industrial revolution.

Among the speakers was OmniTouch International’s Daniel Ord, who leads CXM’s Contact Centre Masterclass.

It is an exciting time for the Contact Centre. Technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Contact Analytics, and chatbots have opened up a world of possibilities and are changing the face of the Contact Centre – enabling brands to shorten processes, and free up agents to spend more time on delivering an exceptional Customer Experience.

How to smooth the path to digital transformation

The benefits of these emerging technologies are undeniable. Take the chatbot as an example: at a very basic level, it reduces pressure on the Call Centres, giving customers an additional outlet and instant access to information. From a financial perspective the benefits only continue, with research indicating that the use of chatbots will result in cost savings of over $8 billion by 2020, primarily in banking and healthcare. In fact, leading analyst house Gartner believes that by 2020, chatbots should take over 85 percent of customer service interactions.

However, before looking to implement any new tool, organisations must define their goals so that the path to digital transformation reflects their brand values and is also focused on what that organisation needs. Less attention should be given to the features that vendors are promoting.

The customer is king

As with any implementation, questions need to be asked. How will the technology fit into the Contact Centre? Which systems does the tool need to integrate with? How will it be rolled out to customers? How will employees use and embrace the automation tools?

There are no right or wrong answers here, and no one-size-fits-all approach; instead organisations must choose tools based on what provides the greatest value, while offering the simplest integration for the most manageable cost. The customer must also be a prime consideration here, and the impact of any technology on a customer’s journey with a brand must be assessed.

The adoption of technology, if done well, should only enhance this customer journey. After all, customers today expect so much more from their brands than ever before; expecting instant access to information, irrespective of the channel used, as and when they want it. Speeding up processes through automation, providing live chat functionality, and digital agents will only improve Customer Experience levels more.

Time to invest?

It goes without saying that the better the Customer Experience, the happier the customer. A happier customer means better review ratings, greater referrals, increased return business, and potentials for upselling. In the Contact Centre – the voice of a brand – this is more important than ever.

Digital transformation will not happen overnight – nor should it. Change should be considered and measured based upon an organisation’s requirements and what suits its customers and objectives best. What’s great is that with a host of amazing technology to pick from, the time has never been better to start a journey of transformation.

Peter TetlowPeter TetlowMarch 26, 2019


Digital transformation is the latest trend that every organisation, in every sector, wants a piece of.

In the customer management industry in particular, ‘digital innovation’, ‘digital transformation’ or ‘going digital’ are key phrases heard on almost a daily basis, with organisations keen to impress their customers by adopting the latest technology and ‘added extras’ to make their offering stand out from the crowd. Everyone wants it, although what ‘it’ is, is open to debate. Is it just a case of jumping on the latest bandwagon, or are organisations actually looking to provide a better service for their customers?

Should the industry even talk in these terms? Does ‘digital’ really exist?

A customer will never casually mention to their friend that they wish their bank or mobile phone provider was more digital, or that a really good piece of digital transformation is exactly what they’re looking for when it comes to renewing their annual contract. What they do say, however, is that they wish they didn’t need to contact their provider at all, or when they did, they were given the right answer quickly, or that the matter was resolved without the need for multiple levels of increasingly complex Interactive Voice Response (IVR) or various call transfers.

In an ideal world, a customer simply wants to be able to get the answer to their question in as few steps as possible, in a simple, easy to understand way. Really, they just want answers.

In the ‘real’ world, digitalisation isn’t the solution that will make an organisation stand out from the crowd or encourage repeat business or orders. Digitalisation won’t make a customer share their story about their relationship with the brand in question; only a great customer service will do that.

As an industry, the more we talk about ‘digital transformation’ or ‘going digital’, the more we fall into the age old trap of looking internally and letting our team structure dictate our thinking, rather than putting ourselves in our customers’ shoes and seeing things from their point of view. What will really make a difference to the customer and the experience they receive from an organisation? Which new or existing initiatives – digital or not – can actually positively contribute to the business’ strategy and future plans, driving growth and increasing revenue?

The fact is, using jargon the customer doesn’t care about usually means the organisation is providing a service the customer probably doesn’t care for.

That being said, the latest technology undoubtedly plays a critical role in improving the Customer Experience and numerous businesses have strong evidence of how it has positively contributed to their success. However, all improvements must start and end with the customer: understanding their experience, their individual journeys and touchpoints, and what they truly want from their interaction with the brand.

If the organisation bypasses the wants and needs of their customers in a rush to ‘go digital’, they run the risk of misunderstanding or worse, ignoring something really important to them, in favour of deploying the latest piece of technology to show competitors their digital credentials.

The industry’s thinking needs to change. Doesn’t a well thought through chatbot that enhances the CX fall into the bucket of ‘CX transformation’ rather than ‘digital transformation’? Again, the customer won’t be saying to their friends that they had a great Digital Experience; they will be saying simply they had a great experience – so isn’t that where the focus should be?

If the customer doesn’t use the ‘D word’, should we? Shouldn’t we focus on the customer and seek to enhance their experience, rather than trying to label the improvement with the latest trend?

Sukhi DehalSukhi DehalFebruary 27, 2019


Digital transformation – a term that often gets used without much thought or consideration to the true scale and effort required to truly digitise a legacy business, service, or product.

There are a few trends and areas of focus that any business should be aware of before starting on their digital transformation journey. Here are a few thoughts for consideration;

1. It’s going to be more difficult and probably take longer than you expect, and this is totally fine and normal

Digitally transforming a business requires a lot of scrutiny of existing processes and services, and during this process there should be no stones left unturned and no questions unanswered. You will always find new requirements and new challenges that will impact your desired timelines and scope. This is normal and can be managed effectively when it occurs through a process of constant internal communication, rescoping and planning where necessary.

2. Put your user at the heart of everything you plan to deliver  

The process of digital transformation should truly allow you to orientate your business around the people who ensure it exists your customers, your users, and your internal teams. Your CRM platforms and insight teams should give you the tools and understanding needed to allow you to get close to your users, and then create truly personalised, relevant, and enjoyable experiences for them.  

Digital transformation could be your first opportunity to make a huge positive shift in your user experience and engagement with your brand, so it’s vital to make sure this is right from the beginning. It’s also worth remembering that whilst digital transformation has a formal start, it will very rarely ever end. The digital world is constantly evolving and improving, and your business must do so too. Digital transformation really isn’t a one hit wonder and is something that’s constantly evolving and changing based on your user’s needs.

3. Don’t create products and struggle to cross your internal operational units 

This is a big one. A lot of businesses report a broken user experience or customer journey, and more often than not this is because operational business unit silos have bled through to the customer journey. For example, a user may have two logins for related services within the same brand, or they may have to wait a week for “another department” to finish off a support query.

Your goal should always be to deliver a seamless, coherent, and enjoyable experience across your product or services. Users don’t know or care about how your business works internally, so don’t make the mistake of forcing them to understand it whilst navigating your experience.

4. Don’t try and build everything yourself

Unless you’re the size of Amazon or Google, then there is no practical or real reason why you would want or need to build your own on-site cloud solutions. Off-site solutions will always, always allow you to create, test, and deploy at a scale and speed that matches your product growth and expansion.

There may be some internal stakeholders who truly want to completely own the end-to-end technology stack of your product or services, and this may ultimately be the end result. However, we believe you must avoid the temptation to try and take on too much development early on in the transformation process. Bringing development work in-house too soon will inject a huge amount of risk in your transformation programme. So find the right partners, tools, and processes that allow you to focus on your business, and let someone else worry about the technology.

5. Know where your expertise start and end, and when to bring in support  

For a lot of businesses, digital transformation in its very nature is a new concept and approach to doing business. More often than not the expertise required to successfully deliver digital transformation simply doesn’t exist in the business when plans are being created. Digital transformation requires a very specific skillset across Strategy, User Research, Design, Development, Project Management, DevOps, etc, etc. There are organisations and individuals out there that specialise in these skills who can, and will ensure your digital transformation is a resounding success.  

Whether your business has 30 or 3000 employees, it’s vital to remember that digital transformation isn’t a one-size-fits-all process, and there will always be challenges and nuances to the process that you may need support with.

So digital transformation – it’s difficult, it can be messy, and it can be massively challenging for any business. But get it right and you’ll have a business, value proposition, and experience that is truly in tune with your customer’s needs and expectations.

Inform. Inspire. Include.
A free way to improve your business.

Customer Experience Magazine is the online magazine packed full of industry news, blogs, features, reports, case studies, video bites and international stories all focusing on customer experience.



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