May 19, 2020

Why CIOs and CMOs should collaborate to deliver digital customer experiences

Riverbed Technology
Rich Hillebrecht
Chief Information Officer
Riverbed Technology
Rich Hillebrecht, CIO, Riverbe...
3 min
Why CIOs and CMOs should collaborate to deliver digital customer experiences

The engine of the global economy is increasingly transitioning towards digital services. Businesses are shifting focus from mass-manufactured, mass-marketed products to an immersive market of custom services and digital experiences.

The new service economy is dominated by digital services that are made-to-order for customers, where the quality of the experience – including intuitive ease, convenience, and richness of choice – is a key differentiator. Understanding customers is at the centre of the “digital transformation.” CIOs and CMOs must work together to orchestrate digital experiences that engage each customer with a rich array of choices that can make their lives easier or better.

The role of customer experience within digital transformation

When it comes to customer experience, it’s not just about understanding its importance for the business, but about comprehending how the experience itself is evolving and what a successful service relationship looks like from the customers’ point of view.

With more and more people choosing to purchase products and services via smartphones, tablets, PCs, laptops and even wearable devices, customers within the commercial and consumer space have more choices and means of opting in or out of a product or service offering than ever before. Before reaching out to a company, consumers typically do most of their initial research on their own.

As a result, marketing needs to reach out to consumers across all devices to create a seamless digital experience. Whilst progress is being made, Forrester still estimates 46 percent of marketing leaders and 51 percent of technology management leaders have a single view of the customer across all touchpoints.

That being said, more organisations are adopting a digital first strategy, recognising they need to reach the customer across their digital journey. By embracing technology across the business, companies like Starbucks, Proctor & Gamble, Airbnb and Uber offer customers more options and greater convenience at lower costs.

It’s not just about marketing

As businesses continue to go digital, the entire organisation must have a digital mind-set. In particular, CMOs and CIOs must work together on digital initiatives. Digital technologies have reinvigorated the CMO’s role as a driver of growth. Big data, social media, and the cloud have drastically changed the consumer landscape as marketing technology is becoming increasingly popular.

With IT organisations having much deeper experience in digital technologies, a tight alliance between CMOs and CIOs is a must. There is a strong need to seamlessly link digital marketing efforts to the enterprise systems that enable customer relationship management in order to deliver great customer experiences and drive measurable results for the business. 

Working together to improve customer focus

Marketing may work the magic behind the success of digital services, but that magic itself depends on the support of the right technologies. However, aligning the needs and expectations of the business and IT’s ability to deliver is easier said than done.

The Riverbed Global Application Performance Survey 2015 revealed while 98 percent of executives believe that enterprise application performance is critical to achieving optimal business performance, 89 percent say poor performance of enterprise applications negatively impacts their productivity on a regular basis.

All teams must now become more tech-savvy. New technologies are making it easier to bridge the gap between the business the IT and specifically between CIOs and CMOs. New tools allow detailed analytics to be run, and subsequently acted upon. It provides the C-suite with vital information which steers business decisions.

By coming together to make technology- based marketing magic, CIOs and CMOs can consolidate ideas and learn more about their consumer base. The targeted approach this creates is key to ultimately fulfilling the potential of digital transformation.

By Rich Hillebrecht, Chief Information Officer, Riverbed Technology

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Jun 16, 2021

SAS: Improving the British Army’s decision making with data

British Army
3 min
Roderick Crawford, VP and Country GM, explains the important role that SAS is playing in the British Army’s digital transformation

SAS’ long-standing relationship with the British Army is built on mutual respect and grounded by a reciprocal understanding of each others’ capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses. Roderick Crawford, VP and Country GM for SAS UKI, states that the company’s thorough grasp of the defence sector makes it an ideal partner for the Army as it undergoes its own digital transformation. 

“Major General Jon Cole told us that he wanted to enable better, faster decision-making in order to improve operational efficiency,” he explains. Therefore, SAS’ task was to help the British Army realise the “significant potential” of data through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to automate tasks and conduct complex analysis.

In 2020, the Army invested in the SAS ‘Viya platform’ as an overture to embarking on its new digital roadmap. The goal was to deliver a new way of working that enabled agility, flexibility, faster deployment, and reduced risk and cost: “SAS put a commercial framework in place to free the Army of limits in terms of their access to our tech capabilities.”

Doing so was important not just in terms of facilitating faster innovation but also, in Crawford’s words, to “connect the unconnected.” This means structuring data in a simultaneously secure and accessible manner for all skill levels, from analysts to data engineers and military commanders. The result is that analytics and decision-making that drives innovation and increases collaboration.

Crawford also highlights the importance of the SAS platform’s open nature, “General Cole was very clear that the Army wanted a way to work with other data and analytics tools such as Python. We allow them to do that, but with improved governance and faster delivery capabilities.”

SAS realises that collaboration is at the heart of a strong partnership and has been closely developing a long-term roadmap with the Army. “Although we're separate organisations, we come together to work effectively as one,” says Crawford. “Companies usually find it very easy to partner with SAS because we're a very open, honest, and people-based business by nature.”

With digital technology itself changing with great regularity, it’s safe to imagine that SAS’ own relationship with the Army will become even closer and more diverse. As SAS assists it in enhancing its operational readiness and providing its commanders with a secure view of key data points, Crawford is certain that the company will have a continually valuable role to play.

“As warfare moves into what we might call ‘the grey-zone’, the need to understand, decide, and act on complex information streams and diverse sources has never been more important. AI, computer vision and natural language processing are technologies that we hope to exploit over the next three to five years in conjunction with the Army.”

Fundamentally, data analytics is a tool for gaining valuable insights and expediting the delivery of outcomes. The goal of the two parties’ partnership, concludes Crawford, will be to reach the point where both access to data and decision-making can be performed qualitatively and in real-time.

“SAS is absolutely delighted to have this relationship with the British Army, and across the MOD. It’s a great privilege to be part of the armed forces covenant.”


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