Welcome to the Partner Corner blog, your place to engage on interesting topics regarding innovative technologies for the Sugar platform. This guest post is written by Itai Galmor from Magic Software, a Gold sponsor of this year's SugarCon. I encourage you to join the conversation and share your thoughts by commenting on this post. Enjoy! --Mark Weitzel
Customer Experience (CX) has gone mainstream. All across the globe everyone from C-level executives to computer programmers are talking about enhancing the customer experience. Businesses of all sizes from start-ups to global enterprises are seeking to understand and improve the ways customers interact with brands and receive products and services.
To understand customer experience, a great deal of attention has been focused on Customer Journey Mapping. Marketers and advertisers like to talk about the customer journey and how they can reach decision-makers at the right point of the customer journey as customers pass through various phases. These phases are often described as:
- Determining the Business Need
- Determining the Specific Requirements
- Evaluating Products and Services
- Recommending and Selecting Vendors
- Building Internal Consensus, and
- Approving and Authorizing Purchases
However, those capturing customer stories soon learn that very few customers actually follow precisely the same path. In fact, in many enterprises, customer experiences vary widely depending upon the specific product being consumed, the business type and industry of the customer, and untold hundreds of other variables that constitute rather serpentine and unpredictable routes.
While journey maps can describe what the experience is, they don’t do a great deal to help us improve upon that experience. Many business analysts, whether in line-of-business roles or within the IT department, now realize that they need infrastructure and systems that can enable positive customer experiences across these varied journeys. Thus they are beginning to put emphasis on a customer experience architecture that can successfully support customer experience regardless of the particular journey that the customer is on. For example, even companies that famously create predictable and repeatable customer experiences in the retail industry have to take a completely different approach when selling online or via distribution channels. Even Sugar is best understood as providing customer architecture rather than enforcing a singular customer journey.
Last February, Denise Lee Yohn wrote in Harvard Business Review (HBR) that “A more thorough approach to designing and managing customer experience is to use a customer experience architecture.” Then in April 2015, Forrester Research suggested that “Currently, CX enterprise architects don't have a framework, reference architecture, or competency to translate the intent of CX strategies into actionable CX execution.”
The challenge is not only to provide smooth business processes through practices such as CRM to ERP Integration, but also to more fully automate business processes that span various customer-facing systems. At Magic, this is our goal. Our Magic xpi Integration Platform allows Sugar architects to support improved CX when processes spill over into ERP, eCommerce, POS, logistics, supply chain and other systems. At Magic, we are proud to be a part of the customer architecture that is enhancing customer experiences in a way that fully engages enterprise systems in support of fully integrated customer experiences.