Ten Steps to Plan a Next-Generation Customer Engagement Hub

May 10, 2016

Contributor: Laurence Goasduff

Large organizations must re-evaluate their CRM applications and plan a customer engagement hub.

The customer engagement hub (CEH) is held back in terms of adoption because it is not a packaged item of software that can simply be acquired, but rather a system of systems from multiple vendors that IT leaders have to integrate.

“ For an end-to-end customer experience across channels and departments, IT leaders must build a CEH.”

“Nevertheless, to offer an end-to-end customer experience across channels and departments, IT leadersmust build a CEH,” said Olive Huang, research director at Gartner. “Only a CEH can connect employees across departments, employees with customers, and customers with their peers, while also managing and optimizing personalized customer interaction.”

Gartner has developed a 10-step approach to help IT leaders plan their next-generation CEH. 10 steps to plan Customer Engagement Hub

No. 1: Discover Improvement in Customer Journeys

It is of paramount importance that IT leaders focus on the customer journeys that result in the most customer engagement interactions. To do this, they need to map customer journey steps and touchpoints to the communication channels.

No. 2: Define Business and IT Imperatives

Translate the identified issues and opportunities into business and technology imperatives. It is likely that the opportunities will enable departments within organizations to "act as one," so that, for example, personalized content is delivered to the right channels, according to customers' preferences and contexts.

No. 3: Secure a Project Owner and Budget

Two of the key challenges organizations face are that no one "owns" the CEH, and that those who will benefit from it may not have the budget or power to make decisions. As a result, IT leaders need to establish operational ownership and budgets for the CEH project.

No. 4: Build Departmental Collaboration

IAs CEH projects emphasize cross-departmental discipline, IT leaders must investigate processes and tools to enable direct connections between people across the organization, and to enable them to complete tasks more quickly.

No. 5: Take Stock of "As Is" CEH Components

It is important to have an overview of the types of technologies the organization already uses to interact with customers, the people using them, and the people supporting each function or customer touchpoint. A CEH will tie together operational CRM systems, communication infrastructure, business rules, relevant information and analytics.

No. 6: Identify Technological Convergence

A CEH needs to be "fit for purpose". Its design principle should reflect the key improvements and business results that the organization wishes to make to determine the business and IT imperatives.

No. 7: Develop Integration Strategy

Organizations must reshape their integration strategy for a bimodal and self-service delivery model. Gartner refers to the desired strategy as a "pervasive integration" strategy, which will help an organization meet the growing number of integration requirements: application-to-application, B2B, cloud service, mobile app and, increasingly, Internet of Things.

No. 8: Establish a Two-Tiered Approach

Planning a CEH requires the development of a two-tier approach: one for the duration of the implementation stage and one for ongoing operations. For the implementation stage, IT leaders will need to identify and prioritize issues and opportunities in the CEH landscape that require bigger investments among others. For the operational approach, IT leaders will need, for example, to build in-house competence in customer journey mapping, and establish reporting, escalation and organizational collaboration mechanisms for a central view of improvements.

No. 9: Plan for the Change

Gartner uses the term "big change" in view of the big efforts that could alter business operations as a result of significant levels of novelty, volatility, disruption and scope. IT leaders should identify the risks and opportunities that may arise from these four factors of big change and determine the effects they may have on change management efforts.

No. 10: Design the Measurement of Business Impact

Ensure that key performance indicators and metrics are part of the CEH design. The key metrics to reflect the business impact need to be monitored, reviewed and sometimes adjusted as part of the operational quality parameters.

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