The experience economy, cornerstone of the digital economy

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Digital transformation is nothing more than a specific culture and philosophy applied to the design of new experiences

The world is changing so fast that people don’t know which economy to turn to. Knowledge economy, attention economy, experience economy…we don’t lack concepts and words to name today’s reality and, unlike technology buzzwords (2.0, 3.0, social) I don’t think it’s a ruse aiming at dressing an old thing with new clothes. These are different ways to see a single reality, that melt and overlap, each of us using the one he feels comfortable with, depending on his interests and concerns.

If the chaotic nature of the web has its downsides, it also have its advantages. It allows anyone to  find things that are closely related to his area of focus by serendipity and, over time, one understands how his favorite matter relates to a field he had not idea about.

Let’s keep in mind that, to be able to drive change, if the root causes are not in one’s field of expertise one must try not to become and expert but be able to talk with the people in charge of the field. If not, change will be about local maximization not not global optimization, an elegant way to say that change in driven in silos, in a messy way, giving a cure worse than the disease because no one addresses the root cause.

That’s why, even if I already mentioned the word in a couple of posts, I’ve decided to write a series of post on the importance of experience in the digital transformation.

Why ?

• There is no doubt that, today, marketing and customer relationship are the one pulling the digital transformation. But, as said in a recent Altimeter report I wrote about in a former post, the marketing side of digital transformation is customer experience. As Mercedes USA’s CEO said : customer experience is the brand.

• There won’t be any customer experience without employee experience. To quote Mercedes’ CEO once again : “customer experience follows employee experience“. That’s pretty close to a concept I’ve already mentioned a lot on this blog : symmetry of attentions. The quality of the relationship between a business and is clients equals the quality of the relationship between the business and its employees [link in french]. If we dig further, we can see that the components of the employee/employer relationship are numerous and are not not only about relationships. They can be operational, transactional…I’ll discuss this later.

• Experience is the confluence point of many matters so it helps to unify approaches, to bring coherence. Customer experience, employee experience, obviously, but there’s much more. For the many people who know that data will be the fuel of their company but still don’t know where to start, it’s important to think about the importance of data in context understanding. Understanding what the customer/employee need at a given moment to adapt their environment (digital and even physical) accordingly. Workplace, e-commerce site, agent or manager’s behaviors.

• The co-existence and even competition between digital en physical is a big issue for the businesses that use both channels and a matter of life and death for those that are physical only. Experience is the paradigm that will help to align both and design useful synergies to exit futile opposition logics.

• Businesses that are successful today and even more tomorrow are not the ones that excel in “soft” or “hard” but those who think both jointly. It’s true for Apple, but also for any retail business, bank… Soft and hard in the broad sense : software, physical, digital, objects, services…

•Even if it seems to be qualitative only at first sight, experience has quantitative impacts. As we’ll see later, experience is about margins and productivity.

• We are in a world where technology is not differentiating. Social and digital technologies are becoming commonplaces, commodities and, compared to other kinds of technologies, are very affordable. Technology is not the barrier to entry. Similarly, even in the Big Data field, a large part of the framework can be open source (Hadoop) even if it will be complemented by solutions from vendors like IBM, SAS, SAP. What’s left to differentiate oneself ? The way it’s put at work, the experience the customer or the employee draw from it. The ability to make the power of technology service the customer or the employee is not enough anymore, what matters is the way they experience its impact.

Enough said, I’ll go further into details in the next weeks.

Meanwhile, as I read there

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