Journey manager : the next digital trendy job ?

Digital transformation brings many changes within organizations. There are things that need to be managed in a new way and things that used to be left unmanaged and need to be managed now. That’s why we saw the rise of new jobs like community managers, chief digital officers, chief data officers…

Every time these new jobs cause the same debate : is it perennial or just a fad ? This debate is useless in my opinion : if these jobs emerge that’s because they make sense and meet a need at a given moment. Of course, they can disappear as fast has they appeared. Either because it’s about a skills gone mainstream or because one the mission is accomplished the job has no more reason to stay. The fact some of these jobs are temporary does not mean they’re a fad but it’s the result of a fast changing world. 5 years is more than long-term.

Journey is key in a digital world

Experience is central in digital transformation and experience implies individualization, continuity and coherence. Three elements that belong to the idea of journey. That’s the reason why we see journey managers appearing in some companies. This trend is still a weak one but I don’t see why it wouldn’t become stronger over time.

Let’s consider the customer. Who “owns” the customer ? Sales ? Marketing ? Customer service ? Product management ? I’d also like to add HR since a lack a talent, engagement and culture always have an impact on the customer side. In fact everyone “owns” the customer since, no matter what forms it takes, the customer follows a path and goes from one to another.

Businesses manage the steps of the customer journey, not the journey

Each step of the journey can belong to someone. Some will have a continuous role to support the acting player at each step. But, from a customer perspective, is that he feels and even suffers the steps. New interlocutors, new processes, relationship to rebuilt from scratch without transmission of the history etc. What should be a fluid and linear journey appears to be a jump race field, even a series of jumps ! Businesses manage the steps of the customer journey, not the customer journey. And I don’t even mention the complementary relationship that should exist between digital and physical, which is often missing, each side being managed in its own silo.

Hence the need for a journey manager in charge of the coherence, continuity and individualization of the journey, prioritising the global optimum over a series of local maximus that are coherence killers and would force internal teams to collaborate more. The challenge is to center on the customer and not anything else.

The journey must be thought and managed in its entirety to be personalizable, adaptable, flexible. From this perspective, my former question about “who owns the customer” is quite irrelevant. No one owns the customer anymore, neither do the enterprise nor the brand : the customer has set himself free for a while and only belongs to himself. He does not follow the funnel one would like to force him to follow but the one he creates himself. Without journey managers, it’s difficult to manage the internal coherence of a customized journey.

Employee’s life is about finding their way in application silos

What is true on the customer side is also true on the employee side.

I’ve already said how much employee experience matters. Taking one minute to think about the digital workplace experience shows how bad and critical employee experience is. The digital work environment is managed as bricks based on the mission of the king of application while employees life in their work tools is transverse. A journey manager of the digital workplace would have a lot of work to do. Apply the same to processes (business or support..)…there’s really a lot to do.

But employee experience is wider than digital. On this side, and even if things are far from being perfect, there are things to rely on. Career management has been around for a while, as well as workforce planning even if most of time it’s rather an intricate project that does not contribute in a visible way to employee experience over time.

As a matter of fact the concept of journey applies to both short and very long term.

So many journeys to manage

Should it be about the customer or the employee, are are many journeys to manage. These journeys are keys to experience coherence, continuity and individualization. Is it enough to ensure the continued experience of journey managers ? We’ll see. We can also wonder what a journey manager is worth without a journey designer because even if the concept of journey exists, it’s often too poorly mastered and modeled to be managed.




Image credit : Journey by Rawpixel via Shuttertock

Head of Employee and Client Experience @Emakina / Former consulting director / Crossroads of people, business and technology / Speaker / Compulsive traveler
Head of Employee and Client Experience @Emakina / Former consulting director / Crossroads of people, business and technology / Speaker / Compulsive traveler

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