You’ve implemented a new customer technology platform – how do you get the most from it?


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Interview with Samit Chandra by Blackdot

With enterprises often seduced by the lure of what new innovative technology platforms can offer, the question for most post-implementation is how to make the most of them. We interviewed Blackdot’s Head of Technology Advisory, Samit Chandra, to learn how enterprises can get maximum value out of their CRM platforms – and quickly.

An experienced technology strategy leader, Samit has spent a lot of time both in industry and as a consultant helping organisations with this very issue, whether by helping them to invest wisely in new platforms, or to optimise their existing technology.
 
In your time consulting to enterprises aiming to improve their customer experience via new customer-facing technology, where do enterprises tend to trip up when trying to get the most out of their investment?

I think they usually focus a lot on what the technology can bring to them and go ‘technology-driven bottom up’ – instead of starting with ‘what do we actually want to achieve from this platform?’ and then coming top down. The key to getting the most out of your customer technology is implementing it to align with your customer journey, rather than for the sheer sake of technology implementation.
 
Can you tell us about one of the worst cases you’ve seen where a company has invested in new technology and not realised the benefit they expected?

Honestly, there are a lot of examples I could share! I did a survey 18 months ago that validated that 65% of all technology transformations fail to achieve their strategic objectives, for a number of different reasons. One case that springs to mind was when Blackdot was consulting to an organisation that had already spent three years and about $15m on the planning phase of a technology implementation and hadn’t yet made any substantial progress in even implementing a platform. The problem they were trying to solve was to provide a seamless experience across digital and face-to-face channels, because digital was outperforming their traditional ones, and they needed to catch up. The team was burnt out, they lacked vision for what they wanted to get out of the technology, and the platform was getting a bad name internally.
 
So what was the approach to solving this?

The real difference is that instead going ‘technology-driven bottom up’ as I said earlier, we took the view of ‘what are the moments that really matter to the customer?’ and designed our approach coming down from there. The first thing we did when we went in was move the ownership of both the project and the CRM as a whole from the Head of Call Centre to the Head of Digital. We talk a lot at Blackdot about how the business needs to own the technology decisions rather than leaving it to IT to run the transformation as a separate ‘tech project’. There needs to be a single business owner accountable for the success or failure of the project.
 
We also identified industry best practice capability and processes – which are mostly built into these new platforms – and then configured for the little nuances that are unique to each company, to deliver value quickly and efficiently. While it’s an ongoing journey for them, they instantly started reaping benefits, and the great thing is that there was buy-in across the frontline and the wider business.

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