Embracing an all-digital strategy and driving digital growth have dramatically transformed the measurement of business success over the past decade. The way organizations hire new people and the budget they set aside for their technology expenses are some of the areas that have seen the most change.
This not only affected native digital industries like media, but introduced changes across industries, putting increasing pressure on companies to manage and expand their digital presence.
The most common challenge businesses face when restructuring or undergoing a digital transformation is investing in the technology they have chosen. Often times, they are offered out-of-the-box solutions that promise rapid success by delivering omnichannel customer experiences based on AI (artificial intelligence) and ML (machine learning). Most businesses do this without understanding the full scope of AI or ML.
The pressure for rapid growth imposes a dangerous trade-off
When organizations restructure and embrace a new digital culture, the transition is more than just a technological transition. But most invest money in new technology without considering their team’s preparation for this change.
The rush to gain fully digital experience can often delay businesses more than ever before. Equipped with a new ‘advanced’ digital platform that marketing staff can’t use and in-house engineers can’t rely on, they turn to a patchwork solution that costs more and delivers inferior results to the average.
The best advice for those who have not yet committed is to slow down and assess the set of needs and requirements – of everyone in the company – the shift to digital requirements. This will not only allow internal teams to acclimate to the cultural transition and create a solid foundation for transformation, but will prevent compromises that could end up costing you more in the end.
Things to consider when looking for a new digital experience platform (DXP)
Concretely, we recommend commit between 6 and 12 months to evaluate the cultural transition and the adoption of any new technology. This is the average time it takes for our customer service team at Human Made to thoroughly assess customer needs and work with them to understand why they need to invest in new technology.
This recommended time is only a guideline, but there are a number of other things to keep in mind when considering a new technology.
Long-term cost of ownership
Creating a digital experience platform is only the first step in the transition. Organizations need to realistically consider the investment required after launch; not only in time, but also in cost.
Maintainability of their new solution
The flexibility of a new solution is a critical measure of its future success: the better a platform can scale and scale with the business, the better the return on investment.
The pace and style of work must match the technology partners
Building a digital experience platform requires more than just a technology provider: organizations need a partner to support them throughout the process. This deeper relationship requires a better alignment between values, methodology and processes.
Open source vs owner
Both open source and proprietary DXPs offer different benefits: Understanding which model is best for your organization will help you narrow down potential solutions and focus on those that best meet your needs.
Some technology partners provide full implementation and ongoing support, otherwise will rely on your internal technical team to develop and maintain the platform: understanding the full capacity of your technical team will put you in a better position to make a decision. on what kind of support you will need.
Too often organizations assume that new technologies will immediately solve all of their challenges and create instant results and growth. While a DXP can lead to huge improvements by consolidating technologies and providing a foundation for digital success, it cannot be seen as a plug-and-play solution: it is up to internal teams to use it. effectively in order to achieve results.
Reduce technology to evolve the digital presence
Investing in new technologies is crucial to maintain digital agility: but it doesn’t always guarantee a superior experience for internal users. The best way to adopt new solutions is to do so with education, ensuring that everyone internally has the opportunity to successfully integrate and are empowered to use the new tool. Failure to do so can quickly take a toll, leaving internal teams frustrated and unable to use the new platform, and digital leaders with a costly bill.
Working with your technology partner is the best way to ensure that you are building a platform that you need and that you can get the most out of once the project is launched.
How technology partners can support strategy and advise on scale and growth
Support internal changes
Technology partners must be able to deliver a solution that can support internal changes. As a technology partner, it’s important to remember that decision-makers are usually grappling with a platform they didn’t choose, but was left to them by their predecessor. Successful technology partners understand this and work with customers to ensure their solution has the long-term support needed to continue delivering business value.
Understanding the client’s business
A technology partner must understand all aspects of their customers’ business: everything from technical specifications and security requirements to trade approvals and industry regulations and standards. Most importantly, technology partners should have a clear view of all the technologies used in the departments. Most new company-level releases start from a department and then roll out across the company. The new technology must be able to replace or integrate seamlessly with all previous patchwork solutions.
Inspiring confidence in their customers
Customers are looking for technology partners who are invested in their business. The technology often speaks for itself, but having a partner who can implement and execute a growth strategy with you is essential. Trust should be the first requirement, with technology second.
Open source platforms open the doors to a growth ecosystem
The pressure to deliver and scale quickly cannot be completely ignored. While it is advisable to avoid short-termism, companies must drive change in order to stay current. Open source platforms are defined by some of the requirements that can help you stay agile in the face of increasing change.
Historically, open source has had a bad reputation in the corporate space, but since tech giants like Microsoft and TechCrunch embraced open source solutions, many have since embraced the benefits and followed suit. Open source software benefits from continuous improvement by anyone in the world, encouraging multiple and diverse approaches and perspectives to common problems and stimulating rapid and incremental innovation in the industry.
It’s not just Microsoft and TechCrunch that have embraced WordPress, the latest statistics show that 34% of the entire internet runs on WordPress. WordPress alone powers 14.7% of the top 100 websites in the world. Brands like Sony, Xerox, UPS, The Walt Disney Company, Target and many more trust this open source technology as the foundation of their digital experience.
While the software itself is often quite impressive on its own, one of the main advantages of open source technologies like WordPress is their extensive growth ecosystem. Ecosystems are essential for making improvements and extensions to an already strong base; enabling organizations to add and experiment with new capabilities and stay in step with digital innovation. The advantage is clear: remain agile and flexible in the face of increasing and multidirectional change.
Open source can support a step-by-step digital transformation: moving you from a content management system (CMS) to a digital experience platform (DXP) with some of the most advanced technologies available. today like Experience blocks.
Three things to remember
Finding the right digital experience platform and the right technology partner doesn’t have to be rushed. Consider taking up to a year to figure out your long-term growth plan, and remember that a DXP shouldn’t be seen as the complete solution – it should provide a way to fix problems.
Take your technology to the next level by finding a technology partner you trust. Focus on finding a partner who understands the general needs of your business and is willing to invest in education and long-term support.
Root your DXP in an open source foundation, like WordPress. Open source brings flexibility, scalability and an ecosystem of partners that ensure your DXP has the latest features on the market.
Ana Silva is Marketing Manager at Human Made and Nevena Tomovic is Business Development Manager at Human Made.