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It’s that time of year when everyone is looking back to see how they've done and looking forward to see how much more they can do. And according to Framingham, Mass.-based IDC (International Data Corporation), social technologies can be a major driver of organizational transformation in 2015.

Speakers Michael Fauscette, Group Vice President of Software Business Solutions and Vanessa Thompson, Research Director of Enterprise Social Networks & Collaborative Technologies presented IDC’s bubble chart to illustrate the 10 decision imperatives covered in the webinar.

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Fauscette and Thompson tag-teamed each other through a jam-packed presentation, highlighting the IT impact on each imperative and their recommendations -- or guidance -- for how to best work with them .

Some of the statistics from the presentation predict:

  1. Online communities increasing by $200 million in 2015, a 30 percent increase over 2014.
  2. Organizations increasing internal product and service innovation efforts by 15 percent over the next 18 months.
  3. Integration, consolidation and rationalization making up an average of 35 percent of total marketing technology budgets by 2015.
  4. CMOs holding 10 percent of the overall technology budget by the end of 2015.

Partner Outreach and Customer Experience

By 2017, partner organizations will have consolidated 30 percent of their online interaction interfaces to provide a more proactive and individualized offering.”

The expectation is that these partner organizations will seek out participation in the customer/employee business network organically, creating a community through the availability of multiple, always-connected touch-points. Collecting social and transactional data through various static web presences, partner portals, marketplaces and commerce components can then be used to create behavioral models to help individualize the customer experience for partners.

Fauscette said: “Moving personalization to individualization is really important. It offers great benefit. It offers a lot of business value as well.”

According to Fauscette and Thompson’s predictions, “… only one in 10 organizations will have structured and goal oriented customer experience strategies in place.” The recommendations for CX strategies center on an organization-wide approach in which IT, sales, marketing, service, etc. all work together in a holistic way. In line with this, Fauscette stated: “The entire company has to come to bear when you think of the whole customer experience approach.”

Not all of this future looks rosy, however: “Due to negative customer feedback and bad press, at least one major ISV will change its policy around tracking of consumer transaction and mobile user activity in 2015.”

IDC suggests that too many tracking apps might cast a “Big Brother” shadow. With regulatory movements already in the works in the EU and examples of misuse of customer data in the US, there is a suggestion that the Federal government could step in to regulate data brokers.

IDC’s recommendation would be to have: “key management for content and data related to customers for cloud based storage sources.”

Employee Experience and Company Wellness

IDC forecasts that 20 percent of companies will “measure employee experience as a direct impact on customer experience.” Thompson related an example of a theater chain that focused on its employees to identify what skill areas were their strengths so as to utilize those skills more efficiently in the customer service arena.

Additionally, IDC expects a move toward company sponsored wellness programs and the use of wearable technology to encourage camaraderie between employees, citing the successful model of an HR department that set up group challenges with weekly check-ins to encourage team-building and use of the company fitness center.

Homework for 2015

Out of IDC’s top 10 imperatives, Fauscette narrowed them down to five core components of transformation:

  • Customer experience
  • Commerce
  • Work force
  • Innovation
  • Partner relationships

And Thompson summed up IDC’s recommendations from the presentation:

  • Communities facilitate ongoing customer and partner conversation.
  • Good employee experience drives good customer experience.
  • Contextual data from mobile devices will hold greater influence.
  • Agile business models can transform innovation.

Title image by MTSOfan (Flickr) via a CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license