Forrester analyst Mark Grannan is a key industry expert to follow if you’re interested in understanding the evolving world of digital experience (DX). 

As part of his role as an analyst serving application development and delivery (AD&D) professionals, he offers clients research on responsive web design, digital performance and content delivery networks, self-service scenarios and portal technologies, and the architectural evolution of digital experience platforms.

You can follow Grannan's blog to get analysis on topics like understanding the vendor landscape and the rise of the headless content management system. His perspective involves considerable research and time spent discussing trends with noted individuals in the field. 

Before becoming an analyst, he was a researcher on Forrester's AD&D team and a senior research associate with its sourcing and vendor management group. Earlier in his career, he served in marketing and operational roles at Tappé Associates, an architecture and planning firm, and MDT Advisers, a quantitative investment management firm.

You can hear more of Grannan’s thoughts on digital experience at CMSWire's second annual DX Summit this Nov. 14 through 16 at the Radisson Blu Aqua hotel in Chicago.

DX Elements: 'Effective, Easy, Economical'

Walter: What message do you plan to deliver at the DX Summit?

Grannan: DX is not a point solution, and it's certainly not a one-size-fits all approach. I want to showcase how DX leaders in both business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) organizations can start to think about DX architectural strategy that meets their business needs and will move them up the digital transformation maturity curve.

Walter: What are the primary elements of good digital experience?

Grannan: From a customer's standpoint, it must meet their needs (effectiveness), be easy to use (ease) and feel good (emotion). From the organization's standpoint, it should be those three things, as well as flexible, fast (to-market) and cost-effective.

Walter: What makes responsive web design (RWD) so important?

Grannan: Responsive is important because it's the foundational design/development philosophy behind designing any digital experience today. We must break free from our assumptions that customers and partners will only use a certain device or want to engage with our brand in a specific way, and instead recognize that every experience should be available on every device. On top of RWD, we advocate for adaptive and native web design techniques to tailor the experience (and design/ development) to a customer's specific mobile moment of need. We call this Responsive+.

Walter: How does one make sense of all the data available to marketers?

Grannan: A better question might be "How should marketers think about data?" The answer is that is that data is the key to making the marketing messages they design and deliver more relevant. The challenge becomes selecting the data sets, deciding how much data to vet your algorithms, knowing when to use data in-motion versus data at-rest. For that, we see the rise of new solutions and services focused solely on solving for aggregating customer data and leveraging analytics to optimize customer experience. In testament, customer analytics was the number one technology investment priority in our recent DX panel survey of Forrester clients.

Walter: Forrester lays out a "customer obsessed" blueprint. What does it mean to be customer obsessed?

Grannan: This is an entire research stream and hard to summarize in a sentence. To borrow from just one of my colleagues' reports: "Is your organization aligned behind a shared understanding of the types of experiences your customers expect? Do key staff understand their roles in delivering those experiences? If you're like most firms, the answer is unfortunately 'No.' That's a problem, because business success is no longer possible without an ingrained culture of customer obsession." 

Walter: What do you do to recharge?

Grannan: I'm slowly working on some renovations around the house. For example, I tore out a few sections of chimney to open up a bedroom. A dirty job, but a rewarding one.