“analog & digital” by lukaslacht
If you know your organization's digital maturity, you can craft the right infrastructure and produce better content and experiences. PHOTO: luka slacht

Approach your digital experience platform infrastructure and delivery mechanisms much the same way you shop for clothes: Know your size.

Forrester Research determines the size of an organization's digital savvy in its Digital Maturity Model (fee required), which allows you to plot your organizational maturity, offers comparative benchmarks and helps guide your actions to elevate your digital capabilities. 

A careful assessment of your organization's digital maturity enables you to craft the right infrastructure and produce engaging content and relevant experiences, Forrester analyst Mark Grannan said.

4 Stages of DX Maturity

“We’ve got some blinders on when it comes to digital experience (DX),” Grannan said during a recent CMSWire webinar, "The Future of Digital Experience Platforms." 
Bloomreach, the company that acquired Hippo CMS late last year, sponsored the webinar.

Organizations must extract all the complex capabilities locked inside packaged and custom applications and turn them into services that can be orchestrated across any campaign across the customer lifecycle, according to Grannan. This process allows you to gain agility and keep up with demanding customer expectations. 

Forrester sees four categories of digital experience maturity:

  • Skeptics: those just starting to understand the basics of digital but haven’t made a whole lot of investment. They still contend with organizational and infrastructure silos
  • Adopters: Those starting to move toward digital experience execution and delivery and have yielded some business value
  • Collaborators: Those who are actually changing, adapting and breaking down many silos
  • Differentiators: Those who are way out in front and are blazing the path of what it means to be a digital business that is customer obsessed

Based on 2015 data published in 2016 by Forrester, the maturity curve is fairly even, with the bulk as adopters and collaborators.

Break Down Silos

One of the big challenges is breaking down silos.

Organizations should capitalize on synergies between digital customer experience and digital operational excellence. Data and insights from customer experience fuels operational excellence, Grannan said, allowing organizations opportunities to make refinements and automate processes.

“It gives you the ability to find new sources of value in digital products and services,” he said.

Web CMS Is Broken

Web content management systems are key drivers for digital experience success, a point Grannan noted in a report he authored, Forrester Wave for Web Content Management (fee charged), published late last month. Claiming web CMS is broken and in the process of being remade, he found four relevant takeaways:

Content Lifecycles Are Broken

If you’re tagging, you aren’t doing it consistently. If you’re tracking, you’re not doing it at the right pace. If you’re analyzing data, chances are it’s only a blurry engagement metric that isn’t tied to content. If you’re optimizing it’s only doing the basics and not getting much reuse out of the testing.

Sound familiar? Artificial Intelligence (AI) may help. Forrester’s November tech radar report on AI (subscription required) called for infusing AI into content.

“It’s all about sense, think and act,” Grannan said.

In video, image and content analysis, imagine those assets are automatically tagged? It would take a huge workload off your plates. Such automation could be scaled across repositories you may never even touched.

Speech and text analytics could be used to determine sentiment and tone, which in turn can be matched to intent. 

“You’re adding granular metadata to your content, allowing you to enrich that profile over time,” Grannan said. “You’re tracking content, not pages, not campaigns, but content. Understand how your content is performing so you can understand how to optimize that content. That is the future of content.”

Web Publishing Is Siloed

Organizations have static content that creates bottlenecks. You can’t get the website updated in real-time based on real-time events. You work around several technologies which leads to fragmentation.

Grannan cited the headless movement in CMS, where presentation is removed from content management. It’s the ability to replicate your repositories and store the content in an agnostic way by leveraging RESTful APIs to publish out to new endpoints, such as mobile apps.

“With mobile apps you already have the presentation layer that you would never begin to control with your Web CMS,” Grannan said.

Web Operations Create Friction, Cost

Hippo Bloomreach

Deploying new code and inserting patches gives you a chance to see how slow your processes really are, Grannan said.

So much customization. So much heavy lifting. So much ... frustration. 

“It’s slow and expensive,” he said.

Embracing architectures like Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) helps automate many of these processes and scale them better. Grannan said new technologies like Docker have “revolutionized” what it means to deploy software. 

Practitioners Overwhelmed by Sophisticated Tools

When you attempt to personalize experiences on web or mobile or email, which tools do you use? What’s the workflow? Chances are, nothing within your tool suite owns this end to end.

You have a “fragmentation of packaged tools that creates confusion,” Grannan said. “Or the tools are just not there at all or are too darn expensive.”

Tools built on analytics and a predictive model allows you to ingest data from multiple sources and in real-time deliver that into your experience delivery engine, Grannan said.

These are smart tools that give practitioners the ability to do A/B testing without having to have a Master’s in statistics, Grannan said.