The Gist

  • Time-to-market impact. Improving time-to-market can significantly boost customer satisfaction and total shareholder returns, emphasizing its importance for businesses.
  • CX challenges. Access to data, outdated technology, financial challenges and organizational culture can hinder effective customer experience implementation.
  • Modern integration. Establishing a cross-functional team with agile methodologies and leveraging modern integration platforms can accelerate time-to-market and enhance customer experience.

Speed, agility and velocity are important for businesses to thrive. Today, companies invest a lot to improve CX. But these investments are superficial, costing companies a lot of money and negatively impacting ROI. As my son’s birthday approached, I eagerly asked him what he wanted as a gift. His answer was unexpected — he wanted a watch. As a proud parent, I thought a classic analog watch would be the perfect present to help teach him how to tell time. But, to my surprise, he begged for an Apple Watch instead.

I couldn’t believe it. A 7-year-old who wants an Apple Watch? I questioned why he would need such a high-tech gadget at such a young age. But my son had a different perspective. He explained that the Apple Watch had everything he could ever want in a watch. From telling time to playing games, listening to music, the Apple Watch had it all.

That sums up a buyer’s desire in a nutshell — a want for the latest and the greatest.

When you improve time-to-market, you have a shot at market capitalization and to drive revenue growth. Improving the time-to-market includes everything from conception to delivery and will make the product development landscape very healthy.

According to a study by McKinsey & Company, companies that improve their time-to-market by 20% or more achieve 10% to 15% higher customer satisfaction scores and 20% to 30% higher total shareholder returns than their peers with slower time-to-market. This statistic highlights the significant impact that improving time-to-market can have on both customer experience and ROI, making it a critical area of focus for businesses in today’s fast-paced environment.

Current Problems in CX Implementation

When implementing CX, there are several factors to consider, such as:

  • Access to data: In an enterprise, there are numerous APIs, each with access to a vast amount of data. However, this data is not accessible due to the multitude of point-to-point integrations or outdated architecture. For a seamless customer experience, it’s important to surface hidden data using technology and integration tools. 
  • Outdated technology: Technology is a top differentiator when it comes to customer experience. But, if a business is still stuck with old technology or outdated integrations, it can really mess up the customer experience.
  • Financial challenges: Business buy-in is very crucial to any IT initiative. Investing in resources, technology tools and implementations is expensive. Often times IT initiatives fail because the stakeholders were not convinced they should invest in a modernization initiative. If you really think about it, during any kind of modernization, the end product may not look that different after implementation, and it becomes harder to convince sponsors to invest.
  • Organization culture: CX initiatives require companywide commitment. Remember when the inflight entertainment moved to handheld devices instead of seat-back displays? Everyone from the development team to the air hostess was committed to this transformation, and before you realized it you were buying beverages on that app you downloaded before takeoff. 

Related Article: Voice of the Customer (VoC): Much More Than a Satisfied Customer

How Does Modern Integration Drive Time-to-Market?

A typical modern integration allows faster delivery of services and products. Integration is a live process in any organization, efficiently moving data from one point to another. Research is still pending on how businesses can innovate successfully. But one of the ways to ensure you can continue to innovate is by creating a separate division that operates under the protection of senior leadership. Continuity is key for a successful modern integration.

So this division that you create should continually strive to improve integrations and reinvent your digital strategy. Creating a cross-functional team is best to avoid unintentional rationing of information and gaps in governance between innovation strategy and business-as-usual strategy. A cross-functional team typically staffed with members from central IT, line-of-business (LoB) departments, and digital innovation teams who are charged with production, publishing, and harvesting reusable assets and best practices should be the heart of the modern integration. Some ways a team like this can enable time-to-market and ROI:

  1. Accelerate integration development.
  2. Ensure quality and governance.
  3. Foster collaboration.
  4. Provide visibility and insights.

A team like this will help promote consumption and collaboration and help drive self-reliance while improving results through feedback and metrics. This can help fix some of the gaps in CX implementations. With assets and research, this team can help secure business buy-in, continually update technology, and educate and enable teams in utilization of reusable assets.

When an organization can easily reuse built assets, they can improve time-to-market. Return on investments increases when time-to-market improves. A system such as this will help build resiliency into your CX strategy and help protect your investments from market disruptions. 

Related Article: How Do We Measure the Happy Customer?

Questions to Ask to Assess Current Time-to-Market

Below is a list of questions you can add to your assessment matrix to assess time-to-market.

  • What is the project timeline from inception to launch?
  • What is the current status of the project in terms of development, testing and milestones?
  • What are the project’s major components and their current status?
  • What is the estimated completion time for each component, and where can improvements be made?
  • What is the expected time-to-market for the product or project, and where can improvements be made?
  • Are there any external dependencies or constraints affecting the timeline?
  • Are there any opportunities for process improvements or changes to speed up the time-to-market?

A time-to-market assessment can lead to several outcomes, including:

Learning Opportunities

  • Recognizing areas of slowdown and obstacles: By assessing the current time-to-market, you can identify any areas of the product or project that are causing delays or bottlenecks. This can help you focus your efforts on resolving these issues to speed up the launch process. For example, if setting up IAM policies for accounts takes a long time, then evaluating the process and finding ways to cut down time will help shorten the project duration. 
  • Optimization of processes: A time-to-market assessment can help you identify opportunities for process improvement. This can involve streamlining processes, eliminating unnecessary steps or finding ways to make processes more efficient. An example would be, if error handling for all your customer experience projects follows a similar pattern, it could be externalized as a library that can then be imported and customized to save time.
  • Improved project management: By assessing the time-to-market, you can gain a better understanding of the project’s overall timeline and identify any areas where project management can be improved. This can help you better allocate resources, adjust timelines and stay on track with project milestones.
  • Increased competitiveness: Shortening the time-to-market can give a company a competitive advantage. By launching products or services faster than competitors, companies can gain market share and improve profitability.
  • Enhanced customer satisfaction: Shortening the time-to-market can also lead to increased customer satisfaction. Customers may be more likely to purchase products or services that are available sooner and may appreciate faster access to new features or technology.

Overall, time-to-market assessment can identify opportunities for process optimization, which can lead to increased efficiency and cost savings for the company. By conducting a time-to-market assessment, a company can stay competitive, improve profitability and satisfy its customers. Conducting a time-to-market assessment can lead to setting goals that can enhance the overall well-being of your organization.

Related Article: Why Your CX Investments Might Be Seesawing With Customer Satisfaction and ROI

What Does a Healthy Modern Integration Look Like for a Successful CX?

Typically, A modern integration involves combining different systems, applications, and data sources to create a cohesive and streamlined workflow that enables faster and more efficient development and deployment of products and services. 

But, what a modern integration looks like for your company may differ due to varying business requirements, legacy systems, industry regulations and the ever-evolving technology landscape. Companies must consider their unique needs when defining their approach to modern integration.

In a healthy modern integration, time to market is typically faster than in traditional development processes, due to the use of agile methodologies, continual integration and delivery, and automated testing and deployment. If your organization is taking the same amount of time to deliver a project when compared to traditional development process or if it's taking longer, then a thorough assessment of your inception and development process is needed to identify and bridge those gaps. These practices help to reduce development time, improve the quality of the product or service and increase the speed at which it can be brought to market.

Moreover, modern integration platforms, such as API management and iPaaS (integration platform as a service), provide pre-built integrations and connectors to different systems, allowing developers to focus on building new features rather than worrying about integration issues. This further accelerates the time to market of new products and services.

Overall, a healthy modern integration involves a culture of agility, collaboration and continual improvement, where development teams work closely with operations teams to deliver high-quality products and services quickly and efficiently.

Final Thoughts on Improving Time-to-Market

The goal of any organization that implements software projects should be to reduce the number of inner iterations with each major step of design, development, and testing, and go-live without compromising on customer experience. Simply automating everything will not increase customer satisfaction, it may not even improve customer experience.

To truly impact customers positively and improve customer satisfaction, it is important to look carefully within your organization, piece-by-piece, and dismantle anything leading to increases in the development lifecycle that does not have a clear goal. Processing projects to death will only decrease ROI, affect the moral of developers and cause frustration among architects.

Instead, focus on results-oriented project implementation. Every step and process must have a reason, a well-defined reason that contributes to the end goal of customer experience improvement.

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