Discussion by Samuel Zeller

Imagine the experience at your favorite band’s live concert. Tony Bennett, Macklemore, Taylor Swift, whomever. Now, deliver that experience to your friend who wasn’t there — with all the emotion you experienced live at that concert venue.

That’s digital experience (DX) according to Joel Oleson, a Microsoft SharePoint thought leader and a CMSWire Reader Advisory Board member. A lot of elements “need to come together to make the digital experience as close and authentic" as possible to the live experience,” Oleson told us.

We caught up with Oleson and other reader advisory board members to discuss digital experience in anticipation of CMSWire's inaugural DX Summit in Chicago Nov. 3 and 4.

(Editor's note: If you'd like to learn more about digital experience strategies and technologies, CMSWire Reader Advisory Board member Meghan Walsh will be speaking at the DX Summit on Nov. 4. Find out more here.)

The Question

How do you define digital experience?

The Answers

Meghan Walsh, Senior Director, Hilton Worldwide

headshot of meghan walsh of marriott international

A self-proclaimed content management nerd, Walsh spends her days figuring out answers to content structure, management and distribution challenges. Her focus is empowering the enterprise to leverage core content and personalization capabilities to optimize consumer experiences. As senior director of content strategy, she leads Hilton Worldwide’s efforts to structure, govern and deliver relevant content across channels. Tweet to Meghan Walsh.

Digital experience is customer service over wires. At its most fundamental, a digital experience provides what a customer wants in a manner they prefer, and it happens through the use of technology. Service may be provided without (direct) human interaction, but when completed, the customer or guest or user should be satisfied that their need was met.

Joel Oleson, Director, Konica Minolta

headshot of Joel Oleson original technician on Microsoft SharePoint

A recognized SharePoint influencer and thought leader, Oleson was the first full-time employee hired to deploy global SharePoint environments at Microsoft. He helped architect the first version of SharePoint Online, currently known as Office 365. A frequent keynote speaker at SharePoint events across the world, Oleson is director of business development at Tokyo-based Konica Minolta, where he drives strategy and growth for its SharePoint and ECM practice. Tweet to Joel Oleson.

Imagine going to a live concert with all the care taken into the lights, the perfect sound, costumes and pyrotechnics. Now imagine how you'd deliver that experience in a festival where you want to capture the experience of it digitally so those who aren't there can feel it and experience it with their friends who may tap in real time or later on demand.

Now let's take that concept of experience and apply it to your business. How do you want to take your brand and bring it to your customers, partners and future customers? This is more than UI and UX from a delivery perspective. You have to think about the processes and social interaction.

Now think about the people and the other dimensions you'll want in your digital experience. All those elements need to come together to make the digital experience be as close and authentic as the live experience. Digital experience management is the full collection of processes and technology designed to provide a consistent experience for all customers and future customers across all channels. It's about creating immersive digital content and campaigns, then socialize them across your channels.

David Lavenda, VP, harmon.ie

headshot of david lavenda

A technology strategist, Lavenda focuses on interactions linking people, organizations and technology. He is vice president of product strategy at harmon.ie, a Milpitas, Calif.-based provider of user experience products for the digital workplace. Tweet to David Lavenda.

Two years ago, it was social. Now it’s digital. What we have learned is that social interactions are only one dimension of the transformation that businesses are undergoing. Ubiquitous access to resources via mobile devices and enterprise-grade cloud services is making it easier not only for people to collaborate and work together (socially), but also for them to access professional tools that used to only be accessible to specialists.

New business opportunities afforded by the convergence of these new developments is making it possible for businesses and people to get things done anytime, anywhere and reach customers wherever they are. Anytime someone is interacting with a colleague, friend, business or customer from a laptop computer or mobile app, they are having increasingly robust digital experiences.

Jake DiMare, Digital Strategist, Agency Oasis

Jake DiMare

A digital strategist and marketing technologist, DiMare leads strategy engagements at Agency Oasis in Los Angeles. He has worked in digital marketing for the past 15 years. He focuses on enterprise content management, measurement and optimization, and marketing automation, especially the business impact of placing customers at the center of cohesive and seamless digital customer experiences. Tweet to Jake DiMare.

In the context of my professional life as a digital strategist, the term digital experience refers to a subset of interactions within the overall customer experience, which happen to share the distinction of being enabled by digital touch points. On a practical level this includes every interaction between a customer and an organization delivered on a computer, mobile or wearable device.

Digital experience refers to any content or experience in support of any phase in the overall customer journey. Depending on the specific strategy of an individual organization, it may include search results, email, website, online ads, social media, a mobile app and more.

Alan Lepofsky, VP, Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

headshot of alan lepofsky of constellation research

Lepofsky is a vice president and principal analyst of Silicon Valley-based Constellation Research. With almost two decades of experience in the collaboration software industry, Lepofsky helps organizations improve the way their employees work together to get their jobs done more effectively. Tweet to Alan Lepofsky.

Everyone is talking about digital experiences or digital transformation. But what does that mean with respect to collaboration software?

Essentially “digital” converts the common workflows that people perform to get their jobs done to more accessible online versions. For example, compare the creative process of creating a media campaign 10 years ago to what you can do now. In the past it involved physically editing and signing dozens of different versions, then faxing or couriering them back-and-forth.

Now this can all be done digitally using file sharing tools and electronic signatures. There are similar examples in healthcare, insurance, sales, marketing, etc. Digital experiences make it easy for people to create, share and discover the people and content involved in getting work done.

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