State Of Enterprise IT 2018

The evolution of IT

Customer experience and personalisation

By John Mackay, Content Designer

Over the past decade, organisations have increasingly put how they engage with customers at the heart of what they do. Fostering a relationship that feels genuine and reciprocal helps keep customers interested in a brand. It’s now so important that half of the enterprise IT decision makers included in this research say that they’re now putting the user experience at the forefront of their corporate philosophy in order to remain competitive.

One way of improving the user experience is to personalise the content and messaging that each customer receives. Although it’s potentially a big task, in enterprises it already seems well established. Of all the digital trends we asked about, customer experience and personalisation is the one that most companies are not only likely to be investigating, but spending money on as well. Only 4% are neither investing nor investigating.

In fact, customer experience and personalisation is so mature that it’s considered by most to be an established approach. Nearly everyone’s exploring it if not investing in it, meaning that only 18% believe that it still has the potential to be disruptive over the next year. If a company isn’t using it already, it’s totally missed the moment.

Who manages customer experience and personalisation technology?

Our main report on IT trends this year says that innovation and investigation in technology isn’t only likely to happen in the IT department any more. You might therefore think that something like customer experience and personalisation sits far outside the IT department’s remit.

But you’d be wrong.

52% of respondents say that the IT department has been running customer facing projects more frequently now compared to twelve months ago, and 39% say the same about IT employees having customer contact. Amazingly, 81% say that improving the customer experience should be driven by the IT department.

Does this mean that the other departments where customer experience work might happen aren’t involved in IT spend and strategy? Far from it - 21% say that their client services department makes IT expenditure and 29% say the same for marketing. And those two departments have seen big jumps in the likelihood of being involved in the IT strategy for the company too.

Why is this happening? There are two things to consider here.

Firstly, implementing a clever and wide-ranging customer personalisation system means bringing together multiple systems. That requires some technical finesse and experience to get around the inevitable niggles and frustrations that come from integrating systems, and it’s unlikely that those skills will reside in customer facing departments. The IT department is ideally suited to this work, hence their involvement.

Secondly, the data shows that personalisation isn’t necessarily as innovative or experimental as other digital trends. There’s a clear business case for personalisation programmes, and it’s a business case that nearly all organisations have seen and agree to. But most have already started on this, so as it’s not seen as innovative any more, and it appears that most are happy to pass this over to IT. It might almost be seen as a maintenance task now.

What should technology marketers be thinking about? Customer personalisation programmes are likely to be cross-departmental schemes, meaning lots of different messaging targeting different functions. Getting that messaging right for every function will be the challenge.

Any thoughts?

Other reports about the state of enterprise IT: