ASG is now part of Rocket Software! Please visit to learn more. Follow our journey
Blog > August 2019 > Digital Rewrites the Rules of Customer Engagement

Digital Rewrites the Rules of Customer Engagement

On June 6, I had the privilege of hosting a webinar featuring Forrester Vice President and Principal Analyst Ted Schadler, “ Digital Rewrites the Rules of Customer Engagement ,” in which we discussed the pace and successes of digital transformation initiatives. While the term “digital transformation” may seem overused, organizations of all kinds are busy doing exactly that: digitizing their business. Since the beginning of commercial computing, back office operations have been digitized. The Internet moved digitization to the front office where it is fundamentally changing how businesses engage with customers and employees.

Ted defined digital transformation as “harnessing digital assets and ecosystems to continually improve customer outcomes and, simultaneously, increase operational agility.” Forrester looks at transformation across four areas: digital experience, digital operations, digital innovation and digital ecosystems. Each of these areas are tightly connected, given the optimal digital experience requires that the operational backbone provides the right support for the experience. A great user experience running on a mobile phone—say for a credit card application—that connects to a slow backend approval process will not satisfy its users. At the center of these efforts, Ted explained, is digital innovation. This is where the organization connects the insights gained from data with the increasing digitized processes that drive successful digital experiences for customers.

Digital ecosystems represent the idea that partners are critical to success in digital transformation.  Transforming organizations must identify where partners can add differentiated value, what their unique capabilities are, where technology is commoditized, and which services are best acquired through the partner.

Home Depot is a great example of an organization that has embraced digitization and integrated it into its customer processes. Ted discussed how it has integrated online ordering across its channels so now 43% of orders are picked up at that store. As such, Home Depot has entered the advanced stages of digital transformation and is transforming the market for home improvement materials. Companies at this stage are more likely to see higher revenue growth. They’re more focused on the customer and employee experience and more committed to innovation. 

Navigating the Big Squeeze

When it comes to digital transformation, I start with the premise that many companies are caught in a “big squeeze.” Lagging companies, described as transformation beginners or even intermediates by Forrester, are being squeezed between their more advanced and rapidly transforming traditional competitors and digital startups—those born digital, no transformation required. These lagging companies must now focus their efforts on transformation if they’re to thrive, or even remain in business, in the information economy.

Digital transformation is a challenge. Vast amounts of data are accumulating at an ever-increasing pace, likely containing deep insights that can drive business decisions and create new products—enabling the digital innovation that Ted noted as core to transformation. Yet, this has the real potential to overwhelm users who want to know what data is there, where it comes from and if it can be trusted. As a result, the mode of work is changing. Customers and employees are demanding access to information and processes at any time, from anywhere, and they expect an easy, engaging experience across any device. 

What is sometimes called the “democratization of IT” is adding to the challenge but also supporting the transformation areas Ted describes that pave a path to success. Democratization means opening up what was once the domain of IT to more business users, making data more available with tools for data access, analysis and process development to meet business user needs and match business user skills. The business knows best what it needs for success. IT knows the technology and can create the guardrails to keep business on the road to transformation. While these two sides of the business have been separate, there are modern tools and technologies now available that bridge the gap—increasing the velocity of business and enabling companies to accelerate the pace of transformation and push back against the “big squeeze.”

Ted summed up the webinar with the advice to integrate content repositories and delivery across channels. He suggested organizations focus on the user’s needs, not their channel of communication, to best measure and optimize the engagement.

ASG agrees, and we’re progressing our technology to connect the services needed to create and maintain this new, agile, customer-focused development model. By enabling IT to support the business in assembling and deploying multi-channel applications, ASG Data Intelligence customers can make decisions based on trusted data, accelerating their application delivery to engage customers while outpacing their competitors.