If you’ve paid any attention over the past few years, it’s that the buyer’s journey has become quite lonely. Whether it’s the new purchase of a computer or research around a particular cloud solution, both the internet and mobile devices now offer a plethora of search pathways.
Your eyes aren’t fooling you. According to research firm Forrester, 80 percent of the buying process is expected to occur without any direct human-to-human interaction by 2020. For buyers, that means less nosy salespeople and for sellers, the pressure is on to develop engaging and meaningful digital experiences that build interest, catalyze conversations, and ultimately result in purchases.
Innovation, however, doesn’t occur overnight and requires pinpoint strategy and execution. According to Forrester’s 2015 U.S. Customer Experience Index, 73 percent of businesses rank improving customer experience (CX) as a top priority, particularly in the buyer’s journey. However, such CX is impossible to achieve without a highly efficient integration strategy, given the number of applications, data and connections requiring coordination.
The Ins and Outs of Integration
One area of notable growth for digital operations over the past several years has been in new approaches to integration, including APIs and microservices.
As organizations retire their legacy infrastructure in favor of modern connectivity, they unlock new points of innovation through mobile applications, simplified services, and connected third-party applications, all of which provide extensible use cases for a variety of industries. In our work with Global 2000 clients, we’ve also discovered that those who leverage integration platforms follow some of our key characteristics of highly effective innovators. Some of these characteristics include:
- Embrace a Variety of Innovations: Technological innovation requires testing and exploring what’s available on the market. Just because your competition is investing time in mobile application development does not mean you need to do the same. What’s better is understanding the landscape of your current assets and existing process flow and seeing what gaps need to be filled. In the world of integration, that sometimes means leveraging APIs or simplifying applications through microservices.
- Measure Outcomes: You can’t manage what you can’t measure, so it ultimately helps to leverage solutions that serve your understanding of intended business outcomes. Every few quarters, sit down with your team and ask what is working, what isn’t, and any adjustments needed to stay competitive.
- Build a Culture of Innovation: The adoption of DevOps means that a culture of innovation is more important than ever. Whether it’s training employees on new skills, automating aspects of the software development lifecycle, or encouraging a deeper sense of collaboration, a culture of innovation will encourage your employees to work their hardest as you push towards a common goal.
The Consequences of a Changing Marketplace
The new rules of digital transformation are simple: Focus on innovation and growth or be prepared to face the consequences of the new marketplace. One area of importance is integration, with many organizations moving from traditional monolithic architectures to agile compositions of modern connected systems.
Furthermore, organizations who do innovate often harbor similar characteristics.
For more best practice insights on IT infrastructure modernization, download Perficient’s latest guide to best practices for hybrid IT, “Drive Digital Transformation with Innovation.”
About the Author Eric Roch is the principal architect and practice director for IT modernization at Perficient, a leading digital transformation consulting firm serving Global 2000 and enterprise customers throughout North America.