“Digitally Remastered” Reviewed from a Customer Experience Perspective

CA’s CTO Otto Berkes highlights the importance of using software to keep the focus on the customer in his new book.

I was excited to start reading Digitally Remastered: Building Software into Your Business DNA, a new book by CA’s Chief Technology Officer, Otto Berkes.  I’m happy to report that my enthusiasm was warranted.

Not only does Otto provide a short, but impactful, read on how to integrate software into core business processes (the “DNA”), he also covers how to use software to improve the customer experience.

You might expect a book on this topic to be extremely technical, but I view it as a resource for anyone looking to improve the customer experience their organization delivers.

Every business is in the software business

Otto makes the case that every business is in the software business. I agree. Companies looking for a competitive advantage must rely on both software and creativity as they develop new offerings. As Otto writes, “The chapters describe in non-technical terms how to build a software development capability so you can deliver the compelling digital experiences your customers are looking for.”

Of course, developing code and implementing software require technical expertise, but anyone with a customer-centric bent can, and should, be a promoter of many concepts in this book.

Here are some customer-centric ideas I found particularly valuable:

1) Companies feel pressure to “deliver high-quality, consumer-like experiences on every device.”

Your application, no matter how sophisticated, is being used by customers who can’t help but compare it to their most frictionless smart phone app. I’m reminded of a GE commercial where software that helps turbines run cities is compared to software that puts fruit hats on animals. Each delivers a very different customer experience, yet they may have overlapping customer bases.

2) Having technology be “the primary interface with your customers” has profound ramifications.

Whether or not your product is technology, customers will judge you on their experience with your technology. As Otto says, technology must “bear the weight of responsibility for the brand on its shoulders.” As part of our CX-focus, we analyze the “customer journey” and document and consider customer reactions and emotions to each experience along the way. To understand the impact of software on the customer experience, we must consider every piece of information shared, every click and every process and then imagine and measure the customer response and emotion.

3) Frequent customer feedback is the cornerstone of the Agile development methodology and is of paramount importance in creating value for your customers.

Historically, we have relied on surveys and interviews to gather valuable customer feedback. Imagine what we could gain from a software-enabled experience where feedback of every type is gathered in real-time from functionality that is designed into the experience.

4) Through software, we engage customers real-time, bi-directionally, and one-to-one.

This allows for a dynamic versus static experience as the customer interacts with the software, providing feedback through application usage choices, which we could interpret in real-time to shape the ongoing interaction. A feedback loop like this enables a new kind of “customer intimacy” that “gives you the ability to shape your business in close partnership with your customers.”

5) “Generating insights” is the all-important goal of gathering data.

You can instrument the entire user experience to collect data, but if you don’t focus on the analysis needed to derive actionable insights, you receive no value. I suspect that efforts to measure the customer experience often yield more data than value. Deriving insights is the art that follows a whole lot of science. Because data collected may fall short of generating insights, it is important that your measurement techniques are dynamic and that you make constant improvements based on past learnings to get ever closer to pinpointing truly meaningful data. While the data may lead you to insights you were not expecting, “the questions you are working to answer must become your true north.”

Read it

If you’re in a position to influence the customer experience, read Digitally Remastered: Building Software into Your Business DNA. You can download a copy here.

The book is also available on Amazon with proceeds going to Code for America, a nonprofit organization that helps government work for and by the people, using the tools and practices of the digital age.

Let me know what you think.

@daytonsemerjian

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Dayton is general manager Global Customer Success at CA Technologies. His team is dedicated to…

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