Bridging the Gap between Mobile Product
Development and Customer Experience: Seven
Imperatives for IT Organizations
Published: 10 November 2014
Author: Bob Egan, Chief Analyst
Organizations must bridge the chasm between mobile product development and
customer experience. We’ve identified seven imperatives critical to the success of
CIOs, CMOs and other Line of Business Leaders in this area.
• Too many organizations frame mobile solutions around yesterday’s workplace.
• You must recognize the complexities of the whole ecosystem –including users, tasks and devices. • Employees, especially younger employees, don't want your black box computing device.
• Collecting data isn’t enough. You need to collect the right data, and you need to know
what to do with it once you have it.
• Evolve your definition of brand experience. • Understand that mobility is key.
• Step up to compete with the consumer world. • Don’t Own Stuff (DOS).
• Appreciate that IT admins have needs, too. • Make big data small.
• Embrace change.
So far, enterprise mobility has been a big fail. Even though employees are unabashedly devoted to their mobile devices, companies have spent billions doing little more than investing in device defense management solutions to mobilize email. As remarkable as it sounds, most enterprises offer only three or
fewer mobile work apps beyond the usual email, calendar and contacts management. Contrast that with the
successfully committed to enterprise mobile see up to 20 percent higher revenue growth on average and report more than twice the revenue per employee.
Why are mobile apps so effective –and popular? Essentially, it boils down to the experience. A great mobile app is purposeful, easy-to-use and fun. That’s one of the main reasons customer experience design topics are among the fastest growing interest areas by our clients. After all, today’s empowered consumers are more discerning and have more choices than ever before. Any company that wants to maintain a competitive edge and deliver a customer experience that drives revenue needs to better connect its product and its brand promise. Or course, that’s simple to say… but difficult to execute.
Catherine Courage, the senior vice president of customer experience at Citrix, is an expert in this area, and we had a conversation with her recently about what IT and line of business leaders can do to start bridging the gap between product development and customer experience. Mark Templeton, the company’s president and CEO, brought her on board in 2009 to focus on product design and development. But Courage’s position quickly evolved as she and Templeton realized that a great product was just the first step in creating an exceptional customer experience.
“Even as a child, I was very curious, someone who always asked ‘why.’ ‘Why did they do that?’ Or, ‘Why is that design like that?’ So, I was excited to join Citrix at a time when it was transforming from a company that was traditionally known as an IT backend infrastructure company to one that was putting more and more products into end users hands,” Courage explained. “However, from very early on, it became clear that if we were going to be serious and successful about customer experience, our approach had to be broader than products alone. We had to be very much focused on every single touch point the customer has.”
Courage considers her journey at Citrix to be a reflection of shifts now happening across the business landscape overall, and she was eager to share lessons she has learned along the way. Based on our conversation, we’ve identified these seven imperatives to help you become more customer-centric:
Evolve your definition of brand experience.
Recognize that today’s brand experience is complex, involving multiple customer touchpoints –from visiting a website for the first time to downloading a trial… and all the way through support and renewals.
“Today, you want customers for life, and you want customer loyalty. It's not just about one transaction in time,” Courage said.
Plus, it’s not just about the buyer or the end user, either. Brand experience involves employees and partners, too.
“We also talk about creating great experiences for our partners who are a huge part of our ecosystem, and also for our employees,” Courage added. “We believe that the experiences our employees have should be just as good as the ones that we're trying to deliver to our external partners and customers.”
Understand that mobility is key.
The workplace has evolved, so stop framing solutions around yesterday’s technology. Instead, work to truly know your users, their tools and their practices. Consider real business and human outcomes.
“Businesses need to transition. They need to empower people to do their work on a variety of different devices from different locations; otherwise, they're going to be chasing things down and possibly putting themselves in situations where there could be real security issues,” Courage explained. “We used to be able to just deliver technology to desktops. Now, we have to understand this whole ecosystem of different kinds of users, the kinds of tasks they’re doing, the kinds of different devices they use. I don't want to just deploy technology, I want to deploy solutions that are going to make my customer base, who are the employees within the organization, really happy, really successful, really productive.”
More and more, those solutions involve mobility.
“Work is no longer a physical place. People are working in a variety of locations, and there really is an expectation of being able to access for information or data in their applications from any location and on any device,” Courage said. “For your business to be successful, you need to make the people in the business productive and successful, and today there's no doubt that a huge aspect of empowering that is the mobility of employees.”
Step up to compete with the consumer world.
The IT marketplace is competitive –and getting more so all the time. As a result, if a user doesn’t like a particular system or application that's available at work, it’s likely he/she can download a different tool off the web. That’s why you need to deliver solutions that people actually want to use; if you don’t, users will continue to go around you to find the solutions they prefer.
“Again, mobility is a big part of this,” Courage said. “Mobility means different kinds of spaces and places that you can work within your office, but also means working on the road and transitioning from space to space, or it could mean working from home. People want that, it makes them more productive, and employers are recognizing that they're getting more out of their employees by doing this, so it's this huge win-win. Also, there’s growing recognition that many in this generation of workers are coming with their own Android device, or their own tablet, or maybe they want to use a MacBook. They don't want to use corporate issued devices.”
Which leads directly to the next imperative… Don’t Own Stuff (DOS).
Courage described DOS ("Don't Own Stuff”) as a “huge” mindshift for IT organizations.
“Employees, especially younger employees, don't want your black box laptop,” she said. “They want to bring the cool device that they use and they know.”
But won’t that be a nightmare for IT? How can all those different devices be managed and supported?
“What we have found is that in many respects, support calls go down because people know how to use these devices. They’re really familiar with them, and they know how to troubleshoot them,” Courage answered. “When you DOS, employees don't need to rely on you as much, and as an IT organization, you remove the headache and cost of managing IT-issued devices.”
Appreciate that IT admins have needs, too. For Citrix, IT admins are a top priority.
“These people are some of our biggest champions, and we want them to be wildly successful,” Courage explained. “Success for them means that they can get their hands on our products really easily and test and use them. It means that they can roll them out quickly. It means that they can monitor and manage them in mobile ways. IT admins want to be able to access things on mobile devices just like everybody else and be able to do their jobs from a variety of locations rather than being locked in the data center.”
In addition, today’s IT admins need big data capabilities.
“IT admins need to be able to compile and understand what's going on in their environment, and they want to have information to allow them to be predictive, so before something goes wrong or when they see a series of events happening it will alert them so they can address the situation early,” Courage said.
Make big data small.
Collecting data isn’t enough. You need to collect the right data, and you need to know what to do with it once you have it.
“For us, that means starting with questions,” Courage said. “What are the questions that we at Citrix want to answer and understand? What are the questions we know our IT admins are going to want to ask? Then, based on that, we figure out what data should be collected.”
Courage recommends beginning with use cases where you need to glean understanding, and then instrumenting so you can extract precisely the data you need.
“With that kind of strategy, you’ll be able to focus on the right areas where you need data and more understanding,” she explained.
Courage had no trouble conceding that it’s impossible to know how technology will evolve in the next five years. To her, that admission is a strength –not a weakness.
“I just visited a big healthcare organization, and it was great to see that their strategy is not to fight against the pace of change, but to embrace it and to recognize as an organization that they continually need to
change and restructure to keep up with new demands,” she said. “For them, mobility is a huge benefit, especially in a hospital environment, giving the ability for doctors and nurses to use tablets to create a more intimate patient experience, to embrace telemedicine. These are all very powerful things for business, and I get really excited when I get to spend time with forward-looking companies that embrace change.”
What does success looks like in these areas?
Citrix’s vision is to empower people, to give them the opportunity and power to work better and live better. Product and service development play key roles in fulfilling that vision, but these days, Courage knows the customer must come first.
“I’m excited to go to work, knowing that I’m helping make people happier and more effective, as opposed to just thinking about rolling out more technology,” she said. “We're really focused on understanding customers and users and their needs, and using that to drive innovation. That’s different than the old view, where you take the existing technology that you have and you figure out how you can rework that or morph it to create something new for customers.”
For Courage, success today comes from truly understanding your customers’ needs and how you make them successful. It’s about adding both business value and human value. Once IT organizations truly grasp that, they’ll make the right choices for employees, she said.
“It's a very big philosophical and mental shift. We're seeing a big cultural change in how IT organizations approach their jobs,” Courage concluded. “Maybe the role of IT will change. Maybe it won’t be about Information Technology anymore. Maybe it will be more about employee enablement or employee technology effectiveness. To me, I think, we've arrived when we see that happen.”
Mobility is changing all the rules. And it is just getting started. New technology is transforming infrastructure and business processes, amplifying the attention needed to meet new mandates for customer experience. In order for organizations to be successful, they must bridge the chasm between mobile product
development and real world customer experiences.