Baskaran Natarajan
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Cloud OOWIn a recent report, Gartner estimates that CX cloud revenues grew at a rate of 27% year over year, which is more than twice that of the overall CRM market growth rate. This movement has redrawn perception of cloud as a mere operational driver. CX Cloud based applications are driving faster customer experience innovations, accelerated time-to-market, light-footed technology ecosystems and broader user adoption. New business models are now shaping themselves up to be agile and responsive like cloud.

But the movement is fraught with obstacles. Companies who have moved to the cloud in haste aren’t realizing the entire benefits they thought they would gain. Others who are mid-way in their CX cloud transformation initiatives are beginning to question the value in juggling between multiple inorganic systems that were built up in the past and their modern cloud deployments. Industries like Banking and Telecom–constrained by monolithic CRM systems which cannot be replaced–are looking for a simpler ways to modernize their customer experiences. Based on our experience and customer engagements we think the way forward starts with considering the following points:

  • Value is not just TCO: Most companies start by articulating the reduced cost of ownership with CX Cloud apps in the mid-term. While this offers financial justification, it does not entirely address the existing functional issues in their on-premise systems or the possibilities of leveraging the change to modernize front-office processes and systems for improved experiences. We recommend that a business case for CX Cloud also include CX process modernization, technology simplifications, productivity enhancements and reliable back-office integrations. For example, many companies with multiple applications and systems for managing their sales teams (territory management, incentive compensation, sales analytics etc.) should explore the possibility of consolidating these functions into a unified, simplified and modern cloud-based sales app that offers better or new functionality when compared to its disparate on-premise predecessors.
  • Decouple the moving parts: While many companies may find it easy to replace existing systems with CX Cloud apps, there are some for whom it’s infeasible to replace legacy systems that are heavily customized and tightly integrated in the ecosystem. In such cases, it is more effective to decouple certain customer-facing functions which require faster enhancements, are not entirely dependent on core back-office systems and still play a large role in end-customer experiences. For example, functions like customer on-boarding, self-service, knowledge, configure-price-quote, etc. can be quickly modernized and scaled across the organization on the cloud. Their success can then be replicated to other functions in a similar manner.
  • Play the Hybrid when necessary: In many situations, on-premise apps are already serving the purpose of the business and lack just a few modern capabilities. In such scenarios, companies can pursue a hybrid model where they can leverage modern CX cloud apps to extend functionalities like mobile ready interfaces, cross-channel interoperability, engaging user interfaces, etc. For example, for executing a marketing campaign, it is more beneficial to perform computing heavy segmentation analytics in the back-end and orchestrate cross-channel promotion delivery mechanism from the cloud. This hybrid interplay allows companies to ensure that promotions have a greater target accuracy than they would have otherwise – in turn driving value for the business.
  • Make it your own: Most cloud functionalities in the market today offer generic CX functionalities which do not contain any industry-specific workflows, processes, terminologies, etc. As a consequence, there is a big limitation on how much users can do with their cloud deployments. For example, warranty management processes cannot be recreated with cloud-based case management applications. Contemporary cloud customizations run the risk of obsolescence owing to the rapid product release cycles can subsume or invalidate any customizations. This can only be averted with a clear vision of the product roadmap and vendor partnership. An alternate method could also to be build customization on a Platform-As-A-Service (PaaS) model to ensure long-term reliability and support.

At Oracle OpenWorld, CX Central – Commerce, I will share more insights on our innovative cloud strategies and solutions that are driving superior customer service for leading B2B and B2C companies. Please schedule time to meet with me and our CX experts at OOW; and share your comments and questions here. I look forward to talking with you in San Francisco.

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