One should leverage the past to help understand the present, and to help better predict and create that future.
Let’s rewind and go back to the origin of what we now call Digital Transformation (DX), when various legal proceedings resulted in the legitimization of digital signatures. Digital signatures became a viable option for transacting business and it was the pebble in the pond that kicked off the move for organizations to revisit how they conducted business. Up until that point, organizations required contracts and agreements to be printed out, physically signed and either faxed or scanned and emailed. When this limitation was lifted, organizations realized they could go completely digital.
During this same time-period, the evolution of mobility began to have a major impact on consumer expectations. Consumers quickly became used to things being quick, easy and on demand. They became accustomed to having control over when, how and where they engaged and they weren’t shy about complaining or switching away from businesses, especially in banking or insurance, that were difficult to work with.
As a result, organizations quickly realized customer experience was going to become the primary battle ground from a competitive standpoint. Customer retention and new customer acquisition in the future would be predicated on delighting and creating the best possible experience for those customers.
The next pebble in the pond was the emergence of low-code and no-code platforms built in response to the overall tech democratization macro trend. The days of long, lengthy, service-heavy deployments were running out. Buyers wanted accelerated time-to-value, lower total cost of ownership and lower overall risk. Nowhere were these dynamics more obvious than with the emergence of Robotic Process Automation (RPA). Automating simple back-office tasks was now something the average knowledge worker could do themselves with minimal dependency on IT (or at least that’s what the RPA providers promised; topic for another time). Businesses were empowered to automate simple, repetitive tasks that were often tedious and time consuming.
More recently, we’ve watched the emergence of Conversational AI platforms. This began initially with basic (limited) Q&A oriented chatbots, which usually had the effect of agitating and frustrating customers rather than helping them, or cheesy virtual assistants that provided minimal value. The emergence of generative AI has the potential to breathe new life into conversational AI as long as platform vendors can figure out how to monitor and control generative AI responses.
Over the past five decades, businesses, especially enterprises in highly regulated industries, have been on a quest to develop ever larger Systems of Record (SoR) that have now become essential to their day to day operations. These SoRs are robust, scalable and seemingly bullet proof enterprise-class platforms that act as the backbone of very large technology infrastructures delivering the ability to conduct commerce every day without interruption.
Combine these complex and sluggish enterprise infrastructures built around behemoth SoRs with the emergence of a global populace that is increasingly mobile and tech savvy and you end up with a gaping chasm in human expectation versus human experience.
In this series of articles, we will address this very question: how do enterprises enable their SoRs and tech infrastructures to provide exceptional, omni-channel, low latency, on-demand, interactive experiences?
The obvious answer is selecting a System of Engagement (SoE) that is designed and architected from the ground up to provide optimal customer experiences while front-ending any SoR. System of engagement is a broad category, and we’re now seeing the emergence of a new set of SoE developers focused on Customer Experience Automation (CXA) – the interdisciplinary intersection of artificial intelligence, process automation, and conversational interfaces blended to deliver optimized human experiences. These low-code and no-code platforms combine conversational AI, document transformation, workflow automation, system-to-system interoperability and recent advancements in Artificial Intelligence (Large Language Models and Generative AI), all enabling organizations to quickly and easily build and deliver exceptional customer experiences with the highest possible efficiency. It is important to note that these vendors have deliberately focused on customer experiences as the outcome while engagement is a necessary component.
If delighting your customers is a priority, you need to figure out your Customer Experience Automation strategy. Stay tuned as we dive deeper into the art of the possible in the world of AI-powered experience automation.