CX Strategies For Building Your Digital Transformation Roadmap

Jan 31, 2023 1:30 PM2:30 PM EST

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Key Discussion Takeaways:

Nowadays, the only constant is how fast things will change. With the rapid pace of technological innovations, trends, and customer needs, it can be difficult to stay on top of everything and ensure your brand’s digital strategy is hitting the mark. 

Although digital transformation is a challenge, there are some key building blocks to help you navigate your digital roadmap and translate that into a superior customer experience. One of the most crucial building blocks in this journey is clarity. When you accurately determine who your customer is, develop a plan to align all systems, and have a clear vision of where your brand is going, you’re better able to start your digital transformation journey.  

In this virtual event, Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson is joined by Erin Lynch, Jerry Orabona, and Kenneth Parks of Hero Digital and Ted Schadler of Forrester Research. Together, they break down the various steps within a digital transformation journey, share the best practices for improving the user experience, and discuss mistakes to avoid when building out your digital transformation journey. 

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • What are the foundations for digital transformation?
  • Why clarity and frameworks are key for mapping out your digital journey
  • The stakeholders that should be involved in digital transformation
  • Tools to decipher your target audience
  • How to translate your digital strategy into a rich customer experience
  • Using a North Star to guide alignment across all parts of the organization
  • The four main steps of value orchestration
  • How brands can create a seamless, frictionless experience
  • Tips to ensure your brand stays relevant
  • Why do many digital transformation projects fail to meet their objectives?
  • How to choose the right partner to ensure success in digital transformation 
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Event Partners

Hero Digital

Hero Digital is a leading independent customer experience company focusing on business, design, and technology.

Connect with Hero Digital

Guest Speakers

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson LinkedIn

Senior Digital Strategist at BWG Connect

BWG Connect provides executive strategy & networking sessions that help brands from any industry with their overall business planning and execution. BWG has built an exclusive network of 125,000+ senior professionals and hosts over 2,000 virtual and in-person networking events on an annual basis.

Erin Lynch

Erin Lynch LinkedIn

Chief Creative Officer at Hero Digital

Erin Lynch is the Chief Creative Officer at Hero Digital, a digital customer experience company. She has over 19 years of experience and previously worked for R/GA, Razorfish, and Time Inc. Interactive. Erin enjoys working with creative thinkers and makers who will help design a better world. 

Jerry Orabona LinkedIn

EVP, Technology at Hero Digital

Jerry Orabona is the Executive Vice President of Hero Digital. He has deep knowledge of marketing, advertising, and technology industries, previously serving as the CTO of Clock Four and Director of Technology for Jerry is skilled in user experience, content management systems, customer relationship management, and user interface design.

Kenneth Parks LinkedIn

CMO at Hero Digital

Kenneth Parks is the Chief Marketing Officer at Hero Digital. He’s responsible for the company’s overall brand strategy, which offers definition, marketing, demand generation, and sales enablement. With over 20 years of experience in digital customer experience transformation, brand strategy, big data, and more, Kenneth helps lead Hero Digital in its success. 

Ted Schadler LinkedIn

VP, Principal Analyst at Forrester Research

Ted Schadler is the Vice President and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research. He has 33 years of experience in the technology industry, focusing on digital and experience transformation. Ted has co-authored two books and received the Forrester Bill Bluestein award, which is granted to Forrester’s most influential analysts. 

Event Moderator

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson LinkedIn

Senior Digital Strategist at BWG Connect

BWG Connect provides executive strategy & networking sessions that help brands from any industry with their overall business planning and execution. BWG has built an exclusive network of 125,000+ senior professionals and hosts over 2,000 virtual and in-person networking events on an annual basis.

Erin Lynch

Erin Lynch LinkedIn

Chief Creative Officer at Hero Digital

Erin Lynch is the Chief Creative Officer at Hero Digital, a digital customer experience company. She has over 19 years of experience and previously worked for R/GA, Razorfish, and Time Inc. Interactive. Erin enjoys working with creative thinkers and makers who will help design a better world. 

Jerry Orabona LinkedIn

EVP, Technology at Hero Digital

Jerry Orabona is the Executive Vice President of Hero Digital. He has deep knowledge of marketing, advertising, and technology industries, previously serving as the CTO of Clock Four and Director of Technology for Jerry is skilled in user experience, content management systems, customer relationship management, and user interface design.

Kenneth Parks LinkedIn

CMO at Hero Digital

Kenneth Parks is the Chief Marketing Officer at Hero Digital. He’s responsible for the company’s overall brand strategy, which offers definition, marketing, demand generation, and sales enablement. With over 20 years of experience in digital customer experience transformation, brand strategy, big data, and more, Kenneth helps lead Hero Digital in its success. 

Ted Schadler LinkedIn

VP, Principal Analyst at Forrester Research

Ted Schadler is the Vice President and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research. He has 33 years of experience in the technology industry, focusing on digital and experience transformation. Ted has co-authored two books and received the Forrester Bill Bluestein award, which is granted to Forrester’s most influential analysts. 

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Need help with something else?

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson

Senior Digital Strategist at BWG Connect

BWG Connect provides executive strategy & networking sessions that help brands from any industry with their overall business planning and execution.

Senior Digital Strategist Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson runs the group & connects with dozens of brand executives every week, always for free.

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Discussion Transcription

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson  0:18  

Happy Tuesday everyone. I am Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson, digital strategist for BWG Connect. We are a network and knowledge sharing group, we stay on top of the latest trends challenges, whatever is going on and shaping the digital landscape, we will be doing these 500 virtual events this year due to the increase in demand to better understand everything digital. And we'll also be doing at least 100 in person small format dinners. So if you happen to be living in a tier one city in the US, feel free to send us an email and we will send you an invite, these dinners are typically 15 to 20 people having a discussion around a certain digital topic, and it's always a fantastic time. We spend most of our time talking to brands to stay on top of the different trends and challenges would love to have a conversation with you. So feel free to drop me a line at Tiffany, And we can get some time on the calendar. It's from these conversations, we generate the topic ideas that we know people want to learn about. And it's also where we gain our resident experts, such as the panelists who are here today. So anybody that we asked to teach the collective team has come highly recommended from multiple brands within our network. So if you ever in need of any recommendations within the digital space, don't hesitate to reach out we have a short list of the best of the best and we'd be happy to provide that information to you. Also note that we have a talent agency BWG Talent that we'd be happy to put you in contact with as well should you have any hiring needs a few housekeeping items. First and foremost, we want this to be fun, engaging, put those comments questions into the chat or the q&a, you can email me if you feel more comfortable at And we will be sure to get to them. We started about four minutes after the hour. So rest assured we're gonna wrap up at least four to five minutes before the end of the hour to give you enough time to get to your next meeting, or a final destination spot. So with that, let's dive right in and talk about customer experience strategies for building a digital transformation roadmap. Our friends from Hero Digital, which is a leading customer experience transformation company are here along with a guest speaker from Forrester, which is a leading research and advisory firm. So we have an awesome panel today. I'm going to kick it over to the panelists if you can give a brief introduction on yourself. Fantastic. And then we will dive right in. And I think I'm gonna start with Kenneth.


Kenneth Parks  2:37  

Hi, thanks, Tiffany. Hi, everyone, Kenneth Parks, I'm the Chief Marketing Officer at Hero Digital, and we participate in in a fair amount of conferences and client conversations. And I think today's topic is is quite broad, and obviously can feel at times overwhelming. But we would like to share with you today just the trials and tribulations of what it takes to go through a successful digital transformation. There are many, many victims along the road to that where many companies have been invested in it, even to the point of like maybe reorganizing themselves around a massive initiative, like digital transformation, failed to see the returns that they had expected, or at least in the timeframe, they had wanted them. So we just have a lot of experience in this and ourselves. We're glad to be having this conversation with Ted, one of our friends at Forrester around just what we've seen observed and what we think would help folks are they're embarking on this journey in the midst of this journey at the last mile not I'm worried about the results they might may or may not see. So we're looking forward to sharing sort of insights and thoughts and sort of, you know, success stories with you. And I'd like to hand off to Erin introduce herself. Erin.


Erin Lynch  3:55  

Thank you. Thank you, Kenneth. Hello, everyone. My name is Erin Lynch. I'm the Chief Creative Officer at Hero Digital. I have over two decades of experience working at large digital agencies. I'm an agency lifer. I joined Hero in the spring of last year. And before that I spent most of my career at R/GA and few years at Razorfish. So I'm truly passionate about product and service innovation. And I feel fortunate to not only have witnessed but also been a part of shaping what experience design and CX is today. So, as a creative leader, I've worked with the industry's most talented designers, copywriters and strategist who I think are now scattered across the entire globe and fortunate enough to work with this talent and clients such as Nike, Verizon, Cigna, Cedar Sinai. I'm also on the advisory board of Ithaca University CX pros program. So CX is something I think a lot about. And I very much look forward to our discussion today. And I'm going to pass it off to Jerry.


Jerry Orabona  5:05  

Thank you, Erin. My name is Jerry Orabona. I'm the EVP of technology for Hero Digital. I've been with Hero for 15 years and had been working on the internet since the beginning of time. So, I've had a chance to see many, many transformation projects across a multitude of technologies and various trends as the, you know, we went through 110 and two Oh, and three hour and who knows what's next now as the web continues to evolve. So this is an exciting discussion, and I'd like to hand it off to Ted Schadler at Forrester and


Ted Schadler  5:53  

Ted. Thanks, Jerry. Hi, Erin. Hi, Kenneth. Hi, Tiffany. Hi, everybody. So yeah, I guess in keeping with I've been here forever, I've been here forever. I'm a 25. Year, Forrester anniversary, just just last week, and attention to sorry, go ahead. Congratulations. Oh, thank you. Thank you. You gave me two minutes to talk and I took three. So there you go. I highlighted three things that matter, you know, as a Forrester analyst, and I really think as a strategy thinker, and it's really anybody trying to get anything done here. The first was creativity, which at Forrester we think of as a very collaborative, coordinated process. Yeah, there's flashes of brilliance, but turn that into something meaningful. So Jay Patterson, have done a huge amount of thinking to work there. The second is conviction, right? If you believe that you can achieve something you are way more likely to achieve it, particularly if you listen to the conviction of your colleagues. And the third is kindness. And kindness, I think often gets locked out of the conversation. Because when we are collaborating, when we are working together, it's only kindness that creates that space, you know, that permission, that opportunity. And I close by saying with kindness, we can move mountains, and logical load could never do that. And so it was kind of a nice little summary of 25 years of Forrester. And it does lead into, I think, a lot of what I think about and how I think about digital experiences, and customer experience, and all the things that go into making that successful. So I'm excited to be here today. Awesome. Love that. Thank


Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson  7:30  

you. Thank you, well, friendly reminder, if anybody has any questions, comments in the audience, feel free to put them into the q&a or the chat, or feel free to email me at All right, we are going to kick it off here and start with some questions. And starting with strategy. Like I said, we do a lot of these dinners across the country. And this topic is hot is like looking at digital, and what's the strategy and the transformation and your roadmap? So Kenneth, I'm going to come back to you start with you again. What are you from your lens, the building blocks for a digital transformation roadmap, and this can be very overwhelming. So how do people get started?


Kenneth Parks  8:12  

It’s a good, it's the right question to start with. And, you know, a lot of my conversation will be geared towards brands or companies working through this. But if you're on the webinar, and you're like us, a professional services firm, or you're a software firm, like an Adobe or a content stack, this, this should resonate with everyone. So it's all about clarity. And it's for those that have reached a moment of clarity in their life or in their work it there is like with that comes freedom. Because you now have a sense of with purpose, and to Ted your point conviction, you now know what you need to do, in what order and and how to do it. And if you don't have the clarity, it can be very overwhelming. You can feel totally out of control, you can feel the mission critical agenda you're working on will never bear fruit, that can be quite a scary moment. And so strategy really is about creating clarity, clarity on the choices you need to make and why those choices may lead you to the right outcomes. And so we talk about strategy a lot, you know, as we talk talk about a company or a brand and their environment domain, their level of complexity of managing money in multiple contexts, you know, different solutions, you know, old and new technologies, different stakeholders, right? Many of them sometimes too many involved, just the level of complexity are all around that. And as we think about digital transformation, it's not just one part of the customer experience. Oftentimes, it's multiple parts or the entire whole, and so that complexity just sort of, you know, doubles and triples and quadruples and in that complexity in these organizations and many organs As we work with and what perhaps one that you're sitting in today, is incredibly fragmented. There's no shortage of technologies you can choose no shortage of, of moments in which you can interact with your customer and our challenge. And our challenge channel, if you will. It's about the fragmentation of all those that many of us are struggling with, like which ones are more important than others? How do you put them together more importantly, and so often, the team dynamics, and the different departments within a company just sort of magnified the fragmentation. And this fragmentation leads to very clearly lost opportunities between moments when you're interacting with a customer, and often lost opportunity, because the time it takes you with all that complexity, to actually arrive at a sort of a universal solution. And for the customer, the consumer, your consumer, that fragmentation in your side is sort of evident on the outside, where everything feels sort of it's been decentralized. It's fragmented, nothing actually works really well together. Where it's very clear, teams are prioritize their objectives over the universal needs of a customer. And that is why when we do a lot of research, customers often tout the best experiences they have with brands, or the ones that are actually the most, quote unquote, synergistic. And so there's really sort of like, there's many building blocks to digital transformation success. But there's three like main areas, right, there is like, there is the strategy round, do you understand who the customer have you prioritized the right customers? Have you designed the right experience to extract the value for both them and for the business. And then last, but certainly not least, being very general, have you enabled at all the right technologies and is working and so back to the sort of notion of clarity, the starting point is creating a framework. And we start with with with the brands we work with, we start with a shared view of of what it is we want to accomplish, we we use something called the human system. So if you think about everyone on the phone, today are calling in today to this webinar, have built in their own personalized systems around the things that they need in their lives. So whether it's your your health care system, right, or the system you've built around your financial needs in your life, and so on, so forth. And so even if you take health care, you know, you've probably got a primary care physician, you've got probably you maybe you're using neum, to help you with with like weight loss, you may have a subscription to peloton, you certainly have a health care hospital system in your life. And maybe you're tracking your house using your Apple Watch. And so, as a human being, you're creating this system of, you know, experiences and enablers, and brands and companies in the world are also responding to that by basically creating One Stop Systems, if you will. So if you think about sort of like the path of a CVS, for instance, a sort of corner store pharmacy, that's in sort of then sort of creates a mini clinic, that then buys an insurance company, Aetna, that then does some partnerships with Apple Health, and now is repositioning themselves around being a one stop shop, sort of health care solution system, for the human, we choose humans are creating those. And so you need a frame of how to think about that complexity. Even if you're only providing a part of that ecosystem to the customers that solution, while you're trying to sort of stitch together all of it, need to create a frame by which you and your stakeholders can see opportunity in the same way together. And therefore then sort of can lay out a plan that are all sort of part of. And we refer that sort of as as sort of the human system, if you will, that allows us to prioritize the right customers, and understand what they need. And this is often one of the first big failure points that I like to call it two things here that are sort of like absolutely stressed that you must do, if you think you've done them, you may not have done them, right, which is often companies or brands will have to determine who they believe their customer is, and they'll have size them and the value of them, and the needs and the motivations. And very often, you know, five times out of 10, we will end up helping them see that they actually don't have the right customer in mind. And they've they've locked themselves into the wrong segment. And they actually don't understand the motivations and needs. And so I'm reminded of a recent example with a CPG company that had sold historically through you know, offline for resellers and distributors and online marketplaces who sought to go direct to consumer and they were dabbling in it with with little to no success. And they were they were they were debating as a company whether this was was right for them to pursue a direct to consumer commerce relationship with a customer. And they had hired us and and you know, in weeks time, I mean from six to eight weeks time you can do this amount of work, we've found them like the true whitespace. For them, we'd found for them, the actual customer segments that were going to be the most receptive to a direct customer commerce experience that they could build another revenue channel against which by the way, we're different than ones that we're planning on. And then we did quant and qual and qual to understand studies to understand more about motivations and needs. And that that exercise always seems to sort of get pushed aside that six to eight week exercise to do that. Because the exercise when done well, it's money incredibly well spent, because it creates the clarity of not just this is the segment to go after. But ideally, that also has a roadmap attached to that eight week exercise where you then understand what they need, what is the experience, you need to create a cross? What channels? What is the data you need to collect? And how do you need to leverage that data. And then what are the the technology systems and platforms you put in place, or migrate to enable that, and then you build a business case on top of that, to show the return on that. And that only takes six to eight weeks does not need to take months or years. And with that comes the moon declaring their freedom, that you now have to make the right choices. And that should be if you're working the right partner, service provider and tag me talk about this later on. That service provider not only should have expertise in your in your industry vertical, but ideally has other vertical expertise to sort of lend to your problem. But they also should be creating experience prototype along with that business case, not roadmap. So you've got the roadmap, you've got the business case, and you have a vision of what it's going to look like. And those things combined allow you to make then the next step forward, which is often then thinking about the experience itself. I'll pass it back to Tiffany.


Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson  17:03  

Super interesting when you brought up the example, that six week process with that brand, who were the stakeholders that were in the room working on that?


Kenneth Parks  17:14  

Well, often, you know, it's interesting, going back to the fragmentation thing, often you can tell right away, there has to be a commitment at the very top of the organization to modern customer experience, period. And so you're going to find your stakeholders are going to be crossed the organization. So often the champion either has to be a CEO, who's been anointed to work across the organization, our main very, in fact actually be the champion, maybe the seat seat, the CEO of the company, we often find, because it takes some time to break down through the silos and the fragments of a company to do ordain, you know, that this is something needs to happen. But the stakeholders and within that are often you know, someone who owns data and insights, someone who owns the often the Chief Digital Officer or commerce leader, the CMO, and then the CIO, or CTO CIO, really is a cross functional team. There may be a program leader, which may be the CTO for instance, or the head of commerce, but it needs that sort of like cross capability group. As you often as you kind of see on the phone here today, right? We've got me as a CMO, Erin was, you know, Chief Design Officer and creative officer and Jerry, who's, who happens to be our CTO, and that's the group you need. But but you most important, in addition to this, the right stakeholders will own this, you're going to need somebody across that can actually break across the, the fragmentation of the organization. And oftentimes, it's someone that's appointed to do that, like a chief customer officer, or more often than not, we're actually it's for us, it's actually the CEO of the company itself.


Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson  18:57  

Powerful to to have the data. I also experienced that with transformation in when I worked in home decor. And everybody has opinions and has assumptions of like, Who is that customer and what they want. And you're really not going to sway that opinion, until there's really solid data to prove that you're wrong, you know, so I think that's so powerful and eliminates a lot of friction. And, I guess, stress in between internal teams, being able to look at that as the source of truth, and it gives you that light for your roadmap. So awesome. Let's say we have a question here. All right, what tools are used to determine who is the right customer target, and how to segment that target? So


Kenneth Parks  19:51  

is that a question for me right when the panel a Ted can answer that I can add the answer that I mean,


Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson  19:55  

yes, whoever feels comfortable answering it's a great question.


Kenneth Parks  19:59  

 I can tee it up a bit, maybe Ted. You'd love to add? Sure, I'm sure you got tons on this. But you know, if it's an existing customer base, and we're looking to extract more value on an existing customer base the client has, which is sometimes many times the ask Ryan. And then they're looking for look alikes that's read their existing customers, we often use a bunch of basically machine learning tools, right, where we will take lots of datasets in into one place. And then we'll do machine learning to look for patterns across the customer base. And then that will begin to sort of like farm groupings, if you will, right. And then we can go in and do you as a business, you'd want to go in and then do further overlays. On top of that, for instance, you might want to do some qualitative research to understand the needs and motivations more such like that. On the external side, it's not dissimilar, where, you know, you're either using a combination of the client's existing customers, and then you're going out and you're doing maybe a quant study of, you know, let's say you're in financial services, or you're in CPG, you're doing a quant study, cross whatever to 3000 participants, and you're actually designing a study right to actually get at what that ML tool was doing for existing, you're looking for patterns, right, and then you're creating segments. And then often we would do Klein to do probably get some kind of a qualitative study in conjunction with that, which has a much smaller, you know, test set, which we'll get then get to the show that more conversational mode, and sort of, you know, motivations and the like, and then you can use other sources like for that CPG client, then we combined that with census data to help us with the sizing. So we knew there was a population looks like these segments that were would be, have a high propensity to spend with this new digital commerce experience, we then understand the more qual, but then we have to understand the size of them. So the client can understand like, is there enough for us to make a, you know, a revenue channel here. And so then we use like, in that case, we use, for instance, census data, to help sort of get at populations where these segments lived. And so there's many ways using many different external data sources, quite honestly, and tools to use either internal or external sizing and sort of understanding of segments, can I'm sure you got more to add on this area,


Ted Schadler  22:22  

we probably spend a whole hour talking about it. That just made me two quick things I might add, you really have covered so much the ground on that one can building a business case, as you say, looking for your addressable market. And it will vary by segment, of course, and things like propensity to buy will vary by segment. So there's two tools that I would maybe later on one is you can put together, sort of consumer voice panels of those various segments to a cheaper qual, but double click to find out what some of the blockers might be. Because the experience expectations could vary a lot by segment. And it's not, you can't use a proxy like aiming for something like that, you really have to get into a nuance of behavior. The second thing is this, taking this combination you're talking about use it to build a business case, but you don't want vendor lock and load for the next few years. Right, you want to be learning as you go. So this is I think, something that people need to be building into their, into their mindset as they're starting to do this. And I don't mean landed, expand or MVP, I don't mean that I just mean that as you are starting to develop the market, the market is changing under you. And you need to be very mindful of how it's landing and also where to go next within that group you've defined and also then what the JSON groups are. And that leads to a prioritization or that leads to a business case that sharp with clarity, and then also lets you fan out as you as you learn more. Awesome.


Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson  23:52  

I get and keep those questions coming in, put them in the chat that q&a bar or feel free to email me and we're gonna keep moving along. Yeah, Aaron, let's move it to you about experience. So looking at that digital transformation strategy? How do you translate that into this superior customer experience that inspires that customer action, but most importantly, business results?


Erin Lynch  24:17  

Yeah, so as Kenneth was talking about, so the strategy informs the optimal customer experience, right? It's providing that clarity, and I love how clarity equals freedom. That's absolutely true. And what kind of speaking about is that the strategy gives us the key pieces, we need the creative team to put it into action, right? Like what audience that's what we were talking about the exact behaviors, what are those behaviors that we design around, that's going to drive value for the business and the customers and then how much to invest? So really, like that's the why and the creative is responsible for the what? Right so what are the ideal experiences that are designed or around these human behaviors for this specific audience that's going to drive value. And as far as alignment, I'm going to go back to that a little bit, because alignment is absolutely in the creative process as well. And we always start out with a clear and mutually agreed upon vision, right? This clarity needs to be put into words. Sometimes we call it a CX platform, and it is, it's an objective or a Northstar. It kind of floats above the system of the holistic customer experience. And this this CX platform, it serves to inspire and align both the internal stakeholders, right, you really basically need to get right off of all the internal stakeholders, as well as the same platform is going to draft the brief for the ideation of individual experiences. So whatever the individual stakeholders are signing off on, that's what those briefs are based on. So the experiences falling out from them are all laddering up to this one thought, which is what came from the strategy and then trickle down into the creative process. So really, like this is key and getting that alignment, because not having a clear vision makes it impossible to make the connection with all of the parts. So just talking about alignment, I think in all stages of this is huge. I just also did touch upon health care a little bit because it just it's it's an industry I'm really interested in we have a lot of work going on in healthcare space. But when you're talking about alignment when you're talking about creating, creating human systems and connections, like there's no industry that deserves a superior customer experience more than healthcare, particularly now, right, because the customers like their patients or their caregiver of patients, so, um, you know, we've had several opportunities at Hero to partner with healthcare systems across the country, that is a result of mergers or consolidations, they're very disparate experiences across all of their legacy websites, their apps, their contact centers, right. And we've been successfully able to align the key stakeholders come up with that signal, singular vision, grounded in human truths wrapped around behaviors. And these again, these are patient truths, right. So they're really important. And we're moving forward with creating one unified system. And I think healthcare kind of touched about touched upon CVS, but I think healthcare this space, when we're talking about human systems, when you're talking about connections, healthcare is a fascinating space when you think about all the disruptors and CVS is a really good example. Because if you think about prior to 2006, they were just simply your local corner drugstore. Right? They were kind of if you lived in then Manhattan, it was Duane Reade, but CVS is like were equally as all over the place, you know, 2006, they acquired MinuteClinic 2007. Caremark 2017, at non very recently, I think it closed at the end of last year signify health. So this vertical integration strategy, you know, super smart, because they have all the pieces that can fulfil the promise of this omni channel, retail health system. But do they have like the digital infrastructure to connect them all to really like they have a system now of all these disparate products through these acquisitions? But then do they have the connectors to make it a human system? We don't have them as a client love to have them as a client, but like, not sure what they're doing about that. But it's just something I love to keep an eye on, because I think the acquisition of things is happening across all industries. And once you have an ecosystem of things, how do you put the human layer over that? And how do you connect all of these things? So anyway, like Amazon, their purchase of one medical UnitedHealth Group, they all have these really interesting acquisitions going on. And I think it's just a very interesting space to keep an eye on as we're thinking about this digital transformation of the future and human systems.


Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson  29:27  

It's so interesting, too. And we hear a lot too about the challenges of that industry and compliance and laws and that adds a whole nother layer to the complexity of it, but it is interesting, I guess, step one is Yeah, acquisition and buying it all up and now we're rubber hits the road is don't get out of make them all holistically work together. Yeah, exactly. Yeah, yeah. Very, very fascinating. Friendly, reminder, questions, chats, put in the q&a or the chat bar, tag it and toss it over to you. So from your lens? How do you align the stakeholders to prioritise a roadmap and deliver the outcomes that the organization is


Ted Schadler  30:07  

seeking? Yeah, that's so we touched on this a little bit, a few minutes ago. And I want to double click there, giving you some Forrester points of view and some language that we use called Value orchestration. And before we do that, though, I thought maybe I could touch a little bit on Aaron, what you were just talking about, with the stitching together a lot of parts into a single service single person, a patient or caregiver as you, as you pointed out? Well, I can't comment specifically on the brand new mention, I am aware of another human centred system, I like that, that way of expressing it, we've called them dynamic ecosystems of value, which is way less, you know, accessible. Another provider in the healthcare space, and they, they're actually public on saying some of this, I won't mention their names, we're not kind of allowed to in this forum, but they did create that North Star they did, which is, in this case, the patient, and that patient or star, both the experience and the kind of impact the relevance if you like, a guy's all have their alignment internally, and also with partners. And so they've created this very powerful, very simple agreement that does come from the top, the CEO is the one who sponsors this commitment. And it is used to resolve a lot of kind of internal questions and conflicts and, and importantly, prioritization so that they can move forward to create that more connected more integrated portfolio that provides the outcome for the patient in this case. So it's it's a quite powerful motivator. And it varies a lot by sector, I would say. So some categories, you know, think about luxuries and example, is pretty far down that path and other categories within the consumer world are not. Banks have made some pretty good progress, particularly some notably, some notable ones. So it is it is possible, the way they do it, is what I wanted to touch on here to answer your question is that they create alignment by sort of methodologically, they have a formal mechanism to create alignment and to stay on the path together. And so we call that alignment, value orchestration. Yeah, kind of a crazy word. But there are four main steps to it. And the first one touches counts on what you said, and Aaron, what you built on, which is you need to know what the heck you're doing. And what that Northstar metric is. So there's a lot of time putting into the put into the upfront, call it discovery. Part of that is assembling the pieces, the parts that contributors internally, there's a lot that goes into that. Actually, there's a book called strategic speed where the author says, You go fast, it goes, you go slow to go fast. And I think that's a really elegant way to express it. So that step is critical. Without that, you're just going to flail. And so it's almost like a, if you're working on that Taenia, ask yourself, Oh, we got clarity yet. Or if we created that ability to understand what operations is doing, what tech is doing, what marketing is doing, what the product team is doing, what the channel operations people are doing. Do, we have a line that includes design and build and all that analytics and operations. That sounds like a lot of work, and it is. But when you're doing a transformation of this impact at scale, it's necessary, then you move into this cycle of iterative improvement, design orchestrate if you like, it's not just design build, because you're incorporating parts from from third parties from partners, you are assembling your internal capabilities, you might have to re engineer our process, right, you intend to hire some people, and you may need to eliminate some manual steps and automate them. So it's not just the build the website, ever. That's a manifestation of a single if you like representation. And so that's iterative. And that's going to be done in sprints. And there's going to be a three month review. Like three month review, it's about the right cadence for an executive team to come together and spend the time to say where are we at? What's getting in our way? What's working well, what resources do we have? Which ones are we missing? Is it working? Should we shut the whole thing down? Should we redirect resources that requires either one of those people kind of view articulated from each group or their direct direct representative? Without that you just get this you get Pickering, you get doesn't work? You want this? So then the fourth piece of it and this is all often missing in the upfront, but you're building this thing for the long haul. This is not a project, you're building an operation. And so how do you optimize that? How do you extend it? How do you make sure you can scale it? How do you make sure you can you can operate it, are you going to outsource the operations to somebody else are you going to insource it. So these four steps discovery, design orchestrate, iterative and and then operate, have very different characteristics of success. And a lot of times people focus on the design build. And they might do some strategy work rarely as completely, as Kenneth just described, I think is laudable and almost never worth thinking about the long term operations on it. And so this is called Value orchestration. I'll give you one example. It is in the public domain. It's the New York Department of Education, New York City. And they had a crisis, as everybody did with COVID hit. And they had to empower their teachers or administrators and their students, many of whom did not have Wi-Fi at home or net at home or a device to learn remotely. And they had about 678 months to do it. So they brought in an outside provider, they worked with all the major folks, you could think of the cell devices, they worked with the the wireless networks, and they pulled all those pieces together, to not just make students successful, but to make teachers and administrators successful as well. So it was quite a powerful example of kind of high speed concentrated, highly motivated value orchestration. And to me, it's a nice story, and had a great results are probably best you could imagine. And, and they did it because that urgency gave everybody motivation to, to participate. So that's, that's how you do it. It's not easy. And so if you're just getting started here and thinking, Oh, how am I going to possibly get this done, what you do is you pick an array, you do not either span a control yourself, or you and your buddy, somebody who you're you're working very closely with already that's committed as you are, and you pull your resources, you pull your energy, and you start where you have the ability to get it done. But you bring people went along the way and you document it. So you have evidence that it works, that the technique of iterative, of dynamic of collaborative works, and that that demonstrates success. And over time you build the engine, you build the organizational competency to do this, because we will be transforming forever, this is never gonna be a one and done ever. Cycles move too fast. expectations change too quickly. Technology changes and empowers in different ways every single day. So this is a constant state of being. And we have to collectively get really good at.


Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson  38:03  

Love that. Yeah. And I think to celebrating the wins. And the losses or the fails, is very powerful. And being able to keep watch together to see it build up, brings excitement to all the teams for what I witness is more engagement and seeing it to the end and seeing the change that's being made in the positive impact gets people more on board and more motivated to keep working towards the goal. So well, we have talked about technology will component and all this. And since Jerry has been around since the beginning of the internet, wasn't that the exact words? We've seen a lot Jerry so but it toss it over to you. So brands, we know brands want to create a seamless, frictionless experience. But they are up against a lot. There's a lot of challenges out there. So how do they make it


Jerry Orabona  38:56  

a reality? So as Kenneth and Erin already mentioned, you really need to start with a clear vision. And we often see parallel tracks coming out of it and marketing. They're running at full speed at the same time. But one of them has to come first, right you need in my opinion, you need the marketing strategy and the vision of what it is that we're going to produce to empower users and how does it affect them from a human perspective before we can decide what the technological implications are and so what would take calls value orchestration I call planning and so if if you land on the on a solid strategy, which doesn't need to take forever, right, as cannon said, six to eight 12 weeks maybe. And then you need to have a robust enough planning cycle to get everybody together and decide where the touch points are. And in Erin's great CVS example, you know how many systems need to be brought together before we can start bringing value to the user. And in which order, because while in the end, you may want to do it all, but time and money is limited. And so what we saw coming out of COVID, is a real pressure on speed to value. And that forces us to be really specific about the order in which we do things and, and how the systems necessary to facilitate those interactions. Back in the old days, of the hammer and chisel, we used to be happy to have a content management system, right, and just not to have to code pages by hand. And, and now I think if you're operating at scale, and you want to deliver a personalized experience, you have to do an entire enterprise architecture, and see how the marketing systems fit into that before you even begin. And if you're not considering a CDP, or some repository to hold an action, first party data, you're probably missing out. And then of course, we're all bound by the endless security reviews and requirements and considerations, and that you've got to do up front or you're going to architect yourself a problem. Came back. Thank


Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson  41:44  

you. So then going back, let's say to Ted, maybe this is a question for you, you know, where does that experience and relevance intersect? So how can a brand know they're relevant in today's fast moving world? Yeah, like, because you had said earlier, it is always changing, you're always going to be transforming. Yeah. How do you know and keep up?


Ted Schadler  42:10  

Yeah, good. Good. There's two ways I think we can think about that today, one just builds directly on our tennis launched us, which is that it has to be meaningful to customer, it has to be meaningful to a business and then a building on Jerry's thoughts about the technology, architecture, data is a critical enabler of that. So turning insights into action means having the data in a place where you can do it. Well guess what that data is the place where you can bring experience and relevance together. When you've got a common point of view about how that engagement drove your business, and what satisfaction and value it delivered to your customer in a single place, now, you've actually connected the dots. And so an example of that, in action. Going back to Jerry's point, is if you've got a CMS that you've instrumented, in this way, a content management system or web experience that you've instrumented in this way, then you can actually, in an automated way, optimize that experience, to create highest relevance, as represented by somebody's purchase, and maybe lifetime value either. And so there's a tremendous amount of connectedness that happens with that experience and that relevant. So that's sort of a mechanical way to think about it. When you think about it from a sort of a strategy point of view, we use the Customer Experience Index, Forrester, it's an approach we've been using for 20 odd years. Now, it's a very comprehensive analysis of brands in categories in markets, that combines the experience and relevance as expressed by the value that the customer received from the experience. And that connection gives us a way to both measure brands against each other, as well as to give brands very specific guidance as to which channels, which experiences which segments of their of their population, their audience, their customers, are experienced as having this experience. And so that conceptual framework of experience and relevance being measurable, is extremely helpful in deciding what to do, where to invest further, where you maybe have micro segments, and it's not paying off would be an example. The other thing about relevance, it's so so hard, and it's implied by your question, Tiffany, is that it changes every day. What was acceptable yesterday is no longer acceptable. And that's because the world moves so quickly. This is one of the kind of challenges and anything that takes time to stand up in any kind of, if you like, strategy that is not malleable and really deeply sensitive to the nuances of the market. And so whether it's a technology change, like chat DBT or it's a society It'll impact and COVID was one that's pretty universal. But there are many others as we experienced almost every day in the news. And so we need to be thoughtful, really thoughtful about what we're doing what we're presenting to customers and making sure that we're not missing a relevance shift that has happened that we just didn't pick up the signal on because we weren't really paying attention. So there is a sensitivity this is what I mean by the operations. Are the operations need to include this continuous insight into how relevant are we as the context for relevance changes? And so there's both a mechanical then and a conceptual way to think about it that mean best in class brands? Do. Most companies have stitched together in that way? Yeah. Awesome.


Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson  45:52  

For the remainder questions, comments, but in the q&a, or chat bar? Kenneth, let's go back to you. And from your experience, your Why do so many digital transformation projects end up failing to meet their objective? Oh, you're on mute. Gotcha.


Kenneth Parks  46:12  

Sorry, incentive? In some ways that question can be also equally flipped around, like, What must you avoid to make sure you succeed? I would say building off where Ted was. I think the overarching notion is Pace, pace, pace, like, chat GPT, most brands did not exist. And then one weekend, they woke up on a Monday, and it existed. And within a week, there was a million subscribers. I don't know, I'd venture to guess Facebook probably took eight to 10 months to get a million subscribers when they started. So the pace of change is absolutely relentless. And the only thing will that will be a constant in our lives is rapid change. And so even the things Jerry talked about, like, you know, API driven architecture, allowing brands to sort of overcome legacy technology obstacles, to allow you to move with speed. So it's all about speed, speed, speed. So I think the first one is like failure to act. Now, we had a manufacturing company client recently say to us, they want to do like a massive CRM initiative. And they don't, and then they declared us like, we want to wait, we're not ready, we want to wait a year. And my response is like, you can't actually wait. Because I can guarantee you because we know we're working on your competitors. They're not waiting. They're solving this problem now. And so even just I recommend you take the first step, create, like, identify who the priority audiences are, understand them, create the plan or the strategy, create the business plan, that then creates the clarity as to what you need to do, when you need to do it. And what you need to be able to pull that off, then you can decide and wait to get those things in place. So unless you get that clarity, you don't know what you're waiting for. So don't wait, take the first step, create the plan, because that will give you the clarity of what you need to do and where you need to invest. No, you need to pull that off, then I think the third thing is that I think it's it's just where Aaron was, which is you, when you think about the experience, you may start in the place, you may start in the commerce part of the experience, or maybe it's in the loyalty part of the experience, or the upfront funnel, where you're acquiring a new customer. So you may pick a place in the journey or this the ecosystem of that consumer while you start. But if you aren't thinking about the whole, the part will be wrong in in two months time where Ted was, because the part ones did anything else. And so you do have to think about the whole the whole human system to understand how to optimise a part. Because the next building block will be another part in the in the sequence of the customer journey. And you want to make sure both those parts actually work together. So it's thinking about the whole while maybe solving for a part. And then I think we're Jerry maybe Ted was as well, which is like, the technology is like, yes, you need to think about the audience and the vision and then think about your technology environment. But you also need to make sure you work with the right people in inside outside your organization. So the people you're working with to help you evolve your technology environment. Do they know the vertical space in which you work in? Have they done it before? Are they wreck making recommendations are not just all rip and replace, but some of them might just be augmentation? Are they trying their best to make your current investments and technology work better? And then figuring out what else you need versus sort of like recommending lots of disruption. And so there's ways to sort of create the environment you need to enable all this experience to capture the value he talked about. In a way there are baby steps. There's a lot a lot of modern tech right now that sits between legacy systems. systems that allows you to sort of bend and twist, legacy technology to your new will, depending on a new sort of, like feature or function of, of an experience might be. So I would say it's all those things. But I think the biggest thing is like creating clarity around the entire thing, and then focusing on the parts that matter, sort of, we didn't get low hanging fruit successes. And I think that's where you get early success, you can then sort of sell up through the rest of the organization to take on the next part, the next part, tie that thought of thinking around this area in particular, especially around choosing the right partner. Yeah, and let's like


Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson  50:38  

talk about the right partner, because we get that question a lot, too, is like, how do you choose the right partner to ensure you're gonna succeed? Toss that over


Ted Schadler  50:46  

there? Yeah, no, he put me on the spot here.


Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson  50:51  

Love to do that. Sorry.


Ted Schadler  50:53  

No, of course, that's what we do at Forrester. So I've been tracking what we call digital experience agencies or service providers for about a decade now. And, boy, if you compare where folks are today, from where everybody was 10 years ago, it's just dramatic, how many changes and how much improvement there is overall. So our model for thinking about this, we called co innovation, you want to co innovation partner, somebody that can help you bring together all your internal parts in your external parts to accomplish your goal. And so they're part of probably three or four characteristics we recommend you look for. One is, do they have the expertise end to end? Can they help you with all parts of it? And by expertise, I don't just mean do they have skills and people? But do they understand both your needs your industry needs and as Ken pointed out earlier, can they bring in best practices from other industries, other categories, other other brands, even in order to make sure you're getting the best insight, the best advice here? The second element is we call it alliances that to or to build solutions. So does the provider have their relationships with software, cloud data, platform providers that allow them to bring those external ecosystem parts together for you. And there are a lot of ways to augment what you have inside, you don't have to throw it all away as, as we just heard, but you still need somebody that can do that external value creation, that solution arising with you and for you. Now, the third thing is you want your provider to bring something to the party, an asset, a solution, a data model, some specific wisdom. And so there's a lot of solutioning that is driven by the assets that a provider can bring to you. So you put all that together and you energize it with outcomes and outcomes based portion of the compensation and that creates high alignment, high motivation. And that's going to be a recipe for success. So we call that CO innovation partnership. Fantastic.


Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson  53:04  

Well, I think we are at time. While that wouldn't best, though, some great information. And huge thanks to our panelists today. Thank you all for joining. We definitely encourage follow up conversations with your digital. And thank you, Ted for being a guest speaker from Forrester. And we'd love to have a conversation with you. That's how we get the topic ideas for future events. So feel free to email me So with that, happy Tuesday, take care. Stay safe. Most importantly, spread the kindness. Take care y'all, everyone. Bye, everybody.

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