Why citizen integrators are today’s architects of customer experience

By Nada daVeiga

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about customer experience (CX) and the most direct, most effective ways for companies to transform it. As I recently blogged, data is the centerpiece – the metaphorical cake, as it were, compared to the martech frosting – of creating winning customer experiences.

That being said, which internal organization could possibly be better than marketing, to shape customer experience?

Nearly every enterprise function shapes CX

As it turns out, there are many teams within the modern enterprise that serve as CX architects. Think of all the different groups that contribute to customer engagement, acquisition, retention, and satisfaction: marketing, sales, service, and support are the most obvious, but what about product development, finance, manufacturing, logistics, and shipping? All of these functions impact the customer experience, directly or indirectly, and thus should be empowered to improve it through unbridled data access.

This point of view is reflected in SnapLogic’s new white paper, “Integration in the age of the customer: The five keys to connecting and elevating customer experience.” From it, a key thought:

[W]ho should corral the data? The best outcomes from customer initiatives happen when the business takes control and leads the initiative. The closer the integrators are to the customer, the better they can put themselves in their customers’ shoes and understand their needs. Often, they have a clear handle on metrics, the business processes, the data, and real-world customer experiences, whether they’re in marketing, sales, or service, and are the first to see how the changes they’re making are improving customer experience — or not.

Democratizing data integration

Because most departmental leaders in sales, service, and marketing are typically not familiar with programming, they look for integration solutions that provide click-not-code graphical user interfaces (GUIs) that enable a visual, intuitive process to democratize customer data integration. SnapLogic believes that GUI-driven, democratic data integration is an essential first step in empowering today’s CX architects to gain the analytic insight they need to improve customer experience.

In short, we believe that “citizen integrator” is really just another name for “citizen innovator;” fast, easy, seamless data integration shatters stubborn barriers to CX innovation by igniting exploration and problem-solving creativity.

To learn how to design your integration strategy to improve customer experience across the organization, download the white paper, “Integration in the age of the customer: The five keys to connecting and elevating customer experience.” In it, you’ll find actionable insights on how to optimize your organization’s data integration strategy to unlock CX innovation, including:

  • Why you need to ensure your organization’s integration strategy is customer-focused
  • How to plan around the entire customer lifecycle
  • Which five integration strategies help speed customer analytics and experience initiatives
  • How to put the odds of customer success in your favor

Nada daVeiga is VP Worldwide Pre-Sales, Customer Success, and Professional Services at SnapLogic. Follow her on Twitter @nrdaveiga.

Less frosting, more cake: Data integration transforms customer experience

By Nada daVeiga

I’ll start with the frosting. As far as I can tell, it’s been the Year of the Customer for several years now. During this time, every company has gotten the “customer experience” (CX) religion – improve it or die. Thousands of software applications have emerged during what’s now called the Age of the Customer, focused on improving CX by providing the right individual with the right interaction or information, at the right time.

The Age of the Customer has spawned an entirely new software category, marketing technology (martech), chronicled tirelessly by industry analyst Scott Brinker, who goes by @chiefmartec on Twitter. His oft-shared, visual history of the martech product landscape looks like this:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of the 2017 marketing technology landscape, Brinker notes:

  • There are now 5,381 solutions on the graphic, 39 percent more than last year
  • There are now 4,891 unique companies on the graphic, up 40 percent from last year
  • Only 4.7% of the solutions from 2016 were removed (and another 3.5 percent changed in some fundamental way – their name, their focus, or their ownership)[1]

Where’s the cake?

My point is that there is a lot of frosting here – thousands of applications designed to address the sexiest elements of customer experience. But what’s missing is cake. Data is the cake onto which martech frosting should be added. Integrated enterprise data is the foundation for effective CX strategies to be built on because otherwise, you’re just playing an expensive guessing game.

That’s where enterprise integration comes in. With the expansion of digital channels and new customer initiatives, the variety and volume of customer signals are more diverse than ever. Beyond classical CRM systems around sales and service, understanding the customer lifecycle means bringing together data from, in addition to martech apps, sources including social media, websites, field service, quote management apps, and Internet-enabled things like mobile devices to sensors.

Bake the cake – integrate your enterprise data

More than ever, your company needs to focus on the cake of data, and the enterprise integration required to create it. The good news is, today’s enterprise integration cloud solutions make it easier than ever to build a rich data foundation for comprehensive, effective initiatives in the Age of the Customer.

To learn how to design your integration strategy to enable success with your customer initiatives, download the white paper, “Integration in the age of the customer: The five keys to connecting and elevating customer experience.” In it, you’ll find actionable insights on how to optimize your organization’s data integration strategy for the digital customer, including:

  • Why you need to ensure your organization’s integration strategy is customer-focused
  • How to plan around the entire customer lifecycle
  • Which five integration strategies help speed customer analytics and experience initiatives
  • How to put the odds of customer success in your favor

Download the white paper today!

Nada daVeiga is VP Worldwide Pre-Sales, Customer Success, and Professional Services at SnapLogic. Follow her on Twitter @nrdaveiga.

[1]Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic (2017): Martech 5000,” Scott Brinker, May 10, 2017.

 

 

 

Data integration and best practices in the age of the digital customer

Nada-headshotBy Nada daVeiga

Organizations are competing more than ever based on how they engage with customers. It’s become a vital part of the enterprise digital transformation agenda. Yet in the rush, integration, a foundational element, is often overlooked in the haste to deploy new digital customer applications and experiences. McKinsey recently observed that “Integrating new processes with legacy systems in a cost-efficient way is a challenge most companies face when they digitize their customer. [1]

Why does it matter, and why is it such a big obstacle anyway?

The problem is that a lack of integration can quickly become transparent to customers. In retail, lack of strong integration between an e-commerce system and the CRM or ERP can result in website ordering, pricing, or shopping cart issues that aren’t visible to customer service. This lack of integration often results in customer frustration or a lost sale. In B2B, poor integration between the CRM and ERP can also lead to incorrectly rekeyed customer or order information, resulting in downstream invoicing issues.

But why is it so hard to pull together more integrated customer processes? Because there are just so many applications within the enterprise that manage a part of the customer process.

For example, a recent study by Ventana Research on customer analytics found that 40 percent of respondents worked with 14 different types of data across at least 6 different systems to derive customer insight. [2]

Five key strategies to connect and elevate your customer experience

With integration being the biggest barrier, let’s look at five strategies key to connecting and elevating the customer experience.

  1. Start with analytics, grow to experience

Why this sequencing? Simply, we have to start somewhere in order to measure key metrics, since only things measured can be improved. Getting a clear 360-degree view of the customer – with metrics around customer satisfaction, engagement, churn, and acquisition – provides the blueprint for targeting the best opportunities to upgrade customer experience.

  1. Put customer experts in control

Who better than the sales or service team to put themselves in the customer’s shoes? Often analytics projects can quickly become an IT-led project. While IT has an incredibly important role to play, in governance and ensuring the efficient use of technology, experts in the lines of business should be enabled to connect the dots themselves.

  1. Customer experience is a team sport – get collaborative

The chances are one of your customer process steps will likely depend on another team’s app. Or the data needed for your analytics project will be within another team’s control. With so much cross-departmental integration, ensure different teams are using the same integration platform to maximize reuse.

  1. Plan to keep pace with customer touchpoint variety

Having to perform hand-coded API integrations or costly custom integrations just to keep pace is a sure way to drain budgets. Ensure your integration platform connects with your current apps, whether you’re running Salesforce, NetSuite, SAP, Oracle, or any other app, as well as the ones you plan to use in the future, without requiring having to build connectivity.

  1. Customer data is your fastest growing asset – prepare to scale

There’s often no faster growing asset in the enterprise than customer data. And not just data, the sheer number of workflows around customer experience are set to skyrocket. Choose an integration platform that’ll keep pace. Because being forced to switch customer integration platforms later can quickly put the brakes on a customer experience initiative.

Set the foundation for customer experience success

To learn how to design your integration strategy to enable success with your customer initiatives, watch our webcast, “Data integration best practices in the age of the digital customer,” featuring Michele Goetz, Principal Analyst, Forrester Research Inc, and Ravi Dharnikota, Chief Enterprise Architect, SnapLogic. You’ll take away actionable insights for ensuring your organization’s data integration strategy is optimized for the digital customer. Register today!

Nada daVeiga is VP Worldwide Pre-Sales, Customer Success, and Professional Services at SnapLogic. Follow her on Twitter @nrdaveiga.

 

[1]Digitizing customer journeys and processes: Stories from the front lines,” McKinsey, May 2017.

[2]The Next Generation of Customer Analytics,” Ventana Research, February 2014.

 

 

 

Onboarding contingent workers: Can your HR processes handle it?

Nada-headshotIt’s not just Lyft drivers and TaskRabbit taskers. Contingent workers — workers who are part-time, temporary, or often both — form a rapidly growing proportion of the overall US workforce:

  • 17% of the US workforce in 1989[1]
  • 36% in 2015[2]
  • Projected 43% by 2020[3]

Contingent workers, the cornerstone of the Gig Economy, have been the subject of countless headlines and conversations for several years. But while picking up a few bucks on the weekends driving for Uber is now mainstream, the companies that hire contingent workers still struggle with how to on- and off-board them efficiently. In an age when every moment of productivity counts, onboarding processes that are slowed by legacy systems present a significant drag on revenues and profitability.

Catching the productivity thief: poor integration

Take, for example, a venerable national restaurant chain on a hot streak of growth. To handle increased demand, more cooks needed be hired — in the midst of a national shortage of cooks. In the face of this dire shortage, literally every moment of productivity counted at the restaurant chain. To onboard new cooks in moments, not hours or days, the restaurant chain’s CIO embarked on a cloud-first strategy, intent on automating key HR processes and reducing costs. The company deployed Workday Human Capital Management (HCM) and ServiceNow, and set out to integrate the cloud applications with legacy on-premise Oracle applications using Informatica PowerCenter.

Several months into a proof of concept (POC) exercise, the project stalled due to the complexity, expense and slowness of the integration process.

SnapLogic speeds integration — and business results

Recognizing that a radically different integrated business solutions were needed, the restaurant chain chose the SnapLogic Enterprise Integration Cloud to accelerate its transition. Here, the company’s goal was twofold:

  • Automate critical current and future workflows, such as employee on- and off-boarding, across Workday, Oracle applications and multiple point solutions. This comprised:
    • Onboarding cooks quickly and getting these new employees productive as fast as possible, having enrolled them in applicable benefits programs, provisioned uniforms and automated other new-employee actions.
    • Off-boarding departing employees as quickly as possible to reduce risk to the company.
  • Reduce the complexity and cost of the initial integrations, as well as their maintenance.

Using SnapLogic, the restaurant chain achieved all of its goals. It completed the complex Workday integration project in a matter of days, a dramatic contrast to its protracted, unsuccessful Informatica PowerCenter POC initiative.

With SnapLogic integration Snaps in place, and new Snaps easily added, the restaurant chain has a flexible foundation to handle future data and process integrations with speed and ease. And, because the Workday integration was executed at a fraction of the time and cost of using Informatica PowerCenter, SnapLogic was a direct catalyst to the restaurant chain achieving its digital transformation goals.

The SnapLogic Enterprise Integration Cloud, a self-service integration platform, makes it fast and easy to connect data, applications and devices. In doing so, SnapLogic eliminates business silos and technology bottlenecks, helping companies of all kinds to more efficiently manage their contingent workforces.

Bonus: reduce the cost of Workday integrations by up to 90% 

Find out how SnapLogic can accelerate the integration of Workday applications into enterprise environments, reducing associated time and costs by up to 90%. Register today for the webcast “How rapid Workday integration drives digital transformation.”

 

Nada daVeiga is VP Worldwide Pre-Sales, Customer Success, and Professional Services at SnapLogic. Follow her on Twitter @nrdaveiga.

 

[1] Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, via Intuit

[2] Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Census, via Intuit

[3] Source: Intuit Contingent Workforce Forecast 2015

Workday integrations “on sale”: How to save up to 90%

Nada-headshotBy Nada daVeiga

Macy’s. NastyGal. The Limited. BCBG. No, that’s not a shopping itinerary. These stores are just a short list of the major retailers that soon will be closing hundreds of stores. Some are declaring bankruptcy. Why? In conjunction with the massive shift to online shopping, retailers have trained consumers to shop only when merchandise is “on sale.”

Why pay retail for Workday integration platforms?

It’s still a bit of a mystery, then, why many enterprises will pay “full retail” to integrate their applications. Let’s take Workday applications, for example. Workday HCM and Workday Financial Management are rapidly gaining traction as enterprise systems of record; thousands of companies are choosing these apps to help drive digital transformation, and to move with more speed and agility.

However, enterprises are often challenged to implement Workday quickly and cost-effectively. Associated migration, integration, and implementation services typically cost up to two and a half times of the Workday software cost* due to:

  • Customization: Most enterprises require at least 12 weeks to tailor core Workday software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications to their business processes and needs; integration with other enterprise applications is a separate, additional implementation phase.
  • Complexity of Workday integration offerings: In addition to third-party products such as Informatica PowerCenter, multiple integration solutions are available from Workday. Depending on requirements, enterprises need to work with one or more Workday integration tools:
    • Workday Integration Cloud Connect provides pre-built integrations to common applications and service providers that extend Workday’s functionality. These include Human Capital Management, Payroll, Payroll interface, Financial Management and Spend Management.

      While Workday Cloud Connect has “pre-built” integrations, mapping, changing and customizing them is still labor- and consulting-intensive.

    • Workday Enterprise Interface Builders (EIB) enable simple integrations with Workday, i.e., importing data into Workday from a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet for tasks such as hiring a group of employees or requesting mass compensation changes. Users can also create outbound exports of data from Workday to Excel spreadsheet.

      However, this feature does not have native integration with Microsoft Active Directory, so employee on- and off-boarding can only be accomplished via manually intensive EIBs.

    • Workday Studio is a desktop-based integrated development environment used to create complex hosted integrations, including Workday Studio Custom Integrations, the most advanced.

      The Workday Studio development environment, while powerful, is complex, consulting-heavy and costly to use.

    • Workday Web Services gives customers a programmatic public API for On-Demand Workday Business Management Services.
  • Reliance on external resources: Across industries and geographies, Workday consultants and programmers are scarce and expensive.
  • Time-intensive manual integrations: Many Workday integrations are built manually and must be individually maintained, incurring “technical debt” that robs resources from future IT initiatives.

SnapLogic can reduce the cost of Workday integrations by 90%

The SnapLogic Enterprise Integration Cloud uniquely enhances Workday HCM and Workday Financials with a built-for-the-cloud, easy to use solution optimized for both IT and business users. The building blocks of the Enterprise Integration Cloud, SnapLogic Workday Snaps, are pre-built connectors that abstract the entire Workday API visually, allowing data and processes to be quickly integrated using pre-built patterns. With SnapLogic’s Enterprise Integration Cloud, companies can use a visual tool to automate HR and financial processes between Workday applications, cloud point solutions and legacy systems.

The SnapLogic Enterprise Integration Cloud greatly increases the flexibility of HR and Financial processes, and eases the pain of adding or retiring applications, thus enabling teams to focus on more strategic business priorities. These benefits allow both IT users and “citizen integrators” to execute Workday integrations, without reliance on IT.

Attention shoppers: SnapLogic delivers

Faster time to value: Workday integrations can be done in days, not months.

  • Dramatically lower cost: Using the SnapLogic Enterprise Integration Cloud can reduce the time and cost of Workday integrations by up to 90%.*
  • No programming or maintenance required: SnapLogic’s visual orientation doesn’t require specialized consultants or Java/XML programmers to build or maintain labor-intensive, manual integrations.

Find out how SnapLogic can drive down the cost of your organization’s Workday integrations, while enabling new agility. Download the new white paper, “Cause and effect: How rapid Workday integration drives digital transformation.”

Nada daVeiga is VP Worldwide Pre-Sales, Customer Success, and Professional Services at SnapLogic. Follow her on Twitter @nrdaveiga.

 

*Savings calculated on the average cost of Workday integrations: service fees of 2.5x of the Workday license fee. Source: Workday Analyst Day, 2016.