Just do something. Go ahead and try. Fail, but fail fast. These statements were my main take aways from the recent Gartner Application Strategies summit in Las Vegas. This might seem like a “well duh” moment, but it struck me how valuable this advice is. It seems that the world is embracing an agile-like approach to just about anything. Web and mobile app development, design, analysis initiatives, you name it.
Best practices are solutions to yesterday's problems
The business world is preaching tolerance to early failures in lieu of long-term gains. On the way out are the days of long planning cycles where the business objectives change before the project even starts.
The star of the show was Frank Buytendijk, VP & Gartner Fellow, who's focus was on Advanced Data and Analytics Strategy. In line with the theme to quickly iterate on a problem, Frank said, "the only way to identify the right answer is to eliminate the wrong ones." Also, analytics efforts are more successful and have more chance to garner future investment from leadership if they are aligned to specific business problems. He shared a startling stat that 85% of analytics initiatives do not have clear objectives or the metrics they intend to impact. Yikes! While there is a place for exploratory analysis, since you don't always know what question to ask of data, larger scale initiatives should always be aligned to a key business objective.
Frank's talk on "Truth" also echoed similar thinking we have at ClickFox. In many cases there is too much focus on "the data" and analytic approaches. At the end of the day, bad decisions lead to bad business outcomes. While you need the best information available to make good decisions, "truth is not in the numbers and numbers NEVER speak for themselves". It's up to humans to interpret what the information tells us. As Marco Pacelli likes to say, "Analytics isn't about data. It's about decisions."
Customer moments AND Employee moments. This was another common theme throughout the event. Happy employees create better experiences for your customers, which of course improves customer satisfaction. Employee and Customer Satisfaction are very closely linked. Find and improve the moments that matter to both your customers and employees. Employee journeys can, and should, also be analyzed. Create customer and employee loyalty by ensuring the experiences they have with your brand are great.
So, what now?
Where do you start your next journey science initiative? Another theme from the Summit and something we certainly advocate as well is start small, then scale:
- Identify a business problem to solve
- Attack it, without boiling the ocean
- Measure changes
- Use early wins to fund continued investments
Interesting trends and other themes from the Summit:
- Customer Journey Analytics and Customer Engagement Hubs are top 10 investment for CX leaders in 2017.
- By 2020, predictive and prescriptive analytics will attract 40% of enterprises' net-new investment in BI and Analytics.
- Data is worth more shared across the enterprise than keeping it for yourself.
- Artificial Intelligence moves at the speed of data. Not at the speed of code releases.
- Intelligent data influences decisions in ways not expected.
So, what are you waiting for? Just do something. Don't be afraid to fail. Leaders need to urge their employees to act without fear. As long as intentions are good, what do you have to lose?
Come on, just do it, do it! - James Brown