If CX (customer experience) isn't the latest and most often-cited hot-button IT solution acronym in the business, then our name isn't eWEEK.
Customer-experience software, services and solutions are everywhere in the IT news here in the fading days of Q1 2017, starting with the world's biggest players (IBM, Facebook, Google, Adobe) and trickling down to the youngest startups.
Along these lines, cloud-application data management provider DataStax has released a set of new customer-facing tools designed to simplify and speed up interactive sales experiences between enterprises and potential customers.
At the same time, DataStax revealed new survey data from a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting that quantifies the increasing importance of online customer experience (CX again) for businesses.
IT Feels the Need for Speed
Bottom line: IT in 2017 is all about speed. If a web service or website reacts quickly and efficiently and is easy to navigate without a user needing to spend a lot of time driving it, success for both parties generally will follow.
Microsoft contends that 60 percent of device users will move to another site or service if an app doesn't respond within 3 seconds. That's how spoiled for speed users are in 2017.
CX initiatives, even though they have been a prominent corporate goal for many companies, have proven difficult to implement well. Data infrastructures required to provide real-time, contextually-aware information have been siloed in various functions and/or are stuck in legacy IT that cannot meet availability and performance needs.
This has made things like creating a real-time, comprehensive, 360-degree view of a customer extremely difficult to do well. Decision-makers driving enterprise-wide changes and for sales, service and marketing teams interacting with customers, the data-infrastructure has hindered many CX initiatives.
DataStax's approach to this problem is to liberate data from silos and unbind the technical limitations of legacy databases while making data instantly available whenever and wherever it is needed.
How to Design CX Projects
"We are not only providing a data management layer built specifically to meet those demands, but are also showing enterprises the best way to design and use that data in all of their CX projects," CEO Billy Bosworth said.
Built atop the architecture of the open-source Apache Cassandra database, DataStax Enterprise is an always-on data platform that has been battle-tested to run global applications, Bosworth said.
In aiming to help organizations reach a new level of real-time engagements with their customers, DataStax on March 15 unveiled its new DataStax CX Data Solution. Additionally, DataStax announced a new version of its flagship product, DataStax Enterprise 5.1 (DSE), to evolve its always-on data platform for modern cloud applications.
DataStax CX Data Solution Customer-facing applications are always-on and scalable, while at the same time providing instant insights and actions tailored to each specific user, Bosworth said. To do this on a daily basis, the foundation of those applications needs to be a data platform designed specifically to handle the extraordinary demands of availability and performance across a wide range of data workloads, he said.
The CX Data Solution includes the DataStax Enterprise data platform plus world-class consulting and training from experts who have helped implement some of the largest real-time data architectures in the world, along with partner integration. By aligning industry-leading data technology with CX application design expertise, DataStax customers can accelerate their time to market with reduced risk and increased flexibility for their critical CX initiatives, Bosworth said.
High-Performance Analytics in the Mix
DataStax Enterprise 5.1 brings high-performance operational analytics, simplified security management for multi-tenant applications and graph data to daily production.
The Forrester Research survey was conducted in March 2017 in the U.S., U.K., France, and Germany with 206 executives responsible for CX initiatives (C-suite, VPs, and directors) at companies of $500 million annual revenue or more, with 65 percent of the companies represented having annual revenues exceeding $1 billion.
The study uncovered the following data points, among others:
--seventy-five percent of those queried said that a business initiative involving improvement of CX through personalization was a top or high priority;
--eighty-five percent said their companies gained a competitive edge by better understanding customers;
--eighty-three percent said it was important to use data better to make CX decisions; and
--despite the importance of CX to the executives surveyed, big barriers remain to implementing an effective solution. An inability to gain real-time value from customer data was cited by 64 percent of respondents.
Forrester will release a thought leadership paper based on this survey's findings in early summer 2017;it will be made available through Forrester channels at this site.