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Trends 2017: Operational Excellence Will Dominate Investments in Customer Experience Management

January is that time of the year when business and technology trends start surfacing fast and furious from think tanks, research firms, journalists, and independent consultants. This year is no exception—pundits have plenty to say about trends for hot technologies, such as the internet of things (IoT), virtual reality, cognitive computing, conversational robots, just to name a few.

But, business leaders are often not so keen to hear more breathtaking news about breakthroughs in the latest hot technologies. Instead, they crave learning more about the real issues they are grappling with, such as how to get new and existing technologies, systems and business processes to work effectively to deliver exceptional customer experiences and outstanding operational excellence. Here’s the big question: what can business and technology leaders realistically expect in 2017 that will influence and guide their efforts toward business transformation, customer experience and operational excellence?

Here’s how I see it: CEOs will double down on operational excellence in customer experience management in 2017 because putting the customer first remains a top priority as executives around the globe continue to transform the enterprise from the outside in and inside out. They’ll do this by delighting customers and delivering exceptional experiences independent of existing and emerging devices, channels, products, brands, business units and business processes. Many senior executives realize that effectively managing lifetime relationships with prospects and customers can literally make or break an organization’s topline growth and bottom-line results, so consistently providing operational excellence will be key.

Portrait of mature leader expressing views with his colleagues

This year CEOs, CMOs, and other C-suite leaders will concentrate on how to realize the customer experience management payoff by providing an exceptional customer experience all the time, not just once in a while. Companies will seek to operationalize exceptional customer experiences instead of merely testing the waters, blowing budgets on big-time projects (such as multimillion dollar omnichannel initiatives), or placing all their bets on unproven, still-emerging technologies. For senior business leaders, it’s past time for experimentation; they want results – and that fact alone will drive 2017 customer experience trends towards operational excellence. The C-suite will seek answers to these questions and then take actions:

Change management: How can leaders really, truly change the organization’s culture to deliver unforgettable, exceptional customer experiences that lock in brand loyalty? What does it take and who should lead the effort?

Innovation: How can enterprises tap into their employees’ brain trust to truly innovate customer-centric processes and enhance products and services to take advantage of technology?

Outside-in and inside-out: How can the organization align the outside-in customer journey with internal inside-out processes that touch the customer, and thereby achieve operational excellence?

Technology: Are there new, differentiating technologies that will change an industry’s game; if so, what are they and how can they be applied to provide the greatest operational value without taking on too much risk, demanding too much time and requiring too much investment?

Security: With the very real risk of cybercrimes and the potential for panic on the rise, how can the C-suite protect highly sensitive customer data, avoid losing their hard-earned customer trust, and thwart crippling outages based on massive security breaches and malicious hacking?

For answers to these questions, see my next blog post, (coming soon ) where I’ll identify the six key operational excellence trends that will drive customer experience management in 2017.

This question is particularly germane as we look toward the 18th OPEX Annual Business Transformation Summit, in Orlando Florida, January 23-27 and the Operational Excellence & Risk Management Summit in Houston, Texas, February 7-9. I’m particularly positive about these conferences and plan to be at both of them. Both are forums that bring business leaders together to discuss the issues and obstacles that hold organizations back from achieving real business transformation and operational excellence. (For example, I recently published two blog posts on organizational change management insights from the last PEX operational excellence; this should give you a sense of the real world discussions in those events.)

Also, a more in-depth report about these trends will be published next week on Stay tuned.



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