The majority (92%) of CIOs find integrating new communications to deliver better customer experiences with legacy systems a challenge, according to new research from global cloud communications software provider, IMImobile.
This comes at a time when almost all (98%) CIOs feel under pressure to deliver the customer experience (CX) expected by both customers and the wider business. Businesses are increasingly expected to respond with the same level of speed and consistency whether using email, SMS, Facebook Messenger or new channels such as WhatsApp Business.
However, more than half (52%) of CIOs admit they are unable to provide a truly connected and integrated customer communications experience across all channels and business systems.
Asked to consider the major barriers they face when it comes to delivering a frictionless customer experience, CIOs cited legacy IT systems (51%), data being spread across multiple systems (51%), and budget constraints (42%), as the top three blockers to progress.
“It is widely known that the ability to innovate and improve customer communications can make or break a business. Worryingly, the research lays bare the gap between the experience customers now expect, and what businesses are currently able to provide,” says Aseem Sadana, EVP at IMImobile. “The challenge is that delivering a great customer experience is easier said than done. This is especially the case for large consumer facing enterprises, where fragmented, legacy IT environments make integrating new communications channels and processes very complex. Many of them also have data that is spread across multiple systems, with programmes and processes varying from department to department. CIOs must consider a centralised platform approach to orchestrate and automate communications across existing business systems and communications channels.”
Coding and control challenges
CIOs also revealed some specific challenges they face around the piecemeal evolution of customer communications environments. Eight out of ten (83%) say their current development approach hinders their ability to change or create new customer journeys in a fast and agile manner.
Most (88%) recognise that a low-code approach would increase their business agility and mean they were less reliant on specialist developer skills; 88% of CIOs are also keen to empower teams across the wider business to innovate new customer journeys such as customer services and marketing.
The research also uncovered that CIOs are struggling with control; almost nine in ten (88%) find it a challenge to ensure customer communications remain compliant with new regulations such as GDPR or PSD2.
A platform for success
CIOs are taking steps to overcome these barriers – at a fundamental level, this means moving towards a platform-oriented approach. CIOs understand the need to invest in a centralised cloud customer communications platform as our research indicates that 45% plan to invest in this area over the next 18 months. This would provide businesses with a unified view, putting them in control, and allowing them to work towards automating two-way digital customer interactions.
Adopting a platform approach, enables greater levels of automation across the customer lifecycle; the research shows that CIOs recognise just how crucial automation is for businesses to deliver proactive, two-way customer communications. More than four fifths (82%) fear an inability to automate customer journeys end-to-end will lead their organisation to fall behind competitors.
However, only just over a third (35%) are currently able to automate customer communications journeys from end-to-end. Only half (50%) are automating customer communications journeys, while 45% say they plan to automate them in the next three years.
The research was conducted by Vanson Bourne, who surveyed 200 UK CIOs and senior IT decision makers at large enterprises. The full report can be downloaded from the IMImobile website here.