modern day CX – the project

new blog, new posts, and many more to come.

why a project?

why not do a long-a… a longer-than-normal post to lead to the promised land?

i started it, i wrote the first 2-3 questions i wanted to answer, and that led to 2-3 more questions for each, and another 4 for one more topic, and then another… and another… and. you get the point.

i have questions, questions lead to conversations (or they should, if you are interested in debating data points and opinions in search of an answer), and conversations must start somewhere. sure, the conversation starters or ice breaker topics that you will find around are one good way to start something (e.g. is solar energy worth the expense in carbon resources to create it? is bitcoin going to replace fiat currency and central-bank finance?, and my favorite that we now have the answer to as of yesterday — is tom brady going to stay retired once and for all, for the love of your favorite deity…), but they don’t lead to the next gen of CX.

i created a project — well, not created as much as kicked-off… here is where we started, where we are, and what i think will happen / will cover in this project.

first of all: what’s the goal here?

as you likely / hopefully know i’ve spent the last few months to a year crafting the new narrative for SAP CX. i have done this work from the outside as an adviser for many, many years with many vendors – but this time it was different as i have the privilege of seeing what happens after the message is ready. i am not going to talk about that, gave you hints during the process as i was writing In a CX Minute last year, and if you really want to know where we ended up – here is a link to a good video good friend and CMO to SAP CX (and the stars) Sameer Patel put together with the message.

it’s good, but it was missing something.

as i tried to frame the message and the positioning within the current market i began to notice in the research and thought leadership around me: we lacked a framework. now, don’t misunderstand me – saying CX is an evolution of CRM and trying to focus on the balance between customer expectations and business outcomes is commendable — but questions that remain unanswered bothered me.

why can’t CRM support this new model?

how is CX today different from CEM 10-20 years ago?

who is the right person to lead this effort?

how do we ensure success?

CX is an evolution of CRM focused on the balance between customer expectations and business outcomes

sure, i can tell you it will work – give you an ROI-ish calculation for it, sell you software to implement it, say a silent prayer and go – as we have done many times in the past. but this time is different.

to begin with, software is not the answer here (as it was not for CRM, but lots of good did us to says that then). software plays an absolute essential role, but the biggest part of this being the solution we seek if to encase that software in a proper framework: governance, metrics, processes, culture, and — technology. all must work together.

next question then would be: what is this framework?

great question, and this is where we begin to falter… if you look at traditional enterprise technology implementations, we don’t really focus on the frameworks before we set to implement tech, it is more of a shoot-first, ask later type of thing (usually, buy tech and implement, then call a consultant to fix the tech and everything else when it did not “work”).

frameworks are essential for long-term projects as they keep the focus on the outcome, and the steps are detailed. this is an easy(ier) way to succeed in enterprise tech projects, as we have learned over the years.

as i was saying we lacked a framework, something to keep us in the right path and providing a specific goal (increase LTV is not a goal, it’s an objective with a metric, a goal is broader than that and provides for more than one metric being tracked – this is key to understand in the context of a proper strategy – but digressing…)

i started to look around and found nothing well defined, but a few things kept emerging — like the modern day cx concept. intrigued, i sought insights and guidelines about it – and i was shocked (shocked to know gambling is going on in here…. sorry, had to) to find out there is no decent explanation of framework for it. and the largest part of the shock came from the fact that this is the perfect framework for implementing CX, but also for us (SAP CX and our new narrative) to frame how we can help you customers.

three reasons why:

  1. reflects the current state of the market and where we are going over the next decade (plus)
  2. is flexible enough to accommodate many different implementations under it
  3. it is based on the evolution of CRM to CX

here comes the next question i asked myself (coming about for a landing, hang in here… its good): shall we define modern-day CX?

still recovering and scarred from the social CRM and early CX battles of definition, the answer quickly came to be a no — why go through that again. but we need some guidelines, a process map, a framework guide… and thus, the project is born.

long way to say: we will begin to answer these questions one by one, and more than you can come up with. wish i could say “this should be a conversation” without being corny – but i cannot… although my track record on that is quite good. i promise you i won’t bore you with 30-page blog posts or thesis-length treatises, if you promise (pinky-swear) to contribute and comment and play along.


and thusly, the project begins. stay tuned for a dozen or so blogs over the next few weeks tackling this concept — and please engage and contribute to the conversations.

talk more soon…

(you should follow the blog, subscribe, register, or whatever you do to make sure you get the diff updates… totally worth it, promise)

2 thoughts on “modern day CX – the project

  1. First of all, E, thank you for not getting back to definition wars, those battle scars have just about healed. 🙄

    Since I took a detour for a decade into Corporate IT I missed the whole CX part of those battles.

    But I have been on the other side of the table from the consultants in this past decade and I now know how insincere I must have sounded when I was the consultant and cried out loud that I’m not a vendor.

    Thankfully, being the “service/process owner” has given me some leeway to practice all that I preached – JTBD, ODI, journey analytics, agile, CSAT, etc. – during the CRM and social CRM days but in the internal IT context.

    So I could see myself nodding mentally at many of the points you made in this post – CRM not being a technology, shoot first ask later behaviour of enterprises, keeping the focus on the outcome, goal vs metric, etc. – and am most intrigued to know what will comprise this framework.

  2. Here we go Esteban,

    You ask: why can’t CRM support this new model?

    In short: CRM can’t support this model because it takes the wrong perspective (customer record/relationship) and largely ignores organisational needs/capabilities to deliver on CX promises.

    In a few more words:

    I think there’s two core issues to solve when delivering on your promise (a balance between customer expectations and business outcomes).

    1. It starts with the right perspective. CRM (and 10+ year old CEM for that matter) focus on collecting data at the touch points / interactions with the company to fill the customer record. It basically ignores the end-to-end customer lifecycle and journeys customers go through to get their jobs done. In short: CRM puts the customer (record/relationship) at center, not what the customer is trying to achieve.

    2. CRM considers business outcomes, not organisational capabilities. CX is about continuously improving the way the organisation delivers against customer expectations (your words, I would prefer outcomes, but that’s a different debate). CRM systems (yes, the tech as its an artefact of the thinking) do not support organisations in any way to have an aligned understanding (across silos) of what customers need/want, in what context and how different departments and processes are contributing to the customer experience. Without such an aligned understanding it is not possible to prioritise change efforts to drive CX results effectively. Organisations need this capability desperately.

    In short: CRM can’t support this model because it takes the wrong perspective (customer record/relationship) and largely ignores organisational needs/capabilities to deliver on CX promises.

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