Anchalee Hasty Thu, Jul 8, '21 19 min read

Data: The Fuel of the Experience Economy

At the end of May we attended ADAPT’s Digital Edge Conference along with 130 Heads of Digital Transformation and Customer Experience Leaders driving digitisation, efficiency and experience to discuss “Scaling Digital First Strategies and CX Agility”. 

Accelerated digital projects and maturity, and reduced barriers to transformation were some of the silver linings to the year of the pandemic. Now as we look forward, businesses need to adapt to the ever-evolving expectations of customers, where experience is the key to the success of an organisation. 

The Fourth Industrial Revolution 

Kicking off the event with a compelling presentation and a look at the future of Australia, we heard from Rocky Scopelliti, futurologist and author of “Australia 2030: Where the bloody hell are we”. Rocky took us on a journey showing us the different stages of the industrial revolutions, emphasising that the fourth industrial revolution (aka Industry 4.0) is here and is characterised by: 

  • Augmentation – the merging between the virtual and the physical world 
  • The new economic physics – based on the law of accelerated returns, where the marginal cost of demand/growth or supply/resources/time becomes virtually zero in Exponential Systems 

The Experience Economy: A Case in Point 

In a case study of TransferWise, a global financial technology company working to develop better ways to move money around the world, Scopelliti provides us with an example that exemplifies the fourth industrial evolution. 

10 years ago, as a small start-up TransferWise was competing against large banks - who at the time didn’t think that people would trust a small start-up with their hard-earned money. And how wrong the banks were. In the 10 years since its inception TransferWise has seen significant global growth with more than six million people and businesses having switched to TransferWise from more traditional providers due to its low cost, ease of use, and greater efficiency. 

TransferWise outdid the banks on experience, and when the banks tried to compete on price, the model imploded because they didn’t have the underlying technologies to scale their offering. TransferWise didn’t just outdo the banks on one aspect of the customer experience, they understood the pain points in the customer journey and excelled in each area to provide a holistic brand experience unlike anything the banks could offer. And Scopelliti leaves us pondering… 

Who will be the next TransferWise in your industry? 

The playing field is levelled and organisations large, small, young and old all have the potential to succeed in the experience economy, where speed, ease of use and efficiency are currency.  

Speed, Ease of Use, and Efficiency: The Currency of The Experience Economy 

In the experience economy traditional notions of competitive advantage no longer hold true.  

In a panel discussion Dr. Martin Anderson - CIO of eTrading at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Matt Loop - Head of APAC at Slack, and Rachael Powell - Chief Customer Officer at Xero spoke about their experiences scaling digital first strategies. 

Powell, spoke about their use of AI and machine learning to power their FAQs and education platform, helping their customer self-serve and leave room for their service agents to deal with the more complex problems. Additionally, Loop spoke to the way that Slack had scaled with only one salesperson – and the way they did that was through a low touch/no touch experience to signing up and onboarding. 

Customers are looking for an intuitive, personalised experience that seems to anticipate their next need.  

They want control of their destinies and to be able to find what they are looking for when they need it. 

This should be no surprise to anyone, it’s what we’ve come to expect as consumers. However, an interconnected, seamless experience seems to be harder to come by than we expect. As Aparna Sundararajan, Senior Research Strategist at ADAPT expressed in her presentation, as consumers we’re still getting marketing emails that are irrelevant, the check in experience at hotels is still cumbersome, corporate websites are still lacking a good experience and as employees we find it difficult to find, access and visualise data to make good business decisions. 

In an age where traditional levers such as price are no longer sustainable, especially when competing with new business models that can scale the experience exponentially – businesses are losing out on the most basic customer and employee experiences. 

When we delve deeper into the problem of experience, it is little wonder where the problem and the biggest opportunity lies. Our ability to serve up personalised experiences and make data-driven business decisions stems from our inability to properly use, structure, scale, analyse and interpret the data that we have. 

Data: The Fuel of the Experience Economy 

In his presentation, Scopelliti emphasised that the underlying driver or fuel for the experience economy and the winners of Industry 4.0 will be those organisations who are able to complete analytically (as per Davenport’s Analytical Maturity Model), and individuals who are data literate. 

As Digital Leaders we’ve always known that data is the underlying key to the success of personalisation and improved customer and employee experiences, but now more than ever, if we are to keep pace in the experience economy, we need a data strategy and we need to ensure that our investments are aligned to our intended outcomes. 

Just collecting, labelling and amassing data can result in businesses losing valuable context, clarity and meaning, all of which makes the data truly valuable. However, it is often common in enterprise organisations that data silos still exist and having a master data management strategy is still a work in progress. This is where concepts such as data fabrics or data mesh can help to move organisations forward (listen to Jade’s Director of Technology, Tom Hallam discuss Data Fabrics here). 

Data Strategy: A Method to the Data Madness 

A new focal point for many in the experience economy is a data strategy to enable organisational efficiencies, analytics, reporting and strengthen business value propositions. If your organisation doesn’t have a data strategy in place, then becoming an analytical competitor and your ability to compete against the next TransferWise in your industry will be difficult, or maybe even impossible. 

In Sundararajan’s presentation, she presented 9 business outcomes and the key investment areas (as a percentage) for a data strategy, based on ADAPT’s research of 125 Australian Digital Leaders. 

 ADAPT Data Strategy Slide - Edit

If you are just starting out on your data strategy journey, the above outcome map provides an excellent starting point for defining your data strategy based on your organisation’s top focus.

Complacency: The Greatest Enemy of Success 

The modern organisation has multitudes of data and being able to use, structure and scale your data is more important than ever to deliver exceptional businesses outcomes and customer experiences. 

Whether your top priority for this year is to improve customer experience, empower your employees, enable data-driven business decisions, streamline processes or integrating with ecosystem partners; data needs to be at the core of your strategy. And data needs to be accessible across the business in the ways that make sense. 

ADAPT’s Digital Edge Conference was a timely reminder that we can’t sit still – it’s easy to become complacent when everything is going well. And even easier when you are at the forefront of your industry making the biggest waves.  

However, if we’ve learnt anything in the last year and a half with the pandemic, we’ve learn that we are living in a world of rapid change where the need to move to a completely remote workforce could happen overnight. The world is constantly changing and staying ahead of customer expectations, and winning in the experience economy requires a consistent effort to ensure that we are not becoming complacent. 

Talk to us about making data meaningful