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Omdia's annual global ICT Enterprise Insights research reveals that the majority of enterprises have made little progress with their customer experience digital initiatives. Alarmingly, things appear to be going backward, with a drop (from 10% to 9%) stating that they had completed their efforts, and an even more significant fall from 24% to 19% who feel they are in the advanced stage of development.

On a more positive note, this indicates a growing recognition of the enormity and complexity of the challenge. Bolting on a new channel has never been an effective answer to the delivery of channel-agnostic customer experiences. There is, however, more than a glimmer of hope if enterprises take a strategic and organizationally connected approach to the challenge.

Four critical attributes must be addressed: recognize the customer, protect the customer, orchestrate the experience, and continuously adapt to behavioral changes and ever rising customer expectation. The implications of these attributes shed light on the complexity of the customer experience challenge: from a visionary sense of customer-focused purpose that must be embedded within the culture of the enterprise and throughout the organization, to data management, AI, security, and compliance and a systematic approach to customer engagement. That is a lot of dots to connect from multiple domains.

But help is at hand with the emergence of new value disciplines and practices, allied to evolving customer engagement platforms (CEPs) and the rise of the activist CIO acting as an informed catalyst for transformation and proactive aid to the C-Suite.

There has been much talk about the data-driven enterprise with the ability to manage and synthesize transactional, interaction, structured, and unstructured data to glean actionable insights and to trigger the most relevant response or next best action, but experience shows that data management is a perennial challenge. Again help is at hand in the form of Omdia's The Data-Driven Enterprise Self-Assessment Tool and its companion presentation: The Data-Driven Enterprise Overview.

Another key ingredient in the complex customer experience alchemy is trust. In 2018, GDPR reared its head and put many enterprises on the back foot as they strove to be compliant, and in January 2020, the California Consumer Privacy Act came into force, a potential headache for those enterprises with customers in that state. Meanwhile, cyberattacks continue to make the headlines and threaten hard-won customer trust for those organizations that lose vital customer data or are held to ransom by attackers. Securing customer data and privacy are fundamental to trust, and must always be a critical concern in any advanced, channel-agnostic strategy.