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How to be competitive using composable architecture

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If you’re not going composable, you’re not likely to be very competitive.

Fast-changing customer expectations and the continuous emergence of new competitors are prompting companies to reassess their operating model and the customer experience they are delivering. In a market with multiple customer touchpoints and less emphasis on brand loyalty, price and product alone are no longer the determining factors that give businesses a competitive edge. Instead, businesses must embrace composable technology to delight, inform and anticipate customer needs so that they can enable differentiated experiences that give customers a reason to be loyal. 

Composable digital experiences are the way forward for businesses of all sizes. According to Gartner, by 2023, organizations adopting an intelligent composable approach will outpace the competition by 80% in the speed of new feature implementation. It’s clear, then, that this is the time to move to composable architecture.

Kin + Carta recently joined Contentstack to host a roundtable with technology leaders about the challenges of creating digital experiences and how to create supercharged experiences for 2023 and beyond. Key questions were posed during the discussion, and we offered observations and suggestions

How can we personalize customer experience more effectively and efficiently?

To personalize the customer experience, you need to understand when you’re dealing with customers across multiple channels. This is a two-step exercise. First, you need to have a way to track a user journey. For example, a user may start at the web browser, then pick up a mobile phone, and finally go to a retail location to complete a transaction. A CRM or a CDP platform helps to reach customers at these various digital touchpoints to create a cohesive journey across multiple channels.

The second step in effective personalization is understanding the individual user. It’s important to understand who the customer is, what the interaction experience is, and how the customer approaches the experience. The opportunity to anticipate what a customer wants before they ask for it is very valuable. Composable technology allows organizations to integrate with AI/ML engines in order to reliably predict what customers want beforehand and to take action on it. 

Agility and speed also play a large role in personalization. In a market with shifting personas and dynamics, the ability to move quickly from a technical perspective is vital. Digital transformation can be most innovative when an agile mindset is paired with the right types of technology, governed with the right models.

Essentially, we need effective data capture and data management processes in order to know our customers and the channels they use to engage with brands.

How does data serve as connective tissue across the channels and how does that take shape in a composable environment?

Try looking at the whole customer journey from referral or discovery of a brand to becoming an advocate of that brand. Collect data throughout that journey and consider how the data informs behavior. Go beyond the traditional demographics of gender, geography, and shopping habits and capture the moods that they're in when they're shopping. Are they in an aggressive buying mood? Are they in a one-item-only mood? When you leverage your data to help support those types of metrics, you learn more than just typical behavior. Looking beyond demographic behavior helps determine purchase behavior.

What about the non-technical side of transitioning to composable architecture? How do you approach change management in a way that’s effective for employees?

It’s important to think about the administrators and authors who have to run and manage these digital systems. If you're not thinking about the workflow of processes, people will have a hard time accepting changes. Digital experiences are built by, operated through and delivered through talented people who own and operate the platforms. Composable technology allows them to be more creative in how they craft and deliver experiences that drive results.

To gain acceptance of composable technology internally, begin by demonstrating business value, personal impact, cost savings, efficiency savings, and other benefits of the change. Provide education and training to show users how changing processes (and even the visual interface they’re accustomed to) can improve workflow and create a more efficiently tuned environment. Often people will not trust what you say, but they will trust what you do. For example, you can show concretely how, in the new system, an action that took 10 clicks will be reduced to 3 clicks.

The people, processes, and governance must align throughout the organization. Best practice is starting small to prove the value of the change and then growing momentum from the successes. Invest in MVP builds and in POCs that demonstrate with real-world practicality how the technology creates the experience that you want. This allows you to say, "I've proven that it's not just technology, but that this technology with the right process and the right prioritization can create these outcomes." These examples provide a model that helps build trust and grow momentum, which is ultimately how you grow it into a larger and larger program. Once people buy in and see how it's evolving, it slowly builds to something that can become a full-scale organization-wide initiative.

We want to get away from a world where everyone gets the same experience, and this is where composable architecture shines. We want to use the data that we know about people to give them a more personalized experience. To get there, non-technical challenges like prioritizations across the organizations, and getting people to break down silos and share best practices must be identified and addressed.

We are in a highly competitive marketplace. Brands are ultimately in a battle fighting for customer loyalty. Composable architecture offers the opportunity to create brand-new, intelligent experiences that have never been more capable of being realized. In a world where technologies are easily accessible, it's what companies do with the technology that will ultimately drive how they win mindshare and go forward.

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