CX is just the tip of the DX iceberg

Lori MacVittie Miniature
Lori MacVittie
Published July 12, 2021

For nearly all organizations, the customer experience (CX) starts with the user experience. In our increasingly default-digital world, this means an interface presented via a web or mobile application.

And that is a great start. After all, without a navigable, performant user interface, digital interactions with most consumers don’t happen.

But the savvy CIO knows that the interface is just that: an interface to a much more comprehensive digital experience that crosses functional and organizational boundaries. With most organizations firmly entrenched in the second phase of digital transformation—digital expansion—the need to digitize the entire enterprise architecture should be clearly rising as an inevitability.

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If it isn’t, consider the following scenario. You’ve digitized your customer experience with applications. Customers can browse your wares and make purchases with the click of a button. But you haven’t expanded the digital capabilities to the functions inside your organization that fulfill those orders. In practical terms, there is still a human being responsible for pulling the customer order from a queue and entering it into a separate system to initiate the fulfillment process.

This manual step in a much larger business process is a bottleneck that will ultimately impede business growth. What you’ve done is open seven registers at your shop, but you only have three cashiers able to staff them.

It’s no surprise, then, that 95% of respondents to the Tonkean State of Business Operations survey agreed that "business operations are becoming more important to the organization."

Consider that, in the face of the pandemic, Kroger Foods took action to assist its over 400,000 employees by providing access to their pay on-demand. Such an effort requires digitizing the process of onboarding vendors, integration efforts, and careful attention to scale as employees are brought onboard. All of this relies on a business architecture—a process—that maps components and systems into workflows that can support such a large-scale effort. Corporate payments have had to transform from manual, paper-based systems to digital equivalents. Distributors and suppliers as well as employees have been impacted by digital transformation in ways the consumer never sees.

When we talk about digital expansion, this is a critical component of successfully navigating that phase. You can’t just modernize interfaces without simultaneously considering how you’re going to modernize the business behind it. And that business includes processes and people, and the ability to scale both.