In the current digital age, the quantity of data organizations have to manage has grown exponentially and employees are finding more creative ways of using it to deliver optimal customer experiences, such as personalization through micro-segmentation. With such a rapid evolution, more companies are looking for ways to keep their current systems ready for growing business needs, and this means scalable tech. Scalable technologies are apps, platforms, or programs that can grow and adapt with ease. The flexibility they offer is a sure way to future-proof your business.

With a scalable stack, you don’t have to worry about the tech not fitting tomorrow’s business needs and making your current systems obsolete. You can be confident that it will evolve as your organization does, especially by embracing artificial intelligence (AI). Today, you can’t afford not to scale up and scaling is becoming increasingly more difficult if you’re processing information manually. Ideally, you’ll want to leverage what you already have to make the most of your existing tools and prior investments.

What does that mean? It means making sure your customers, partners and employees can find that they need when they need it even with new databases or platforms. With all the technologies you have and all the valuable information housed in silos, how easy is it for those who engage with your brand to find what they need? Making relevant content available by implementing technology that could surface the right content in the context of the person searching for it and with their intent in mind becomes critical. Relevance helps to keep your customers happy, it improves the proficiency and job satisfaction of your employees and gives your partners what they need to sell more of your product or service. This is why relevance must be at the foundation of your growth strategy. Use these tips to build a scalable technology stack today so you can be ready for tomorrow.

Consider the big picture

One of the biggest mistakes business owners make is jumping onto the latest-and-greatest tech the second it’s released. They see a new trend and they think it’s best to act immediately without consulting the IT team. While there is some truth to this, and it is a good idea to move fast, you need to always consider the big picture.

Nothing inside a tech team is one-size-fits-all. If something changes, even something small, all teams are potentially affected Changing a single feature could mean more stress on your data engineering team, while a design adjustment could lead to more customer support difficulties as the new interface is released. A scalable technology stack should be user-friendly for all stakeholders. For instance, content marketers should be able to edit content on the website without creating a ticket to the web development team. Before implementing new technologies, think about how this change will play out across team lines and how it will integrate with the rest of the technology stack.

Focus on what you really need

When considering the big picture, you should also focus on what your organization really needs. New tech is exciting and with a mandate for digital transformation and the fear of being left in the digital dust of competitors, it might seem tempting to start throwing your teams into new projects quickly as soon as you discover it. Before you devote all this time, money, and energy into a new project, consider whether it’s something you really need.

While you should always be on the lookout for ways to increase your bottom line, reduce cost and/or increase productivity, realize that not that glitters is gold. A good rule of thumb is to consider your audience. Who is it that you’re considering this platform, application, or system for? What are their needs, and will your new addition help them with their key goals? If your answer is no to your user needs, then maybe it’s best to put this idea on the backburner for another day.

What’s more, it’s best not to be selfish when considering new technology. The best technology decisions are the ones that can have an impact across the organization, as opposed to just one department. This will help to increase employee and partner adoption, and create a seamless end-to-end customer experience.

Unify your data and make it available

When implementing a new platform, your data must be unified. Your customers have a low tolerance for bugs and irrelevant encounters. When they can’t find what they’re looking for they’ll look to your competitors without a second thought. That’s why you need a system for monitoring your interactions (both internally and externally), responding to feedback, and proactively preventing problems before they occur; using an application or log management software can help your organization with this. For best results, consider implementing AI and machine learning. Not only will your life exceptionally easier, you’ll see better results faster.

There’s no disputing the value people bring to organizations but people simply can’t handle tracking and unifying interactions and optimizing rules to deliver personalized experiences like AI can, never mind putting prevented measures in place. AI can automatically personalize from a million different interactions to a million different customers and it gets smarter with every use, enabling your organization to predict what your customer will need next and allowing you to win at every stage of their journey.

Remember, everything is connected (or it should be)

You need to help AI, by connecting your data sources and unifying it, so it can help. AI performance is only as good as your data. Your technologies and their respective data should be talking to each other to tell you what’s really going on. Looking at subsets of data in isolation means that you’re making decisions on incomplete, and potentially misinterpreted information, which can potentially lead to the demise of your organization. Unifying your information into a single index creates unified interactions and ensures that the knowledge your customers, partners and employees need is within reach.

Your customers’ interactions are not separate, they are all part of a continuous information experience they have with your brand. As Coveo CTO and Co-Founder, Laurent Simoneau explains, “Your in-store visitors use mobile phones to order an item online if it’s out of stock, check reviews of the item on the online community on the product, and even pull up the mobile app to find out how to install it, as your website visitors peruse your online community for troubleshooting before calling your contact center.” Unifying these interactions allows the data to follow your customers as they move between platforms and channels, delivering personalized content through every touchpoint with your brand.

Don’t lose sight of your employee experience

A scalable technology stack could help you deliver a great customer experience but also a great employee experience if you consider the big picture. If you’re looking to scale your business, you need to reduce the time to proficiency of the people who are committed to your company mission and you need to have the right tech stack in place to empower them. Listening to your employees is key, both in what they’re telling you and what they’re showing you.

Beyond the conversations you’re having, usage analytics help paint a bigger picture. Your internal data will tell you what they’re looking for, what they’re engaging with and what they’re not finding–which will illuminate content gaps.

The autonomy that’s supported by connecting your employees to the best information and professionals within your organization, the moment help is needed, not only keeps things moving fast, it contributes to their overall satisfaction and development. More proficient employees can have a direct impact on your bottom line, but you need to have the right technology in place.

Final thoughts

For your organization to survive in the digital age, you need to invest in scalable technology today. While you may not know what tomorrow holds, with AI technologies and analytics, you can keep a pulse on what your customers want and need so you can stay ahead of the trend and make the best, most informed business decisions. Having an insight engine in place that supports innovation and collaboration by being in the center of your technology stack will allow your organization to deliver relevant experiences at every touch point, making it truly as future-proof as possible.

ReportGartner Magic Quadrant for Insight Engines July 2018

About Ashley Lipman

Ashely is a super-connector who helps businesses find their audience, partnerships, and helps small business with their networking efforts online. She frequently writes about the latest advancements in e-commerce and marketing.

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