#UserGroupSummit: Solving for X in Digital Transformation

Heading to Dynamics UG Summit in Phoenix this October? Episerver’s Senior Director of Commerce is presenting at 10 a.m. local time on Wednesday, Oct. 17 on the power of digital experience and operations in driving digital transformation. Get a sneak peek of the presentation here!

We’ve all seen the statistics.

Companies – B2B, B2C, B2B2C, B2E, B2G, B2Everything – are using dozens of marketing technology solutions to essentially meet two end goals: (1) acquire customers and (2) retain customers. The problem, however, is that companies have a window into their dysfunction in the form of customer experience.

They know when a brand’s front office doesn’t talk to its back office or its online shop doesn’t talk to its brick and mortar. When they call, email or chat to reroute an order to a different shipping address, for example, the rep (through no fault of their own) must tell them orders are handled somewhere else and therefore they cannot help them. Or, when they go to make a repeat purchase, the website greets them like a first-time customer.

Excuse me, your technology stack is showing.

Companies like yours are spending good portions of their technology budget to create cohesion between departments and get closer to their end customers. Even still, they are experiencing dysfunction. IT, for instance, will own Dynamics 365 for Sales or Operations & Finance that needs to share data with a Digital Experience Platform (“DXP”) that the marketing team owns. When those people aren’t collaborating themselves, how can the technologies? 

There’s a wealth of customer, product, and sales data in both back-office applications and the front-office solutions, now if only there was visibility into what exists already. After all, solving for “X” becomes more difficult with more missing elements.

In a simplistic view, business leaders can think of their current technology stack like the fateful Tupperware with missing lids or single socks without a match. Rather than stuffing them in cabinets or drawers with no purpose year after year, put everything on the table to take inventory of what pairs with what. Experience and operation improvements are the goal and knowing how technologies work together can help drive value.

  • The primary goal of digital operations investments (CRM, ERP, etc.), for example, is to gain efficiency to increase profits. The secondary goal of digital operations investments is to increase revenue with increased sales and conversion rates.

  • Across the org chart, the primary goal of digital experience investments (DXP, ecommerce, digital marketing, analytics) is to increase revenue by improving the customer experience. The secondary goal is to increase sales profitably and efficiency (without adding more cost to the business).

By leveraging an existing investment in Microsoft Dynamics, organizations can extract more value from their back-office systems to improve customer experiences delivered in a Digital Experience Platform. It’s about focusing those goals and knowing how teams and technologies can collaborate.

When I started working with Microsoft as a digital experience and ecommerce consultant, I discovered a goldmine of value that back-office systems like Dynamics CRM, AX, NAV and GP can bring to digital experience. Conversely, I also discovered most of my customers' CRM and ERP solutions did not incorporate customer behavior from their digital properties into the customer service, reporting and sales functions within these back-office systems.

Episerver has published several connectors that make extracting this goldmine out of Dynamics to power dot com sites and bring the data from a digital experience platform into Dynamics in four key areas:

1. Customer Relationship Management (CRM): Share visitor intelligence data from web with sales, customer service and marketing campaigns.

Data stored in CRM can be used to transform many parts of digital experience such as to personalize website content, promotions, offers and product suggestions to site visitors. By improving the customer’s experience, organizations see better business outcomes. Episerver customers commonly achieve double-digit improvements to order values alone when they personalize product pages and email campaigns.

What’s more, since all customer records are synchronized, companies using Dynamics 365 CRM get a single view of all customer interactions. This makes it easy to give customers relevant, personalized experiences whether they are in-store or online.

Of course, CRM is traditionally more about sales cycles. By loading product content, inventory and pricing rules into Episerver, companies can start transacting quickly. Episerver Commerce includes an out-of-the-box integration with Microsoft Dynamics 365, AX, NAV and CRM suites. This integration enables Microsoft Dynamics users to launch digital commerce channels faster and at a lower cost while supporting every type of buyer in their journey with content appropriate for who they are, why they are there and what device they are using.

2. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP): Leverage business logic and data from AX, NAV and F&O to power digital experiences.

The beauty of Dynamics 365 is that it seamlessly blends CRM and ERP capabilities. Episerver’s solution uses business logic from Dynamics 365 to power commerce websites. Marketers and merchandisers can configure and launch their digital commerce channel from within Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, including products, pricing and promotions.

The built-in integration between Episerver and Dynamics 365 means that companies can easily share customer data across all channels. Data for customer behavior, orders, products, pricing and promotions are automatically shared to satisfy all front-office promotional campaigns.

Episerver Commerce for Microsoft Dynamics 365, Episerver’s connector to Dynamics AX, Finance & Operations and NAV, combines Episerver digital commerce platform with Microsoft Dynamics’ end-to-end omnichannel retail system. The solution enables retailers, distributors, wholesales, manufacturers or anyone selling online the ability to monitor and control customer interactions through the purchase cycle. The solution also includes a starter-site, which can reduce implementation costs by 40 percent.

3. Business Intelligence & Analytics: Gain insights into customer, product and sales by unifying all data types in Analytics.

Since organizations operate data siloes between CRM, ERP, DXP and other systems, there is often weak or non-existent analytics and reporting tools. Microsoft PowerBI solution provides a powerful application to co-mingle, splice and report on customer, product and order data. Episerver allows organizations to combine rich behavioral data from its Customer Data Platform with customer data from CRM and product and store data from ERP, which enables deeper insights from data analysis leading to more relevant decisions to further improve the customer experience. Organizations can analyze customer journeys in PowerBI with data from Episerver Insight while the latter makes data captured from the dot com available to view in Dynamics 365 CRM. Are you starting to see the picture?

4. Digital Experience Platform (DXP): Unify content, commerce, campaigns and personalization technologies.

Over the last decade, companies have bought systems in siloes and operated them in the same fashion. Since today’s consumers do not think in channels, organizations must not either. They need to unify back-office applications with digital experience tools to truly transform into the type of businesses that customers don’t get frustrated interacting with. A DXP brings together technologies – and even an organization – to truly marry customer experience and business outcomes (a topic covered in our recent Commerce & Coffee series: Episode 1, Episode 2, Episode 3, Episode 4, Episode 5.)

Each of the technologies listed here (DXP, ERP, BI, CRM) has a relationship with the other. The sum of all the parts solves the X factor in digital experience: digital transformation equals digital experience plus operations. What element are you missing?

Join me in Phoenix at Dynamics UG Summit to evaluate your digital transformation strategy. Feel free to reach out ahead of time should you have any questions!