The digital re-imagination of business is upending traditional customer behavior and business practices. The next wave of business growth, efficiency and effectiveness is predicated on a robust and intuitive digital strategy. The cornerstone of that strategy is the ability to offer customers a rich and relevant digital experience: the ability to access products and services through an array of comfortable and secure digital channels (i.e., customer portals, mobile apps), with minimal or no intermediation cost.
The evolving digital ecosystem is premised on four major components: social, mobile, analytics and cloud technologies (aka, the SMAC Stack). There is no “right way” to piece together these components; the ultimate strategy will vary by company and industry. Given the complexity involved, we believe it’s best for these technology components to be assessed individually and in a systematic way, to understand how they contribute to, or in some cases undermine, the delivery of a relevant and meaningful digital customer experience.
To succeed with digital, companies need a standard methodology and scoring mechanism that can help them understand their digital maturity in each component of the SMAC Stack vis-a-vis their competitors, and work to continuously improve it, to meet if not exceed customer expectations.
By indexing the digital ecosystem by its component parts in every major industry sector, digital strategists (CIOs, CDOs or CMOs) can more effectively plan and make informed business-technology investment decisions.
Mobile-First Experience Index
Of the four technologies in the SMAC Stack, mobile is arguably the most influential. The proliferation of mobile devices has ushered in “mobile-first” thinking at progressive companies across industries, many of which are increasingly designing their products and services to attract and delight mobile users before replicating specific offerings for laptop and desktop users.
This is why we developed the Mobile-First Experience Index, a digital maturity measurement methodology that gauges how specific features and functions contribute to a rewarding, meaningful and fulfilling customer experience, across industries.
Our Mobile-First Experience Index is the first of our Digital Experience Index series, which will measure how companies across industries fare at each layer of the SMAC Stack (see Quick Take for a metaphorical view). Just as the S&P 500 index tracks broad equity markets and signals vital price information, the Mobile-First Experience Index will measure the digital savvy of organizations’ mobile apps in an objective, transparent and mathematically rigorous manner. The first instance of this index will track the functionalities and services offered by the top 100 U.S. P&C insurance companies’ apps (see Figure 1 for an illustrative example).
Our methodology is predicated on the “presence/absence” of application features. The index is a simple mathematical gauge of the manifestation (present or absent) of a particular mobile app feature. If a feature is present, a score is awarded based on its assigned popularity; otherwise, a zero score is given. The popularity of a feature is a simple function of the number of companies that include it in their app(s).
As with all of our Mobile-First Experience indices, the P&C Insurance Index will examine customer-facing mobile apps across a variety of mobility parameters, including:
Customer service queries.
Product information availability.
Access to forms and documents.
In addition to its binary measurement, the index’s results can be mined for pointers to help organizations identify app features and functionalities that can propel them to industry-leading status.
The index will help answer questions such as:
What are the mobile application features and functionalities that the top 100 companies in a sector offer?
What transactions can customers carry out through mobile applications?
How seamless is the customer experience that companies deliver between channels – customer portal vs. mobile app?
Indexing Digital Jewels
With the proliferation of mobile devices and applications, powered by exponentially growing processor speed, we have a digital Indrajaal. Also known as Indra’s net,1 this term is a metaphor for interrelatedness, and visualizes the universe as a vast net, with a jewel at each vertex. Each gem represents an individual life form or unit of consciousness and is intimately connected to all the others. Thus a change in one jewel is reflected in all the others.
In today’s world, every individual is a connected jewel in the digital matrix. As people interact, transact and do business, they generate an unprecedented data footprint, or Code HaloTM, which when put to use, can amplify outcomes at a rate that a linear, rational mind would find difficult to comprehend.
The proliferation of digital technologies – whether mobile phones, smart devices or broadband connectivity – is often described in non-linear terms, such as “a hockey stick” (a plateau followed by a steep climb), or the silhouette of Mount Fuji. This digital Indrajaal must be studied in-depth and chronicled to understand the way it will transform our lives.
Gauging the Raging Digital Metamorphosis
Companies in the midst of a digital metamorphosis confront tough choices. Our digital indices are intended to guide organizations on this journey of transformation.
We firmly believe that the time is now to chronicle the unfolding digital era. The Digital Experience Index series will help make sense of the exciting forces that are already inspiring companies to reimagine daily business transactions.
To learn more check out the latest issue of Cognizanti Journal.
Note: Code HaloTM is a trademark of Cognizant Technology Solutions.
1. Atharva Veda, Verse 8.8.6; The Avatamsaka Sutra, sourced from Indra’s Net, a book by Rajiv Malhotra, Harper Collins, 2014.