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June 24, 2024

Unleashing growth through intelligent orchestration

If they want to be industry leaders, businesses must embrace next-level CX—and new research provides a roadmap.

As products and services proliferate and technology influences the way consumers make purchasing decisions, delivering a superior customer experience (CX) has become a critical lever for differentiation and profitable growth across industries, from retail and healthcare to telecommunications and banking.

Forrester’s CX Index™ shows that organizations can gain tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars in incremental revenue for every 1-point increase in their index. But creating exceptional CX is a pathway lined with obstacles, including skills gaps, misaligned organizational priorities, and the increasing speed of technological change. This latter challenge is exemplified most recently by generative artificial intelligence.

To explore this topic, Cognizant recently commissioned a report by Forrester Consulting to delve into the challenges and opportunities around delivering exceptional customer experience consistently. The findings show that businesses’ inability to overcome CX hurdles has led to a marked decrease in customer satisfaction among US firms for two consecutive years, emphasizing a pressing need for a reboot of CX.

This is where intelligent orchestration comes into play; it’s a powerful strategy that leverages technology, data, and AI to revolutionize the delivery of services and products.

What is intelligent orchestration?

Intelligent orchestration is not just a technology upgrade; it's a holistic business strategy that integrates enterprise processes, data, technology, and operations into a dynamic ecosystem to deliver the experience customers want. Think of intelligent orchestration as the conductor of an orchestra—but instead of music, it’s harmonizing customer interactions.

Intelligent orchestration integrates the elements—processes, data, tech, and operations—into a seamless system that delivers personalized customer experiences efficiently and at scale. This approach not only meets customer needs but anticipates them, ensuring every interaction is as relevant and engaging as possible.

Leaders who adopt intelligent orchestration are 35% more likely to report stronger outcomes in critical metrics like CSAT, NPS, and CES within the next year. And while more than 80% of decision-makers recognize the need for better alignment on CX priorities, 52% of respondents do not feel their firm can intuitively anticipate customers’ needs.

Quantifiable benefits and strategic insights

The benefits of intelligent orchestration are both immediate and impactful. Forrester’s study, which surveyed 769 decision-makers globally, highlights that companies with mature orchestration practices see over 20% higher trust and relevance in customer interactions compared to their peers. These leaders are also 35% more likely to report stronger outcomes in critical metrics like customer satisfaction (CSAT), Net Promoter Score (NPS), and customer effort scores (CES) within the next year.

Yet despite these advantages, many firms lag behind. More than 80% of respondents recognize the need for better alignment on CX priorities, but 52% do not feel that their firm can intuitively anticipate their customers’ needs, and only one in four strongly agree that their business is driven by a strategy focused on both CX and revenue growth. This misalignment, coupled with inadequate technological adoption and data integration, impedes firms' ability to deliver consistent and effective CX.

Getting to exceptional intelligent orchestration in customer experience

The lack of progress toward holistic intelligent orchestration isn’t hard to understand. This is a whole-of-the-enterprise endeavor, requiring a broad scope of action and alignment across systems and stakeholders. For leaders responsible for addressing this challenge, the following steps represent a blueprint for mapping out and implementing enterprise-wide intelligent orchestration:

  1. Investment in core CX enablers. To harness the full potential of intelligent orchestration, firms must balance investments in technology, data analytics, and operational efficiencies. Modernizing technology platforms, enhancing data practices to include real-time analytics, and automating operations are essential steps to build a responsive and adaptable CX framework.

  2. Organizational alignment. Implementing intelligent orchestration requires a paradigm shift at all organizational levels. Businesses must ensure their CX vision is clearly communicated and embraced across departments. This includes securing executive buy-in and fostering a culture that values customer-centric innovation.

  3. Embracing AI and emerging technologies. The rapid evolution of AI presents a unique opportunity for businesses to differentiate their CX offerings. Companies that integrate AI-driven insights and automation into their CX strategies can more effectively anticipate customer needs and deliver personalized experiences.

  4. Continuous adaptation and learning. The landscape of customer expectations and technological possibilities is ever-changing. Businesses must commit to ongoing learning and adaptation to stay ahead of trends and effectively use intelligent orchestration for sustained growth.

What exceptional looks like

Achieving exceptional CX through intelligent orchestration is about executing a holistic strategy that encompasses every facet of the organization. High-maturity firms distinguish themselves by deploying specific practices across strategy, data, technology, and operations that not only enhance CX but ensure it is consistently exceptional.

Strategy: Leaders in CX don't just support these initiatives as a side activity; they integrate them deeply into the business model. Their leadership consistently emphasizes that investments in CX yield tangible business impact. These firms use comprehensive performance metrics that span every level of the customer experience, from individual interactions to overall journey and perception. Furthermore, they are committed to fostering a culture of CX expertise, actively training and hiring skilled professionals and embedding them across departments to ensure that CX wisdom permeates the business.

Data: At the core of exceptional CX lies a robust data strategy. Top-performing firms develop a 360-degree view of their customers, enabling not just comprehensive reporting and insights but also real-time optimization of customer interactions. They enhance their data capabilities by integrating real-time behavioral and sentiment analysis and leveraging both internal and external data sources, including second- and third-party data like social media interactions and website visits. Moreover, these leaders employ advanced analytics, including predictive models and machine learning (generative AI will play a key role here), to anticipate customer needs and tailor their strategies proactively.

Technology: Tech underpins the ability of firms to deliver on their CX promise. High-maturity firms expand strategic vendor partnerships to fuel innovation and focus on technology solutions that go beyond data aggregation and enable data curation and activation. They also implement a fully rationalized suite of AI technologies that span automation, cognition, and learning, ensuring that their technological infrastructure supports dynamic, intelligent CX delivery.

Operations: Operational excellence is crucial for seamless CX. High-maturity firms increase automation in CX processes and enhance support services to be more responsive and effective. They allow customers to fluidly move across channels and touchpoints without redundancy, maintaining continuity and context throughout the customer journey. Additionally, these firms turn to CX partners to bolster organizational capabilities and embed AI in processes to make them more efficient and effective, thus continuously improving the speed and quality of customer interactions.

No longer optional

Embracing intelligent orchestration is no longer optional. It’s imperative for businesses aiming to thrive in a competitive marketplace. Firms that fail to enhance their CX strategies risk not only stagnation but potential decline amidst rapidly advancing customer expectations and a fluid technological and competitive environment.

Intelligent orchestration represents a significant advancement in how businesses can strategically leverage people, processes, and technology to meet modern customer demands. By integrating CX strategy, data, technology, and operations into a cohesive ecosystem, businesses can position themselves at the forefront of their industry, unlock future growth, build and maintain customer loyalty, and establish a formidable competitive edge.

Robert Vatter
EVP, Enterprise Platform Services
Digitally Cognizant author Robert Vatter

Rob Vatter is EVP, Enterprise Platform Services at Cognizant. Rob leads the company’s enterprise platforms and applications business, which helps enterprises orchestrate across their technology ecosystems to solve the underlying problems that impact business outcomes.

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