Customer journey architects are becoming more relevant than ever before.
For businesses that want to make improvements, enterprise architecture has long been a tried and tested technique for mapping out how change should take place.
Enterprise architecture looks at the whole company and everything within it. It envelopes the applications and the infrastructure – the hardware, middleware and networks. Enterprise architecture answers the who, what, why, when and where of a company.
But for the most part, enterprise architecture is internally focused. Nowadays if businesses are to succeed, they need to look not just at what is happening within but also what is happening externally.
erwin Director of Product Management Chris White believes businesses need to consider the concept of a customer journey architect because brands no longer define themselves. They are defined by the customer, based largely on their experiences.
“Customers now have the power to define, through social media, the quality and effectiveness of a brand and of a product,” White explains. “So rather than focusing on branding and marketing, companies need to focus on the customer experience. If they get that right, the customer base will build the brand for them.”
“In a time when customers have a wealth of choices available to them regarding with whom they choose to do business, White believes action needs to be taken to get ahead of the competition and really understand what the customer wants.
“This is our opportunity to help companies think about their customers, challenges and desire to improve the customer experience,” he continues.
“Companies focus on a lot of processes and data that has no impact on customers. However, a customer journey architect would serve as a specialized enterprise architect dedicated to the entire customer journey and all their experiences along the way.”
Certainly applicable in any business-to-consumer industry, as well as in business-to-business, a customer journey architect would concentrate day in and day out on understanding how customers come to your business and interact with it throughout the buying process.
This idea of constant evaluation and improvement is paramount in today’s business climate. It fundamentally underpins the agility businesses need to adopt to keep up with ever-changing trends, regular disruption and a constant influx of new data.
Many companies profess to understand who their customers are and what they need, but that’s why White thinks they need to look closer. “Customer journey architecture is not going to help you better understand what your customers want; it’s going to enable you to better understand what systems and data assets are directly affecting the customer experience,” he notes. “Where are the gaps, what are the issues, and how can we make improvements? These are the questions a customer journey architect will help you answer.”
Because customer insights are data based, you need to ensure you understand your data. That means you have to manage it efficiently.
So when implementing an enterprise architecture initiative (a customer journey architect in this case), it is important to build the program on strong foundations. A data management platform integrating data modeling, enterprise architecture and business process modeling will provide a more holistic and manageable approach, enabling efficient analysis and decision-making.
For example, enterprise architecture, and by extension customer journey architecture, should influence strategic planning. Implementing a customer journey architect in a vacuum will get you answers, but not solutions. Implementing such solutions will often require process changes.