For B2B organizations that want to advance their businesses in the digital realm, they need to focus on the consumer point of view. PYMNTS recently spoke with Ken Quaglio, President of Siteworx, a digital experience agency. Quaglio shared his thoughts about the importance for B2B organizations to change their thinking to start at the client end – rather than business out – in order to succeed in the digital space.
What advice would you give to organizations that are looking to advance their businesses through digital?
KQ: It’s interesting; one of the things we talk about with a lot of our clients is this notion of there being a business strategy and then a digital strategy and a mobile strategy, and so on. If businesses are thinking linearly like that, our view is that it’s too late. You have a strategy; it is mobile, it is digital.
I think you need to have those considerations as part of your discussion about what the business is doing, rather than defining what the business is doing and then asking those questions.
What are some of the more complex digital challenges that you’ve encountered at Siteworx, and what was done to solve them?
KQ: I think there’s a common theme rather than a specific example. One of the things we have clients come to us with is, “We want to rebuild our website,” or, “We want to create a differentiated customer experience.” And the challenge you get into is finding a real definition of what success looks like.
What we encounter very often is that clients have a notion of, “I want this because I saw it somewhere else.” But they don’t start the thinking from the customer end; they start it from the business out. Our greatest challenge is getting the client to stop and ask some fundamental questions about: What’s the experience that the client wants? Not just the one you want to create, but also the needs, wants and desires that they’re coming to you to fulfill – and let’s design from the outside in.
Frankly, that is the biggest challenge that we encounter with many of our clients – just changing the mindset to think from the outside in.
How have the needs and expectations of B2B customers changed over time and how is Siteworx meeting those?
KQ: It’s just like the consumerization of IT inside enterprise. Back in the day, when we all had desktops, you’d bring your laptop from home to the enterprise and say “connect this thing,” and then you did it with a mobile phone, and then a smartphone…and that has just continued to advance.
When you think about your B2C experiences – let’s talk about buying. When I go to Amazon, my purchase experience is delightful. It works; I’ve got ratings; I’ve got everything I need; one click, it’s done; it’s there in a day or two. You think about B2B…not quite the same yet.
What we talk to clients about – what we believe is happening at an accelerated pace – is this notion of the consumerization of the B2B experience. They don’t want to deal with multiple layers of contracting and procurement and emails going back and forth; they want a simplified experience where they can focus on the value that’s being created, rather than the transaction.
What strategies and measurements can companies use to determine their digital return on investment?
KQ: With our clients, we don’t go in and talk about digital. We start with the business: What is the business trying to do? We don’t even get to digital until way down in the process.
We really start with the business strategy, understanding what that is: What is an outcome? How will you know if you’ve achieved that outcome? What are the specific, first-level strategies that you’re using to deliver those outcomes? And ultimately, we get to: What are your capabilities across the business, digital or physical – although obviously we’re more focused on the digital capabilities – that are going to be required to enable those first-level strategies, deliver those business outcomes, and ultimately realize the business success that you’re after?
Some of those are sort of qualitative, but we try to drive the very quantitative. If you look at what people have done with digital, a lot of money has been invested in tools and technologies with uncertain outcomes. The questions are getting asked, “How do I improve the probability of a successful outcome as defined by the business, not as defined by IT or CMO or anybody else?”
We’re trying to build that into the strategies upfront, and then make sure that we know how we’re going to measure that on the back end so we can actually report back on a very tangible ROI.
How has Siteworx evolved to keep up with all of the things you just talked about?
KQ: We grew up in the age of content management systems, helping clients design and implement them, starting in 2002. As the world that our clients dealt with expanded, so did our services. Now we provide a full service, from strategy, to experience, to platforms to include eCommerce, and – probably the most important one – performance: how all those things to work together to drive value for the business. We also offer a set of services which can manage things on behalf of our clients, who are primarily B2B.