With 2020 fast approaching and budgeting season in full swing, we get a lot of questions from Episerver customers asking which enhancements they should be budgeting for in the coming year. When answering this question we always try to evaluate the tactics an organization should implement to provide the most value in the shortest amount of time. In addition, it's critical to understand that every organization is at a different level of digital maturity, meaning a one-size-fits-all approach is not always possible. That being said, there are three key areas every organization should focus on regardless of its stage in the digital agility model.
For Episerver customers not utilizing the out-of-the-box personalization features, this area must be a focus in 2020. Personalization is not a feature to simply turn on. When considering personalization in 2020, first start with a strategy. There are several stages of personalization ranging from a more manual approach focused on the use of Episerver visitor groups, to a more automated/autonomous approach utilizing one or more of Episerver's DXC SaaS-based services. Whichever method is right for your organization, it's important to know the following:
- Customers no longer respond to one-size-fits-all messaging. They expect a personalized experience.
- If you are not contextualizing content/products today, then you are already behind the curve and this should be a primary focus for your organization in 2020.
Integrating with Your CRM or MAP
Eliminating data silos should always be a focal point of every organization. This is a critical step in expediting sales/leads and creating a truly unique customer experience. In Episerver, this starts with integrating your website with your CRM and Marketing Automation Platform (MAP). This enables leads to flow from your website into your CRM/MAP to be nurtured by your marketing team or actioned by your sales team. It also allows for the bi-directional flow of data between your CRM/MAP and your Episerver website. This sharing of data eliminates data silos and creates rich customer experiences through the use of Episerver's personalization features. Based on the sophistication of your existing platforms, this level of integration is a major step toward creating a true omnichannel experience for your customers.
Eliminate Duplicate Data with Content Providers
To get more done with a smaller budget, a key area is content duplication. This is the practice where one or more individuals at your organization copy content from one external system and place it into Episerver. We see this in many common areas including:
- Faculty/Staff Directories
- Calendar Events from Office 365, etc.
- External Content Feeds
- Assets from DAMs
- Other External Systems
Rather than using full-time employees to do this work which can be prone to human error, slow the time-to-market on your digital initiatives, and carry huge opportunity costs, it is better to take advantage of Episerver's Content Providers. These Content Providers allow Episerver to consume data from 3rd party systems and automatically place them within the Episerver platform with no manual intervention. The time savings and speed-to-market far outweigh any implementation costs associated with getting the Content Providers up and running within the Episerver platform. If your organization is concerned with data accuracy, eliminating wasteful process, or freeing up resources to focus on other mission-critical tasks, this item should be on your shortlist for 2020.
Bonus Strategy - Content as a Service
If you are trying to solve the content duplication issue outlined above, other platforms such as native mobile apps can benefit from consuming data from the Episerver platform. In that scenario, Episerver offers its Content as a Service API which allows these other platforms to consume data from Episerver and ingest it into their system. This expedites time-to-market for your content within those applications and eliminates any content duplication between platforms.
There are hundreds if not thousands of options every organization is considering in 2020. However, when it comes to Episerver and your digital strategy, focusing on what moves your organization forward from a digital maturity perspective is critical. Implementing the strategies outlined in this article will set the foundation for more sales/leads, happier team members, and most importantly, happier customers.