What is a digital experience platform and what does it mean for Africa?
By Ndagi Job Goshi, GM Liferay Africa
Around the globe, companies have come to realise that the things most likely to set them apart from their competitors aren’t product or price, but the experiences they provide to customers.
Thanks to the ubiquity of consumer technology, nearly all of these experiences are at least to some degree digital.
So, in order to stay competitive, organisations need to provide the best possible digital experiences.
Of course, achieving the kind of digital transformation required for these experiences can be extremely challenging, particularly when organisations attempt to achieve this level of transformation without assistance.
Utilised correctly, a digital experience platform (DXP) can greatly simplify providing these experiences, particularly within the African context.
What is a DXP?
In order to understand why a DXP can be so useful, it’s worth taking a closer look at what it is and what it’s supposed to do.
Put simply, a DXP is a digital integration platform, designed to simplify the digital transformation process for organisations and improve the overall customer experience. The platform allows businesses to digitise business operations, deliver a consistent customer experience across all channels, and gather insights on customers.
Ultimately, the goal of a DXP is to help companies provide the best possible digital experience to its customers, employees, partners and other stakeholders. It does this by simplifying the integration of digital tools, enhancing self-service capabilities, and improving collaboration and knowledge sharing.
This is doubly so when you factor in how social media can be used to influence the public’s perception of a company.
Additionally, the data insights provided by a DXP make it easier to ensure that a company’s customers get the right message, at the right time, through the right channel. These insights not only ensure that customers are more likely to make a purchase, but also that they’ll remain loyal to the company and advocate for it among their peers.
McKinsey estimates that digital transformation and a focus on customer experience can generate a 20-30% increase in customer satisfaction and economic gains of 20-50%.
Unfortunately, however, many African organisations have yet to realise the full benefits of digital transformation.
In fact, a report from BCG shows considerable lag between the continent and the rest of the world. Companies across Africa have an average digital maturity score on BCG’s index of 29 (out of a possible 100), compared with 55 for Asia, 51 for Europe, and 49 for the Americas combined.
While there is obviously a great deal of variability between, and within countries (the highest-scoring companies on the continent show digital transformation levels on par with leading companies in other parts of the world), the overall picture is one of major room for improvement.
Among the factors cited for such low levels of digital transformation are low internet penetration and a lack of digital skills at the macro level. Within organisations, management’s inability to narrow digital priorities and employee cultural resistance are also major factors.
While the overall situation may seem bleak, it also illustrates how big the opportunity is for organisations which do embrace digital transformation. Because there’s so much room for growth, the dividends of digital transformation are much higher in Africa than in other regions.
It’s also worth noting that the continent’s already high mobile penetration rates (smartphone penetration has surpassed 90% in South Africa) are converging with increasing levels of connectivity. This means the demand for great digital experiences will only grow among African consumers.
The companies that can provide them with these experiences now, particularly on mobile, will be well-positioned to succeed going forward.
Simplifying digital transformation
Of course, digital transformation is an ongoing process that must involve the entire company and not just siloed departments. The perception that this is a complex endeavour may be behind some of the management and employee push back. It doesn’t have to be.
Utilising a DXP from a provider with an established track record can make digital transformation a great deal simpler. This, in turn, allows companies to more quickly and fully realise the benefits of digital transformation. And in Africa in particular, that early-mover advantage could prove vital.