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A Customer-First Approach to Digital Transformation

Roland Alston, Appian
April 6, 2017

Today, I checked outone of the many concurrent breakout sessionsat Appian World 2017.This one, which focused onfinancial services, was calledTransforming to Customer First. It featured Jen Reynolds, Senior Project Manager at Sunsuper,anAustralian-based financial services company with over one million member customers. (Watch Sunsupervideo).

I had heard a lot about the success Sunsuper was having with process automation, and improving the customer experience with Appian. I wanted to hear about their remarkable success story firsthand. And I wasn't disappointed.

Early in her presentation, Reynolds talked about how Sunsuper has used the Appian low-code development platform to significantly reduce operational costs and transform to a customer-centric enterprise.

Later, shementioned that she is eager toget her hands on the latest version of Appian. In the meantime, though, Reynolds andher team have introduced an omni-channel contact center, using their existing Appian enterprise application platform.

"We're working on a number of processes," said Reynolds, "including a customer dashboard that will tie together all of our data threads. And drive member and employee engagement."

Reynolds also talked about lessons learned from her Appian experience, like embedding the idea of "customer first" in your culture. She said that it's not enough to just talk about the customer experience.

"At Sunsuper, we actually changed our Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) from efficiency to customer satisfaction KPIs. That was very important to us. But you must also prepare for the paradigm shift between IT and Business. In general, business users blame systems. They'll say that the systems don't do what they want them to doÖ" But we got business involved in the design process early, to make sure that we were meeting their expectations. This is how we ensured that business was more engaged throughout the build cycle," said Reynolds.

From a process improvement standpoint, Reynolds suggested thinking about digital transformation in terms of what it means for your customers. This approach could open up more opportunities for process improvement than you might otherwise find. In the Q&A portion of her presentation, Reynolds warned against underestimating the integration challenge. Being able to quickly bring together legacy systems and new systems is a critical success factor. And it's something that should be puzzled out as soon as possible.

"It's really hard to overcome data challenges during the build cycle," said Reynolds. We dealt with that issue in our design sprints. We were solution agnostic. We still had design people helping us figure out our data requirements. Basically, they helped us determine the data we needed to meet the expectations of our customers."

Roland Alston