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 and what it does.
But, for the most part, enterprise architecture is internally focussed, and nowadays if businesses are to succeed they need to be looking not just at what is happening within their business but what is externally coming into their business.
What is a customer journey architect?
Casewise consultant Chris White believes that businesses need to consider the concept of a customer journey architect: “I think the real driver is that brands are no longer defined by the company, brands are defined by the customer [and] that is based largely on their customer experience. Customers now have the power to define, through social media, the quality and effectiveness of a brand and of a product. So rather than companies focussing on their brand and their marketing they need to focus far more on the customer experience because if they get the customer experience right the customer base will build the brand for them.”
In a time when customers have a wealth of choice available to them with regards to who they choose to do business with, Chris believes that action needs to be taken now to get ahead of the competition and really understand what your customer wants. He continued: “This is our opportunity to get companies to think about their customer, about their challenge and their desire to affect and improve the customer experience. There are a lot of processes and a lot of data that companies execute and depend on that is completely hidden from the customer experience and it doesn’t impact customers in the least. There is a proportion of that, which does have a direct impact on or exposure to the customer. The customer journey architect would be a specialism of an enterprise architect – but with the focus specifically on the customer journey and experience.”
Does my company need a customer journey architect?
Applicable to any business to consumer industry, the idea of a customer journey architect would be to have someone who is focussed day to day on understanding how customers come to your business and their experience when doing so.
Admittedly, many companies may say they already have a good understanding of who their customers are and what they do but that’s why Chris 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 affecting the direct customer experience. Where are the gaps and where are the issues and where can we make improvements?”