In a recent survey conducted by the DOCUMENT Strategy Forum, executives, senior managers and program managers reported that the single most important benefit they are seeking to improve is the customer online experience, with over 75% of respondents rating this factor as most important (see figure below). Other customer-related benefits also were highly rated, including self-service, mobile and call center experiences. The survey, conducted across a broad range of industry sectors, reflected the opinions of a diverse group of respondents with different roles in their organizations.

Most important business benefits

(% of respondents)

Respondents also are seeking benefits inside their organizations, including the opportunity to improve collaboration and business intelligence. In addition, respondents want to improve the effectiveness of compliance initiatives and reduce the costs. 

The relatively low ranking for marketing and channel agility may indicate a lack of broad understanding of the importance of these areas. While some sectors, like retail, have been investing heavily to improve their time to market, we believe that others don’t yet see that they have a channel, marketing or e-commerce opportunity that is analogous.

Finally, it was interesting to note that most respondents did not see that there were more benefits to pursue in operational efficiency, as reflected in the low ratings for improving call center efficiency and R&D efficiency. These lower priorities may reflect the valid perception that while there can always be some benefit to streamlining operations, the impact of improving the customer experience swamps the benefits of improving efficiency.

Challenges and priorities
Survey participants were asked to share their perspective on their biggest challenges/issues, and their responses were mapped against those challenges to their reported investment priorities. In general, respondents view their investment priorities to be highly correlated with their biggest challenges, 
although the areas of knowledge management, enterprise search and compliance appear to face the risk of underinvestment when compared to the relative challenges faced in those areas.

(% of respondents)

The emphasis on process automation is somewhat surprising, given the relatively low ratings for efficiency benefits mentioned previously. However, ratings for the other priorities reinforced the finding that the respondents believe that there are significant business benefits, and the corresponding challenges and investment priorities, in the area of customer experience. 

Finally, it is clear that significant challenges and opportunities remain in “foundational” capabilities, such as knowledge management and enterprise search. Closing the gap between challenge and investment may be particularly difficult when the business benefits are not clearly understood or articulated. 

An upcoming article will focus on survey responses relating to collaboration and multi-channel strategy and provide another view of challenges and opportunities.

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