5. July 2021 By Heike Heger
Four important aspects to help you map the customer journey perfectly: #4 Interoperability
Generally speaking, there are several definitions of the word ‘interoperability’:
Interoperability is the ability of different systems, techniques or organisations to work together. This usually requires compliance with common technical standards. When two systems are compatible with each other, they are also called interoperable.
Interoperability is the ability of independent and heterogeneous systems to work together seamlessly to exchange data in an efficient and usable way or to make it available to the user without the need for special adaptations.
So when a marketing manager needs to focus on the customer, the focus of the interoperability could be that the chosen Digital Experience Platform (DXP) has the advantage of being able to integrate quickly and easily with various internal and external systems in an agile way, for instance.
A DXP also has the ability to work seamlessly with other systems and services. However, as these strengths relate more to functions for developers and designers, this fact is nice for the marketing decision-makers in their daily work, but less relevant.
Interoperability as a factor for success
Despite this, a company’s digital business is growing steadily and, in the same wake, maintaining and developing its online operations is becoming more and more of a challenge. The integration of the experience platform into other (internal and external) systems can therefore also become a decisive factor for the success of the business. The better that the platform and systems interact, the easier it is to achieve flexibility in the design of IT-driven measures. A digital experience platform per se enters the market as a ‘best-of-suite approach’, which means it already includes a large number of functions as standard. But each company also has its own systems that it considers relevant and irreplaceable or that are not included in the suite.
These systems may be internal systems, for instance. They include ERPs (Enterprise Resource Planning), CRM (Customer Relationship Management), PIM (Product Information Management) and external systems – including remote services (translation, shipping, payment gateways) and connections to third parties – among others (partner) systems. So in sum, it’s all about how quickly, sustainably and cost-effectively you can work together with other systems. And this is latest point where it also becomes relevant for the marketing decision-makers. This is because digital professionals know the pain and barriers behind integrations of business systems even in a cloud world where APIs and web services let developers do so much. This means that it’s critical that a solution such as the DXP is not only smart and efficient in its own right, but also helps to remove complexity while enabling smart, reliable service and business integrations.
There are many different ways to achieve this, such as creating simple technical integration layers, developing connectors for a variety of solutions or displaying all information via web APIs.
A good connection is the key
In practice, interoperability is achieved with integration frameworks and other systems, as well as by connecting the DXP to third-party solutions and services such as:
- ERP and CRM
- Payment systems
- Subscription management
- Marketing automation and e-mail marketing
- Digital asset management (DAM)
- Translation and localisation services
- Other content management systems and platforms
- Social networks
- Many more
Decision-makers in marketing need a promising solution portfolio to align their processes as closely as possible to the customer journey of their customers. ‘Coherent’ doesn’t just mean ‘logically coordinated’, but also ‘communicating seamlessly’ – and this of course includes the technical processes in the background. Best-of-suite meets best-of-breed: in this case, internal and external systems should be able to ‘communicate’ smoothly in the background, from the initial communication to placing an order, paying and the goods being dispatched, so that the customer takes away only one thing in the end – the unbeatable feeling of the perfect customer experience.
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Why not check out some of the other interesting blog posts from this series?