Application Development

The Future of CX Depends on Data

As businesses work to prioritize customer experience, the pressure on software development teams to develop faster becomes astronomical. A modern data infrastructure powered by DataOps makes it all possible.

Kobi Korsah

Jun 22, 2020

At a time when online or mobile interactions are the only ones that customers are able or willing to have with a business, the call for a digitally-enabled experience is more pressing than ever.

In his book “The Fourth Industrial Revolution,” Karl Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, points out that in business it’s no longer big fish eating small, it’s the fast fish eating the slow. Schwab writes that leaders need to create a future that puts people first and understand that new technologies are tools made by people for people. In other words, companies must speed up and focus on the human experience.

It’s no surprise that consumers today gravitate towards engaging digital experiences. Even before the Covid-19 pandemic crisis took hold, a Walker study found that by the end of 2020, customer experience (CX) will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. And good CX pays—companies that prioritize it bring in 5.7 times more revenue than competitors that don’t, according to Forrester.

Turning Digital Disruption Into Opportunity

Nearly 95% of CEOs see digital disruption as more opportunity than a threat. That optimism fuels digital transformation projects and enables companies to accelerate market expansion, cut time to value with new products and services, and effectively compete in new and different ways. However, the particularly inefficient and ineffective movement and sharing of data remain thorny issues at the core of these strategic initiatives.

More than 70% of senior IT executives believe sub-optimal data operations are a significant bottleneck to top business priorities.

The manually intensive movement of physical data copies over and over across overloaded networks requires an army of sysadmins and DBAs—as well as four to five days to provision a new data environment for developers, analysts, and QA engineers—and impacts production and downstream systems. As a result, accessing siloed data while dealing with privacy concerns and strict data regulations introduces latencies, risks, and infrastructure costs.

So how can companies achieve the level of personalization that customers expect and keep a pulse of their evolving preferences? A modern data infrastructure powered by DataOps makes it all possible.

A DataOps platform combines data compliance with on-demand delivery to give app dev teams access to the right data at the right time in order to improve software quality, reduce application downtime, dramatically cut project timelines while saving data storage costs. For firms that have implemented it, DataOps has become a ticket to better customer experiences.

With DataOps, Fannie Mae Embarks on Wholesale Data Transformation

Mortgage loan provider Fannie Mae has long wrestled with highly siloed legacy data environments. It was difficult and expensive for the company to access high-quality data quickly, making it challenging to release application updates and make improvements to customer experience. With Chief Data Officer Scott Richardson at the helm, the company sought to develop a more modern data infrastructure. But in order for this to become reality, Fannie Mae had to first build a centralized data operation using DataOps.

Fannie Mae used Delphix, a DataOps platform, to accelerate data flow by automating data movement and enabling self-service for developers. Using the platform, developers were able to pull in data from dozens of critical applications and subsequently create virtual databases to rewind, refresh, and restore testing environments for that data. This enabled them to recover from errors faster than before.

Instead of waiting days for an environment to be restored, for example, developers could immediately rewind test scenarios to the precise point where a problem was detected. In one large program with over 20 apps connected in an end-to-end test environment, Fannie Mae avoided 28 days of slippage and kept the project on track. This gave developers and testers confidence to try new experimental approaches, increasing application test coverage and overall quality.

Today, Fannie Mae has a modern data environment with near real-time updates, which delivers a better digital experience for users. “Data is now viewed as a business asset. We are engaged in thinking about business strategy through the lens of furthering our mission and improving the customer experience with data,” Richardson said.

Every Company is a Data Company⁠—Whether They Know it or Not

Meeting customers where they are, especially in a time of need, means enabling digital experiences. Delphix is a DataOps platform that non-disruptively connects to applications, databases, or associated data warehouses and compresses the data to create space-efficient copies.

The technology tracks and versions all changes and generates virtual environments, which take up less than 5% of the space of physical copies, that can easily be delivered to developers, analysts, and QA engineers in minutes (instead of what was previously often weeks or months). Sophisticated controls⁠—such as rewind or fast forward—enable these data consumers to make a change, reset to any point or state in time, refresh the data, create bookmarks, or make snapshots for compliance or audit needs. The platform can also integrate multiple virtual data sources to perform integration testing. The possibilities are endless.

As businesses work to prioritize CX, the pressure on software development teams becomes astronomical. They’re asked to build, test, deploy, and scale applications at lightning speed to accommodate fast-changing needs and preferences, yet without a modern data infrastructure, this is virtually impossible. A DataOps platform can change all that. It not only enables businesses to experiment, develop and innovate faster, but also makes developers’ lives easier and improves the experience for end-users as well.

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