Sitecore Data Exchange Framework – diagram

Few weeks ago I had an opportunity to take a look into Sitecore Data Exchange Framework. At first glance it was looking very cool and still it is but I have realized that one thing there is missing. In this post I will provide you something what will help you understand how it works.

If you do not know for what we can do with Sitecore Data Exchange Framework, following definition from documentation should tell you everything:

Data Exchange Framework is designed to facilitate the transfer of data between two systems.

You can find more on documentation page: http://integrationsdn.sitecore.net/DataExchangeFramework/v1.3/getting-started/overview.html

In documentation you will find very well described parts of the framework but it can be hard to “connect the dots” right away. That is why I have prepared diagrams – because image is worth a thousands words.

You can use them after/during reading of official documentation.

Standalone pipeline

Pipelines in batch

Summary

Diagrams describe how all elements of framework are connected and how they cooperate. If something on the diagrams is not readable then try to open pdf file from here: Sitecore Data Exchange Framework – Diagrams

Sitecore Customer Experience Maturity Model – Stage 3 – Align

In this post we will focus on Align Stage which is Stage 3 of Sitecore Customer Experience Maturity Model. It is a third and the last one stage of “Attract” phase.

What does it mean to be on “Align stage”?

Things here are getting complicated. You have more data about your customers, ideas of your marketing department are more and more complex, your business has to align to all needs. This is a key for this stage – you have to find a way to make everyone happy (align digital goals with marketing objectives that drive strategic objectives to achieve a real value across used channels).

Sounds like something impossible – let’s try to make it possible!

Before we will move on to the list of main objectives in Align stage we have to be sure that we understand all things in the same way. So it is time for short glossary.

Short Glossary for IT Guys

Digital Goals - goals strongly related to actions made by users on our website, mobile application etc. For example it can be: sign up for newsletter, complete survey, connect with facebook account.

Marketing Objectives - objectives drive marketing departments. They want to know their clients. They are able to know their clients if they will gather the data/contacts. So in this case for marketing objectives we can give following examples: capture profile data, contact acquisition.

Strategic Objectives - objectives which are crucial for the company. The best possible example can be "Increase revenue".

Strategic Themes - high level objectives which are not define details but general goals for company. For instance it can be: the best quality on the market, lifetime customers, etc.

Authors of “Connect” book define three main objectives of this stage:

  • show how digital goals drive strategic and marketing objectives
  • create an Engagement Value Scale (EVS) – scale which values digital goals to its relative impact on organizational objectives
  • define Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that measure marketing impact and efficiency as well as the relevance to customers

Ok, ok, wait a second, but what does it mean in simple words? If you are software developer as I am you probably still do not know about what they are talking.

Engagement Value Scale (EVS)

To understand that definition, we should be aware that all objectives and goals are somehow connected. They can be on different level, they can have different value for the company, but they should be identified and should build together strategic theme. In other words it means that, digital goals are ingredients of marketing objectives, marketing objectives are ingredients of strategic objectives and strategic objectives are ingredients of strategic themes – simple.

Now if we will check again the definition of EVS we should notice that if we have digital goals we should also have a scale to define which of them are more important from organization point of view.

Keep in mind that values which you will define will have impact for marketing objectives and later for higher levels of the objectives – so values should be proportional to how much that goal contributes in higher level (marketing objective).

Later in the “deep dive” series I will try to describe how to prepare EVS but for now you just should understand what it is.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

You have defined goals with engagement value scale – but, would you be able to say for someone that your activities and marketing strategy brings you more money/value from visit/clients/satisfaction/what is important for you and your clients? You need to have indicators which values will define the scale of your success – all important for you indicators we can close in one definition “Key Performance Indicators”.

With provided by Sitecore “Executive Insight Dashboard” you can measure efficiency of your decisions and actions. You can use for it also different tools or just simple stats – depends on your defined KPIs.

What more we should know?

You already know what Alignment stage is and what you have to understand to move on. But it is not always enough to move to another stage.

Sitecore has prepared Marketing Optimization Matrix (MOM) to help you use better your resources. You can check that topic alone or wait for me – I definitely will talk about this later in “deep dive” series.

If you will feel that you are fluently manage all your goals and objectives, that you have properly set values but you need some better strategy for multiple campaigns – then check MOM immediately. (Marketing Optimization Matrix on sitecore.net)

In next article I will write about first stage in “Convert” phase which is “Stage 4 – Optimize”. That name tells us that we will already have really useful tools in our hands but we need to learn how to use it in optimal way.

 

Please keep in mind that this article is just an overview - later, in next articles or in brand new series I will prepare "deep dive" into digital maturity.

Stay with me, on my blog and learn more together!

 

Sitecore Customer Experience Maturity Model – Stage 2 – Radiate

In this post we will focus on Radiate Stage which is Stage 2 of Sitecore Customer Experience Maturity Model. It is a second stage of “Attract” phase.

What does it mean to be on “Radiate stage”?

I will start here with the definition from “Connect” book.

In Stage 2, Radiate, marketing organizations are more concerned with reaching their customers through the appropriate channels.

It means that on this level you have started to think about your customers. You do not focus only on your offer and products – you understand that you have to know your clients better. That change in your understanding indicates your next actions – work on segmentation of your clients and accessibility on all channels.

Omnichannel

Omnichannel sounds like something ridiculously complicated but if you will check what exactly it means you will be surprised how easy it is.

Wikipedia defines Omnichannel in following way:

Omnichannel is a cross-channel business model that companies use to increase customer experience. ….. bla bla bla ….. including channels such as physical locations, FAQ webpages, social media, live web chats, mobile applications and telephone communication. Companies that use omnichannel contend that a customer values the ability to be in constant contact with a company through multiple avenues at the same time.

In one sentence: always be there where your clients are! If you know/think that your customers use Facebook – you should be there. If you know/think that your customers would use mobile app to know you offer better – you should give them mobile app.

What is cool in Sitecore – no matter which channel you will pick from the list – Sitecore already have a solution for you!

Check this site for more details: http://www.sitecore.net/products/sitecore-experience-platform/cross-channel-delivery

Segmentation

Because you already know that you should not present the same things for all customers you have to split people for segments. There is no one simple answer for question “how split customers for segments” because every group of customers is different – you probably know your customers better than I do,  so you will find the way to split them.

What can determine simple segments assignment:

  • gender
  • age
  • location
  • selected goods
  • campaigns
  • registration details
  • many more other things

You probably noticed that I wrote “simple segments” – I did that because on this level you still know only groups of your customers not concrete people (You will know them better later).

What I have to do to move to the next stage?

Next step for you is “Stage 3 – Align”. In next blog post I will describe details but for now you should be aware that you have solid basis and you are ready to “Align digital initiatives with strategic and marketing Objectives”

 

Please keep in mind that this article is just an overview - later, in next articles or in brand new series I will prepare "deep dive" into digital maturity.

Stay with me, on my blog and learn more together!

Sitecore Customer Experience Maturity Model – Stage 1 – Initiate

In this post we will focus on Initate Stage which is Stage 1 of Sitecore Customer Experience Maturity Model. It is a first stage of “Attract” phase.

What does it mean to be on “Initiate stage”?

I will start here with the definition from “Connect” book.

In the Initiate stage, organizations use a ‘brochure site’ presence on the web with email campaign capabilities and web analytics

In other words everyone is on this stage as long as has a website – especially when you have Sitecore. The second background of it, is the fact that you probably focus on your products/services rather than on your clients. You use email campaigns to inform clients about new items in store or just about promotions.

Because you still do not know your customer you send the same information to all your customers – it means that some of them can treat your marketing messages as a SPAM – it is bad. You will learn later about possible improvements.

It is worth to mention That companies which are in the first stage usually we do not exist on social channels and Their websites are not mobile friendly.

Analytics

In Sitecore you have built in analytics features and even more because you have xDB which can provide you more information about your users than for example Google Analytics.

Many companies have decided to use Google Analytics parallel with Sitecore xDB and others analytics tools – it is not a bad idea because many tools provides different scope of features. It is good to know and understand how tools can complement each other.

Here you can read valuable article about it: click 

If you are in initiate phase you probably only gather traffic data with Google Analytics and you maybe have installed xDB but you do not try to identify and know better your customers.

What is possible? Check videos on this website: click

Email Campaigns

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post – you use emails as a way of communication with your customers. From time to time you send bigger campaigns. You can use external mass mailing providers or Sitecore builtin Email Experience Manager (EXM – click for more information).

You should noticed that at this point you send the same messages to all your clients. For example if your products are clothes you will send promotion with bow-ties to all woman and man in your database – it is not a good way of selling – you should start think about segmentation and send different personalized messages for different groups of people.

At some point you will notice that there is a lot of work to do, when you have to work on segments manually – you can change that with Sitecore.

What I have to do to move to the next stage?

Next step for you is “Stage 2 – Radiate”. In next blog post I will describe details but for now you should be aware that you need a change.

Before you will move faster you have to be there where your customers are, so your website should be correctly displayed on mobile devices and you have to exist on Social Media channels because in the future you will use data gathered from them.

 

Please keep in mind that this article is just an overview - later, in next articles or in brand new series I will prepare "deep dive" into digital maturity.

Stay with me, on my blog and learn more together!

Sitecore Customer Experience Maturity Model

For last few months I was looking for some free time to get into the “Sitecore Customer Experience Maturity Model”. Now I have found some time which I can spend on learning new stuff.

I have decided to prepare few posts about “Sitecore Customer Experience Maturity Model” but from technical person point of view. Why? Because in my opinion it is really important to understand why we (developers) spend so much time on preparing personalized Sitecore components which use xDB data.

When we are talking about Digital Maturity in context of Sitecore we should remember about many Sitecore publications and SBOS team.

Do you know this images?

Sitecore Customer Experience Maturity Chart from http://www.sitecore.net/getting-started/maturing-digitally/cx-maturity-model

Customer Experience Maturity Model

Chart from http://www.connecttheexperience.com/CX-Maturity-Assessment

On presented charts you are able to check all seven steps to Digital Maturity.

But what exactly Digital Maturity is? Well, in easy words we can say that Digital Maturity is a point on time in which you use all possible ways to know your clients and you serve to them personalized content on all possible channels.

If you want to check on which stage is your company currently, you can try to put your data into form on this page: http://www.connecttheexperience.com/CX-Maturity-Model

But if you have not seen that before you probably will have some problems with understanding of the results. So stay with me, here on my blog and remember :

YOU SHOULD NOT TRY TO SKIP OVER THE STAGES, YOU SHOULD MOVE THROUHG ALL OF THEM STEP BY STEP

I will try to write about all maturity stages with easy to understand examples – so follow my next articles.