ProductAnalyticsOvertakenAmplitude just released the survey report "Making the Leap to a Digital-First Enterprise" that shows the shift in how digital business leaders are measuring the impact of digital experiences in the new era and how businesses could thoughtfully transition to digital-first.

With Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, Amplitude examined how companies can meet their data challenges, gain a competitive advantage, and improve customer engagement in an era of digitization. The report includes insights from 295 global business executives at companies ranging in size from hundreds to tens of thousands of employees, across a variety of key industries.

“Embracing a true digital-first mindset is more than setting an intention and relies on a business bringing teams closer to the edge between their digital products and their customers to meet them where they are, and to anticipate their expectations. This deep understanding of customers requires real-time insight and data-driven agility that goes beyond the traditional measurement systems. Tracking website visitors, demographic data, net promoter score (NPS), and baseline dashboard metrics no longer suffice as complete and holistic indicators of customer preferences and behaviors. Relying on centralized systems, IT teams, and static customer surveys creates bottlenecks and data silos, and detaches the teams creating the customer experience from powerful customer insights. Digital customers are savvy, dynamic, and fluid. Businesses need new strategies and systems that enable them to keep pace,” Jennifer Johnson, Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer, Amplitude, explains in the report’s introduction.

In a nutshell, the report uncovered five new pillars critical to laying the foundation for digital business success in the new digital-first era, including:

  • The digital-first era is here to stay: More than three quarters of executives surveyed (78%) said digital adoption has accelerated and will never return to previous levels, with customers having formed new and lasting digital habits; 92% said now is a unique opportunity to capitalize on digital acceleration.
  • Digital product is the epicenter of the digital business: 58% of executives cited a focus on user engagement as the number one indicator of a digital product’s long-term success. This highlights the shift from measuring how to “get the customer in the door”, with metrics such as ad clicks and website traffic, to measuring how customers are realizing value within the digital product as the new benchmark for digital success.
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS) is fading in relevance: NPS used to be the holy grail of measuring customer sentiment and loyalty. Now, only 16% of executives see customer sentiment scores such as NPS as important to a digital product’s long-term success, highlighting a key shift from measuring after-the-fact customer sentiment to real-time user engagement within the digital product experience as the critical digital success factor.
  • Data culture is a differentiator: 43% of executives cited the lack of a data-driven culture as the top challenge to making the leap to a digital-first business. Nearly 40% of executives also cited the inability to analyze their customers’ full experience across devices and products, and a lack of centralized data, as key challenges.
  • Expectations are high and the competition relentless: 81% of executives believe user expectations for great digital experiences have never been higher, and 69% said competition for customer loyalty has never been fiercer, highlighting the urgency and criticality for all digital businesses to rethink how they deliver customer value in the new era.

"There are now two types of companies emerging faster than ever – digital disruptors and those being digitally disrupted," says Jennifer Johnson. "To survive in this new digital-first era, companies need a fundamentally new approach to understanding digital customer behavior, predicting which behaviors translate to business outcomes, and adapting digital experiences to maximize business outcomes. You cannot get this visibility through ad clicks and web traffic. The new digital business metric to unlocking growth is measuring where value is created and exchanged – in the digital product. Measuring digital success through this lens needs to be at the core of every digital business," she concludes.

Indeed, businesses need to uncover what’s working, pinpoint where to double down, and determine where to place their bets to exceed customer expectations and keep pace with the competition. With deeper insight into digital customers, growth opportunities expand from simply increasing the number of customers to creating a highly engaged, highly valuable customer base.

By Daniela La Marca