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Established 1996
Sunday 05 July 2020


Retail CIO comms strategies ‘battling with legacy systems’

Written by Peter Walker

The majority (87 per cent) of retail chief information officers (CIOs) find integrating new communications with legacy systems a challenge.

This is according to research from cloud communications software provider IMImobile, which found that almost all (98 per cent) the 200 UK retail CIOs and senior IT decision-makers surveyed felt under pressure to deliver the customer experience (CX) expected by both customers and the wider business.

Businesses are increasingly expected to respond with the same level of speed and consistency, whether using email, SMS, Facebook Messenger or new channels such as WhatsApp Business. However, almost half (48 per cent) of retail CIOs admitted they are unable to provide a truly connected customer communications experience across all channels and business systems.

Asked to consider the major barriers they face when it comes to delivering a frictionless customer experience, retail CIOs cited legacy IT systems (61 per cent), data being spread across multiple systems (44 per cent), and budget constraints (50 per cent), as the top three blockers to progress.

“It is widely known that the ability to innovate and improve customer communications can make or break a business,” said Aseem Sadana, executive vice president at IMImobile. “The challenge is that delivering a great customer experience is easier said than done – this is especially the case for large consumer-facing enterprises, where fragmented, legacy IT environments make integrating new communications channels and processes very complex.”

Retail CIOs also revealed some specific challenges they face around the piecemeal evolution of customer communications environments. More than two thirds (68 per cent) said their current development approach hinders ability to change or create new customer journeys in a fast and agile manner.

The research also uncovered that almost nine in ten (81 per cent) find it a challenge to ensure customer communications remain compliant with new regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation or second Payment Services Directive.

Almost three quarters (73 per cent) fear an inability to automate customer journeys end-to-end will lead their organisation to fall behind competitors, but just over a third (35 per cent) are currently able to automate customer communications journeys from end-to-end.

Under half (45 per cent) are automating customer communications journeys, while 43 per cent said they plan to automate them in the next three years.


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