The IT Architecture/Framework of an organisation is continuously evolving, particularly in a growing enterprise. This is due to developing technologies, increased business activities, new markets, cyber threats, regulatory demands etc. Ensuring that the IT infrastructure is in line with the business activities and objectives is fundamental to the competitiveness of an organisation. We're excited to be heading to Frankfurt for this event, as it will bring together Enterprise Architecture professionals from across Europe, Russia/CIS and the Middle East for an extremely interesting two days for all those involved in ensuring their organisations’ EA is keeping pace with the technological, business and regulatory changes and demands of these fast-evolving times. MEGA is a silver sponsor of this event and will be exhibiting on the show floor. Yannick Rudloff, Pre-Sales Manager at MEGA will be presenting the benefits of the company's Hopex platform and how it can provide the best business value possible from an EA platform. To stay up-to-date on what’s happening at the event, follow us on Twitter - @mega_int. You can attend the event to learn about Enterprise Architecture for the new and developing financial services ecosystem Maximising the flexibility and agility of your Enterprise Architecture Fast-developing & disruptive technologies Alignment with business activities Cyber security Greater process optimization through advancements in RPA and AI Cloud computing Architecture-led strategy & planning Compliance to financial regulation Big and Smart Data Risk management IT regulation and compliance Enterprise Architecture for ever increasing customer self-service Who should attend: Enterprise architects Heads of strategy and execution in the nuclear decommissioning sector VPs of business transformation and business excellence Business leaders with a stake in change management and business process management To set up a private meeting with MEGA at this event, please send me a direct message and I'll get back to you. We also have a small number of discounted passes available, so you can contact me if you would like access to those (please note these are first-come-first-served). To learn more, visit the conference website. We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible in Frankfurt!
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Mega are sponsoring this year’s Defence Information conference, which brings together defence seniors and thought leaders, innovators and suppliers, practitioners and subject matter experts, academics and those with ‘other sector’ know-how. The stimulating format of DI’18 includes a range of keynote speakers, interactive workshops, the TD-Info Excellence Awards, exhibition stands and plenty of opportunities for networking - including a dinner at the fantastic STEAM museum in Swindon. This multifaceted event has wide appeal and reliably delivers a sustained ‘buzz’ of interaction amongst attendees. And, the consensus from sponsors, exhibitors and attendees is that it remains remarkably good value-for-money. You should attend to learn about: Aligning organisational processes, infrastructure, and data to create and support a digital backbone across defence organisations Using operational excellence as a strategic weapon for measuring progress and continuous improvement Enabling innovation, strategy execution, and being more operationally agile The full conference agenda and confirmed speakers are available to view on this link. If you would like to pre-book a meeting with the Mega team onsite, please message me in the community and we'll arrange a convenient time with you.
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Either way, just because it’s become well-used should not mean that your organisation should overlook it or become complacent with it – quite the opposite.
Walt Disney called it long ago - “whatever you do, do it well. Do it so well that when people see you do it, they will want to come back and see you do it again, and they will want to bring others and show them how well you do what you do.” It’s worked out pretty well in his businesses.
So what is a customer journey in the digital world? The online polling company SurveyMonkey offers the following definition:
“ The customer journey is the complete sum of experiences that customers go through when interacting with your company and brand. Instead of looking at just a part of a transaction or experience, the customer journey documents the full experience of being a customer ”.
As a consumer myself, I’ve become interested in observing customer journey experiences when I make online purchases or carry out banking or other online administration.
It would not be right to drop specific names on a company blog, but based on Survey Monkey’s definition I’ve experienced some excellent customer journey experiences from the outside looking in; equally there are some that leave a lot to be desired. By way of an inexact calculation, I would say that around one third rank as excellent, one third rank as average, and one third rank poorly.
It got me thinking – how often do sizeable organisations hold up a mirror to ensure they are offering their customers the leading experience in their journey to buying a product or service? I would be intrigued to know, since my own rough estimation, around two thirds of organisations I have spent money with rank as average or poor when I roughly applied them to the criteria of the above definition and have therefore either done a poor job of evaluating this experience, or have simply overlooked the importance of it as a tool to differentiate in the market, and for increasing and retaining revenues. Some CEOs take the view that “today, companies should compete as much on customer experience as they do on product and price”.
When I was mulling how easy this would be for an organisation to accomplish in practice and learning from some of the use cases of MEGA’s own customers, it occurred to me how important it is that different people across an organisation are involved in such a project in order to make it a success. With stakeholders including the CIO and management team needing to make data-driven decisions, business analysts scrutinising and improving the processes and workflows, solution architects redesigning applications to execute the processes through to the business architects seeking to align capabilities with the wider strategy, the need for a best-in-class Enterprise Architecture tool becomes even more apparent.
For Digital Marketing Magazine, customer journey mapping “can enable organisations to identify pain points across different areas of the website or blockage points the might be impeding the customer journey. Once these have been identified, they can then work to address the problem”.
And herein lays the problem. Identifying these pain points from the consumer side of a process is a relatively straightforward task – think virtual mystery shopper.
Analysing them, fixing them and using the data to segment different sections of your customer base, building the resources, infrastructure, applications and workflows, and organising the outputs into a coherent and efficient process is another matter entirely, and this is obviously more complicated the bigger the organisation.
In our research, we have noticed that lower priced entry level solutions offer features such as neat drawing tools, decision diagrams and business modelling canvases – but without a centralised repository pulling in data sources from across the whole organisation it is impossible to truly map a 360 degree view of the customer journey and the application and technical architecture that drive it. Because of this, it’s important to take into account what it is that you’re expecting from your tool, and how holistic you want it to be.
For independent research and advisory firm Aragon Research, “until recently, capturing the voice of the customer has been either relegated to face-to-face customer focus groups or point in time surveys - or in the worst-case scenario - walking away to a competitor. Now, with the ability to map the customer journey and capture the customer’s rational inputs, sentiments, real emotions, and responses, organizations are better equipped to successfully and proactively retain their current client base and target “best customers” to win new clients.”
To explore the potential benefits of a re-evaluation of your organisation’s customer journey and associated processes, you can download the full Aragon Research report to discover why MEGA is a leader in customer journey mapping and also find out about:
The three main reasons of embracing the shift to Customer Journey Mapping
The key product requirements that need to be taken into account when selecting a Customer Journey Mapping software
The whole evaluation of the software vendors on this market
References http://digitalmarketingmagazine.co.uk/digital-marketing-features/the-importance-of-customer-journey-mapping https://www.surveymonkey.com/curiosity/map-customer-journey-keep-customers-happy/ http://www.businessinsider.com/sc/disney-customer-experience-principles-2017-3?IR=T
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In this article, I’ll explore the cases of Toys R Us and Maplin and analyse their failings in relation to industry experts’ findings.
Suggestions for explaining the failures of both retailers have so far included the locations of the stores, the rise of online giants such as Amazon and eBay, the rise in supermarkets selling toys and stationary, and changes in consumer buying and childrens’ interests, as well as the traditional achilles heels retailers face such as cashflow shortfalls and high levels of seasonal dependency.
But for me one theme put forward my several analysts stood out for me as being a very important and wholly preventable point of failure that affected both Toys R Us and Maplin – a failure to embrace customer experience and business transformation in an age where it is more and more essential to do so for a business to survive and thrive. In Maplin’s case, while it blames a slowdown in consumer spending and weakening of Sterling since the Brexit vote, the company itself also cited “competition from online rivals” as an important factor in its situation.
Threats or opportunities?
Yet as well as creating these shifts, the digital age also offers even greater potential for businesses to create exciting and seamless customer experiences, simplify business processes, and transform the ways in which the organisation operates.
In a report outlining UK trends in 2018, Deloitte states three areas that should be priorities for retailers:
Reimagine the store
Experiment with experience
Transform your business
Putting ‘digital in the physical’
One of the key components of ‘reimagining the store’ is “putting digital in your physical”, in which Deloitte claim “retailers are realising that the biggest impact that digital can have on their business is in-store. Some of the most innovative and compelling stores make digital a core part of the store experience”.
The BBC agree, citing a “lack of drama” in Toys R Us stores as one of five reasons for its demise. They contrast the hands-on and inspiring customer experiences created in the likes of Disney and Lego stores for example with the more bland, warehouse aisle style layouts of Toys R Us which fails to excite children.
Further to this, the same article takes the view that “the digital ecosystem can be an opportunity as well as a challenge”. An example is also cited of a four-year-old child looking on YouTube to inspire his toy collection, and how Smyths Toy Superstores use the digital experience to enhance and work in harmony with the in-store experience. “But Toys R Us failed there too”.
This last point about integrating digital with physical is another key point explored in the Deloitte report. For them, digital experiences, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality “are set to transform the retail experience both online and offline, often connecting the two with more immersive experiences”.
While seamless and visually impressive customer journeys, in-store experience and continuous consumer engagement are vital parts of the digital age which Toys R Us appear to have overlooked.
Deeper business transformation was needed
However full business transformation is about much more than the storefront – customers, competitors and consumer culture are in a constant state of flux, and as a result only the most forward-thinking and agile companies are thriving.
Initiatives such as try-before-you-buy and checkout-less stores and online experiences are underpinning the seamless consumer experience that differentiates the best from the rest in the modern world.
And interaction with consumers has changed in drastic ways. No longer are generic, outbound-only communication approaches effective – retailers and brands need to be immersed and engaged in conversations directly with their consumers, and sending tailored offers to them based on their behaviour and habits. For Deloitte, “brands are targeting individual consumers with individual offers and experiences and retailers need to respond by intensifying their focus on their consumers and what their offer means to them”.
While external factors may have played a part, my view, and one that is shared by many retail industry experts, is that Toys R Us and Maplin’s downfalls were caused in no small part by a failure to embrace the tools and opportunities that the digital age offers – the failure of both firms, in different ways, shows how customer experience just became even more crucial to business success.
What questions should your organisation be asking?
The highest cost for any organisation is acquiring and keeping customers. Does your organisation have a true understanding of who your customers are and how they interact with your company? Can you say, with confidence, that your company designs products and business processes that attract the customers you want?
Good customer mapping tools outline the path for creating winning customer journey maps that enrich customer experience, strategies for connecting these maps to processes, IT systems, business requirements and business capabilities.
In its Tech Spectrum for Customer Journey Mapping 2017 – mapping the voice of the customer report, independent analysts Aragon Research evaluated 15 companies that provide customer journey mapping software. Download the report to learn about the top three reasons to embrace the shift to customer journey mapping, how a customer-first focus is paving the way for businesses transformation, and key aspects of customer journey mapping solutions.
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The MEGA UK team are gearing up to attend next week’s Executive Leaders Network CIO | CISO | CMO event at the Millennium Madejski Hotel in Reading, and we’re excited about joining the discussion and valuable content that will be available across the day. In doing so I’ve been reviewing the themes and content, and it occurred to me just how much of a shift is going on across businesses in the digital age – even in my relatively short career so far (okay well 12 years since I graduated now!), I’ve seen a distinct shift from quite siloed business functions and departments in the mid-2000s through to the convergence we’re seeing now. Even 10-12 years ago, I would imagine that an event that combines IT, compliance/governance and marketing-related content would have been risky at best. But now it’s almost essential, and a quick inspection of the key themes that will be covered at the event demonstrates just how interconnected these departments have become as a result of the digital age. There’s a strong argument that digital transformation, marketing automation, security, BigData and analytics, customer journey mapping and content marketing all overlap IT, marketing and compliance departments within a global organisation at the very least – this demonstrates how much organisations have been forced (for the better) to come together in order to compete effectively and create cutting edge customer experiences. Brian Rashid of Forbes defines digital transformation quite nicely: Digital transformation is not just about embracing new technology, it is about a change in thought and organisation culture. There is a need for organisations to address the change in business scenarios, dynamic business demands and innovate ways to quickly cater to these changing needs. Leaders and IT teams in any enterprise should work hand in hand to meet the business requirements, drive innovation and march towards continuous improvement. This is what Digital transformation is all about —accelerate business activities, lower cost, improve time to market, bring about a positive change in processes, people, and competency models. Is this your experience of digital transformation? How advanced is your organisation in its journey? About the conference: The Executive Leaders Network conference brings together a thought provoking keynote and some of the best & brightest executives known for their influence, expertise and strategic thinking to help you understand digital transformation in practice and what it can mean for your organisation. It offers you the opportunity to engage, share and learn with more than 100+ CIOs & IT Leaders and 40+ CISO / Security Leaders. MEGA is a sponsor of the event and will also be exhibiting on the show floor, during which you'll be able to discuss your customer experience and digital transformation initiatives with the team. Please register your place via this link. To stay up-to-date on what’s happening at the event, follow us on Twitter - @mega_int - or use the event hashtag #ExecLN. We look forward to meeting you there! The full Forbes article cited earlier is available to read on this link: https://www.forbes.com/sites/brianrashid/2017/06/13/digital-transformation-and-innovation-in-todays-business-world/#6ea276624905
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MEGA in Edinburgh
Last week a number of MEGA's customers and potential customers joined us in Edinburgh from all over the UK and Nordic regions to discuss how the features in the new release of MEGA’s HOPEX platform can enable business transformation programmes and improve decision making to keep organisations ahead of their competition.
The enhancements in the new rollout include:
Integration of the new Project Portfolio Module to enhance the transformation phase
Improve IT portfolio performance through ideation
CAST integration for cloud readiness and technical debt
Fully aligned with IT Architecture module for data flows
BDNA integration enhancement
Fresh new user interface
New collaborative features including Easy Survey
Role-based views with clearly defined purposes for:
Smart, valuable deliverables to address IT problems that exist today
Full alignment with MEGA’s ITPM module
Ensure coverage for modern architectures
Cloud computing architecture, virtual, platforms, IoT, API, web-orientated architecture, etc.
The slides we shared during the event are available to download from this page (displayed on the right side of the screen).
Thank you to those that joined us at the event, and please contact us should you require any further information or a discussion on your requirements.
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It’s not difficult to envisage the apples and oranges in the sketch making way for more serious strategic debates in a boardroom. In fact the arguments that can arise from a simple statement about comparing apples with oranges probably resonates with most peoples’ daily lives – CIOs and other global business executives in particular.
Take for example something that should constitute a simple request such as a report on the cost, businesses justification and processes behind the CRM systems of your organisation for example? It’s not so simple when EMEA, APAC and the Americas are all running different applications and processes. And it doesn’t stop there. The different countries are probably all running separate billing systems to effectively manage their local requirements whether it’s currency, language, approval process, or simply different days in a working week.
That’s just a few of the complexities; suddenly, something that seemed like a simple request is not so simple at all, much like Dilbert’s experience of comparing apples with oranges.
Trying to compare the vagaries and complexities of different regions can be painful but very necessary. Okay, so it’s not necessary to compare apples with oranges, but in the cartoon strip it undoubtedly became very painful!
So just how does MEGA stop you having a Dilbert-style falling out?
Our solutions, with HOPEX as the common repository, enables us to gather our apples and oranges, or processes and applications, to see their interdependencies and make informed business decisions off the back of it. With this methodology, MEGA helps organisations facing these types of complexities manage and prioritise IT transformation projects to gain IT agility and drive business innovation, build a clear IT roadmap, and plan out capabilities to best utilise IT resource to support the organisation’s wider objectives.
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After a minor navigational hiccup almost saw us take the wrong direction from the outset, Saturday saw us start out ready to rock and roll for the 30km stretch from the Bridge of Orchy to Inverarnan with a mostly clear sky and a perfect temperature for walking. With such a variety of landscapes from the mountainous panoramas to the craggy and technical forest climbs, the day was undoubtedly physically challenging but hugely rewarding.
After a traditional Scottish feast and a very early night in the Tyndrum Inn, we were up and about bright and early for more on Sunday. With “only” 23km to cover on day 2, some of us were perhaps thinking it would be slightly easier going, but the ups and downs of the path around Loch Lomond soon dispelled those thoughts! But again the team spirit and effort for why we were doing it were evident for all to see, and the stunning views of the loch were something we’ll all remember for a long time. Our Sunday evening was spent in the famous Drovers Inn, and the friendly welcome, superb selection of Malt and tasty food were all very well received by our creaking bodies!
It’s back to business for now, but we are already putting our plans together to return to complete the West Highland Way in 2018.
The whole team would like to say a massive thanks to everyone who has sponsored us so far – if you’d like to make a contribution as well please visit our fundraising page via this link: Just Giving - MEGA - West Highland Way 2017 Part 2 Charity Challenge
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The traditions of the UK Charity Walk Taylor was self-opinionated, stubborn and worked hard at anything he decided to do both in and out of work. The MEGA team decided that they needed to do something to both honour Taylor’s memory and to ‘take a stand’ against this horrible disease. We talked about the sort of thing that Taylor would be part of and agreed it had to be tough, involve a team and raise money for charity. After some discussion, we decided we would attempt the UK Three Peaks Challenge. This involves both climbing the three highest peaks in the UK and more importantly doing so within a 24-hour period. Any of the three mountains are a significant walk in themselves, but the three together, the logistics of getting between them and the inevitable lack of sleep within the 24-hours means it’s a true test of both fitness and resolve. I’m proud to say the UK team completed the challenge successfully and raised significant funds in the process. It’s also worth noting that many of the team that took part in the challenge weren’t necessarily ‘outdoors people’, hadn’t undertaken serious hill walking before, or in some cases ever been to Scotland! A combination of training walks, fitness training and a close-knit team all pulled together to both prepare and execute on the day. It was a draining and emotional experience, but above all proud team that completed the challenge and vowed to keep Taylor’s name alive. In 2015 a team again formed and walked a significant section of the UK’s Jurassic Coast. Continual gradients, changeable weather and serious distances were all overcome by the team whilst raising funds in the process for Brain Tumour Research. Of note by this stage is that the team was no longer just made up of people who knew Taylor or who are based in the UK… now we had people walking in Taylor’s memory and reputation from both the UK and MEGA headquarters in Paris. Summer 2016 saw a new international team from both MEGA UK and headquarters assemble and attack the top third of the 95mile long Scotland’s West Highland Way. This route runs from just outside Glasgow to Fort William. The route is made up of non-surfaced tracks and covers a huge variety of gradients with the ever-changeable Scottish weather adding an air of excitement! 19 miles of walking on the first day and 17 on the second saw the team across the finish line. More charity funds were raised and many new friendships and bonds were formed – Taylor I’m sure is proud. About Brain Tumour Research Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer … yet just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this fight devastating disease. This is unacceptable! The Brain Tumour Research charity works hard to make a difference. Carol Robertson, Head of Community Fundraising for Brain Tumour Research, said: “We are extremely grateful to the Mega International UK team, and wish them all the best for a successful event. We hope as many people as possible will support their endeavour, or even consider holding their own events, helping us to spread the word about this terrible disease.” To donate If you would like to donate to this great cause, you can do so via our JustGiving page via this link Funds raised will help develop the charity’s network of world-class brain tumour research centres in the UK. We’ll post pictures and updates during our trek, and thank you for your great support! #MEGAUKCharityWalk
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A week on from a hugely successful Gartner EA Summit in a sweltering London, I wanted to take the opportunity to o ffer a short summary of the event and reflect on a productive couple of days.
As Platinum sponsors at the event, MEGA had the luxury of being the very first booth in the Solution Showcase area of the beautiful Park Plaza Hotel conference centre – with views over the Thames and the Houses of Parliament it is a pretty special venue.
Conversations came thick and fast during the day, with people clearly concerned with the GDPR regulations and acknowledging that basic applications such as Excel and Visio, while useful, are quickly outgrown as an organisation scales its enterprise architecture practice.
‘GDPR from the inside’ presentation
At 16:30 on day one of the event, Gerry Rankin our advocate from the MEGA Associate Programme and formerly Chief Information Architect at British American Tobacco gave his views on the GDPR from the inside, and what the impending regulations mean for data governance in organisati ons such as the global banking group he is currently working with.
Gerry’s presentation was packed to the rafters, with just under 200 people listening attentively and many visiting the MEGA booth afterwards to discuss their challenges further. The presentation is available to download from this post, and if you would like to discuss the aspects in which MEGA can help with GDPR preparedness please send me a direct message and I will arrange one of our team to contact you.
The GDPR from the inside de MEGA International
The Magnificent 7
Throughout the event our ‘Magnificent 7’ themed booth led to some fun conversations, with lots of you recognising yourself as the safe pair of hands, the visionary or one of our other light-hearted persona traits.
One of the most amusing conversations I had was with a CIO from a large bank (I probably shouldn’t say more than that!), but he strolled up to our booth and said that the personas pretty much perfectly described his team to a tee! He particularly liked the risk officer as the persona as the safe pair of hands like a wicket keeper in cricket, not least because he actually played that position for his local team. The conversation then took a big tangent onto the upcoming England v South Africa test match, but that’s another story!
On the Wednesday evening (after the networking drinks!), the MEGA team were also fortunate to enjoy a delicious meal with a number of our existing clients and some new acquaintances we met during the day – it was all-in-all a very pleasant experience followed by a stroll along London’s beautiful South Bank to unwind and prepare for another packed day of conversations and meetings on the Thursday.
Need a solar charger?
Last but not least, our solar charging devices proved highly popular throughout the whole event, so if you missed out on yours fear not – again simply send me a direct message and I will have one sent to you.
We hope you enjoyed the event as much as we did, and we look forward to talking to you very soon about the value that MEGA’s Gartner-leading HOPEX tool can add to the many exciting initiatives and projects that we touched upon during the event.
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MEGA are proud Platinum sponsors of the Gartner Enterprise Architecture and Technology Innovation Summit on the 14th and 15th June at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel in London.
The event will provide the opportunity to meet the MEGA team on booth number PL1 to discuss how your organisation could join the likes of NATs, Babcock, Co-operative Banking Group and Nissan in benefitting from our solutions, and for us to understand your organisation’s business transformation challenges and objectives.
To ‘keep it real’, we’ll also have a fun ‘Magnificent 7’ style theme on our booth featuring an interactive 3D shootout game, not to mention tasty Tex Mex food and beers to hand. Our team, or ‘cowboy coaches’ also have innovative solar charging devices to give out for 3D shootout hotshots.
Back to business for a brief moment…. because MEGA’s HOPEX tool adds value to so many parts of our customers’ business, we get to know the different roles that stakeholders play in an organisation. And with this we have come up with a ‘Magnificent 7’ stakeholders that experience business challenges that MEGA can help to solve. And with the Magnificent 7, innovation has a number… next week we’ll be asking the question which number are you?
Innovation has a number...
Here’s a quick roundup of the exciting activities we’ve got going on before and during the event.
Because we don’t want you to be dehydrated - win a bottle of bubbly
If you’d like to pre-submit a question to discuss how MEGA can be of specific assistance to your role and organisation, please feel free to do so in the comments field below or send me a private message in the Community if you’d prefer. On the last day of the event we’ll also be doing a live draw for a random winner from anyone who has sent a question or engages with us on the MEGA community before the event!
Need a ticket for the event?
We have a very limited number of free passes for customers and a unique discount code available, so if you’ve not already booked your ticket please register to our Community and send me a private message for .
We know that the Gartner schedule is pretty full-on. So if you’d like to schedule a meeting, please email or send me a private message in the Community with your preferred day and time and we’ll do our best to accommodate you. We can be flexible, so let us know if you’d prefer to meet on the exhibition booth during the day, in one of the networking areas, or even for some lunch or in the evening.
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