We live in a Customer Experience Economy. Except for my kids… for now!

It’s a fascinating world out there. A world full of innovation powered by technology. Full of new products, solutions and services that allow us to live differently, for better and for worse, than how we did a few years ago. A world where challenges arise due to all those technologies and the impact they have on society. But a fascinating world, nonetheless.

My life revolves around creating solutions for customers. Based on what the customers want to build, my team and I design the most robust solutions, comprised of the technology pieces that make them secure, flexible and scalable. I used to say that we created platforms for online and mobile channels, but as time went by, something became clearer: we’re not just creating Omnichannel Solutions, we’re crafting Omnipresent Experiences.

Nowadays people have expectations based on what is offered to them. Every one of us, as a user, experiences different degrees of interaction via digital channels. Simple moments like looking for a restaurant, getting a taxi or paying for a train ticket in a foreign country have been changed radically by the platforms available today. I’m not just choosing a restaurant: I’m choosing how I’ll feel at the end of the meal based on the reviews of others in Zomato. I’m not just getting a ride: I’m asking Uber to take me from home to the airport knowing when they’ll arrive and without the hassle of having to worry about paying with cash. And I’m not just using pounds instead of euros when I travel to London: I’m changing the way I deal with my money because of what Revolut has to offer. We won’t dive into the specifics of how users rate apps – that’s for another post; but this rating has a direct impact on some businesses today – especially when they are mobile-first. This is where the bar is set today: very high! And that is why I believe it’s an experiencedriven economy we’re living in.

The solutions we create have to start with the user in mind. Some may say: “But wait, wasn’t it always like that?” Well, “yes” on paper, but “no” when it came to the moment of developing something. All of our projects nowadays have a very strong UX/UI component that ensures we’re looking at the project through the right lenses, considering what the experience will be for someone using the solution we’re creating. Even when the UX/UI component is not created by us, we strive to help design something that makes the difference, especially in mobile.

The average person spends around 3.5 hours on the phone every day so we want to make sure we have the rights tools to fight for a place in that “prime time”. And bear in mind that it’s not only about the UI of the app of the site – you need to consider all the services available today that allow you to deliver an innovative experience through AI, Machine Learning, Chat Bots, among other things. All of that must be present in the mind of whoever’s creating the solution – from the proposal phase onwards.

Every sector is being impacted by this Digital Transformation. Retail is seeing great trends where technology is now being used to bring people to the store and to have a closer experience with the brand. Banking, with initiatives like PSD2 and Open Banking, is becoming a landscape for innovation, even if the traditional players would like it to move more slowly. Also Healthcare, with the whole consumerisation of technology, has much to gain from allowing people to be a part of the journey they experience. This transformational process is cross-industry and will make a lot of things change.

There are a lot of challenges though. The impact AI will have on existing jobs is one of them, for instance. The control we maintain over it, as Elon Musk said, will be paramount – we don’t want to be responsible for the birth of Skynet, do we? And, of course, there is the impact of social interactions due to the increasing use of technology. There’s a degree of addictiveness associated with it that we don’t control. I’ve myself had to create rules in the house that won’t allow my kids to use technology indiscriminately because of the effect it was having on them. There’s a great book on this called Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked by Adam Alter that I recommend everyone to read. Also, companies face a lot of challenges internally when they think about materialising this vision, even when they have it. All of this has to be taken into consideration, not looking at it as a set of obstacles but as pieces of advice we should take in order to create socially responsible solutions – even when we still can’t see what they are for now.

The fact is that the world is moving and, I say it again, in a fascinating direction. Do things the right way, consider every upside and downside, and you’ll be able to deliver awesome experiences that people will love. Built on top of great technologies.

Embrace this admirable new world – it has a lot to offer, and you will experience the world in a different way. And yes, my kids will eventually be a part of it too!

Sérgio Viana

Partner & Microsoft Solutions Lead, Xpand IT

Sérgio VianaWe live in a Customer Experience Economy. Except for my kids… for now!


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