Web, tablets, smartphones, social networks… : the digital revolution completely changes customer and user experience. However, Gartner estimates that 80% of current portals are ineffectual. What if you could take a giant leap forward, and boost your online services, your sales and your following?
Deploy a new generation multi-channel portal, co-ordinating your digital services and content, and offering new social and self-service functionality, with contextual intelligence and 24×7 security.
Find out more? Download the Executive Guide “Boost your customer experience” to discover challenges, benefits, best practices, case studies and possible implementation strategies >>
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made-to-measure integrated solutions, using a CRM and marketing analysis engine to optimize the sales cycle. Bull’s greatest asset: our experience of large-scale e-commerce portal projects and in-depth understanding of payment systems solutions. Interested? Ask to speak to one of our experts >
Interview with Thierry Roudine, Business Development Manager at the Portals Services Center, Bull Bordeaux
What are the real challenges of multi-channel portals?
Over the years, organizations have often developed their digital services in separate silos: e-commerce sites, on-line customer relationship management, business services on the Internet… Nowadays, to enhance the user experience, they’re looking to bring those services together, by creating a coherent digital ‘hub’ that can run successfully on all kinds of devices. That’s the role of the multi-channel portal: to offer a combined, customer-centric point of entry that adapts dynamically to each user. That’s a big challenge in terms of what’s experienced by employees (intranet), partners and agencies (extranets) and customers (Internet). A lot of companies believe they’ve already done it; because they’ve implemented portals from the previous generation. But the digital universe is changing fast. Most sites are now accessed from smartphones and tablets. In the next five years, there will be more new Internet users coming on stream than in all the years since it was first set up. That has major repercussions in terms of usability, performance and security. Gartner reckons that 80% of current portals are inefficient. Which is why new-generation portals need to be built. And that’s what we’re helping our customers to do.
What best practice do you draw on to ensure a successful multi-channel project?
A successful portal overcomes three big challenges: technical, operational and business. From a technical point of view, the multitude of applications, channels and users means you have to make the right choices in terms of architecture. That’s vital if you want to build a sustainable platform which is well suited to critical digital services like customer service, sales and so on. From an operational point of view, you need to bring together applications – often legacy ones – and their life cycles. You have to think very carefully about organization and processes. And finally, from a business point of view, you have to create real ergonomic and functional consistency, with appropriate approaches for each type of user. To achieve that, the IT people and the business have to really talk to each other. The secret is to avoid the ‘tunnel effect’: iterative approaches to design have to be very agile, and close the field; in other words, close to users.
What trends do you see for the future?
Today, the buzz is all around mobility and social interfaces. But the core of the portal will still be a major issue. To simplify things, the Web has gone through three generations: Web 1.0 displayed static pages of content; Web 2.0 offered dynamic content, with context-sensitive portlets and interactive features; and Web 3.0 is semantically driven, based on the principle of finding information that you haven’t even been consciously looking for. Lots of organizations are still at stage 2, but the big challenge is phase 3: to adapt to the user using true contextual intelligence. Geolocation, augmented reality, ambient computing… We’re starting to put together proposals for third-generation projects for our customers who are ahead of the curve, especially in telecoms. Another big challenge is to integrate the portal with business processes, rules engines, Business Intelligence… to develop intelligent and automated processes. This is one area where we’ve built up extensive expertise and high added-value offerings, because we believe that the ultimate strategic effectiveness of the portal will depend on it, as a driver for business at the very heart of the customer relationship.