Skip to main content

The State of Digital Transformation in 2024: Overcoming Legacy Technology Barriers and Elevating Customer Experience

By Leigh Segall, CEO at Smart Communications 
Reflecting on the challenges of the past four years, organizations have faced unprecedented uncertainty and pressure to adapt. In 2023, innovation was stifled as organizations grappled with the looming specter of economic recessions. This led many to shelve critical digital transformation initiatives, putting them on hold as they navigated economic uncertainties. Now, emerging from this hiatus, we see a new chapter swiftly unfolding, marked by renewed momentum and a reinvigorated push towards digital transformation. 

Closing the Digital Maturity Gap in 2024 

Recent research has uncovered a remarkable surge in IT spending for 2024, with 72% of digital leaders doubling down on investments to propel their digital initiatives forward. This surge reflects a broader trend towards digital transformation, with global spending projected to reach a staggering 3.4 trillion US dollars by 2026—a nearly 3x increase over the last five years.  

Yet, despite this momentum, significant challenges remain. According to Forrester, a mere 6% of organizations have attained advanced digital maturity, highlighting the pervasive gap between aspiration and achievement in the digital realm.  

Legacy systems continue to consume a substantial portion of the overall IT budget, impeding innovation. In fact, 87% of CIOs cite the complexity of existing systems as a barrier to investing in next-generation services. Additionally, 34% of CIOs have identified replacing legacy technology as a top digital transformation goal for 2024, underscoring the urgency of modernization efforts.

Retiring Legacy Technology for Enhanced Engagement 

When it comes to managing customer communications, organizations must address the lingering challenge of legacy communications technology. While many enterprises have made strides in modernizing their customer communications with cloud-based solutions, a significant number still grapple with outdated, on-premise, channel-based systems.  

These legacy solutions, acquired over time, pose a multitude of challenges—they are costly to maintain, lead to duplication of efforts, impede business agility, and detract from the customer experience. To truly harness the benefits of a modern CCM platform, we see many organizations looking to retire these outdated systems and transition to a centralized, cloud-based approach. By streamlining and automating customer communications processes across all delivery channels, organizations can deliver a seamless customer experience, maximize their return on investment, and position themselves for success in the digital age. 

Rethinking Forms Processes: Digitally Transforming Transactions into Engaging Interactions 

This imperative extends beyond customer communications to encompass forms processes—a critical yet often overlooked aspect of the customer experience.  

Over the past several years, analysts like Kaspar Roos, the Founder and CEO of Aspire CCS, have been vocal about the evolution of Customer Communications Management (CCM) to Customer Experience Management (CXM).  

According to Roos, the forms sector, mirroring the broader CCM market, is undergoing its own transformation. He emphasizes the growing need for dedicated solutions to facilitate interactive data collection, validation, and processing as the market moves towards greater bi-directional interactions.  

The combination of customer communications and customer data collection, once modernized and transformed, together play pivotal roles in shaping the omnichannel customer interactions of tomorrow. 

Once modernized, the combination of customer communications and data collection together play criticial roles in shaping the future of omni-channel customer interactions. 

Legacy forms processes, characterized by manual, outdated, and disconnected practices, present a significant barrier to delivering seamless and cohesive customer experiences. Forms serve as a vital touchpoint between organizations and their customers, facilitating data collection and driving internal and external processes. Yet, despite their importance, forms processes have been largely neglected in the broader CX strategy, leading to a noticeable gap between digitally transformed customer communications and legacy-style form processes. 

According to Forrester, 82% of organizations still use paper-based processes to some extent. The ramifications of this oversight are profound. Customers are confronted with outdated, cumbersome forms processes that fail to meet their expectations for convenience and efficiency. Frustrated by the complexity and repetitive nature of these processes, customers are left feeling dissatisfied—a stark contrast to the seamless experiences they encounter in other digital interactions. In an era where every interaction should leave customers feeling recognized and valued, outdated forms processes fall short of meeting customer expectations for convenience and efficiency. 

Forrester reserach shows that 82% of organizations use paper-based processes to some extent.
Transitioning From Static Forms to Smarter Data Collection 

However, the tide is turning. By redefining what a "form" entails, organizations can transform static transactions into dynamic, intelligent interactions that leave customers feeling valued and empowered. 

Smart forms or data collection solutions leverage automation and intelligence to guide users through complex processes, adapting dynamically based on the information provided. By eliminating unnecessary fields and pre-filling data from existing databases, you will minimize customer effort, improve data accuracy, and enhance overall efficiency. 

Moreover, forms of the future facilitate bi-directional communication, simplifying interactions between customers and employees. Whether online or on a mobile device, these digital experiences enable seamless data exchange, leveraging features such as mobile cameras for enhanced functionality. By mimicking a conversation between the customer and the organization, smart data collection solutions foster engagement and reduce the likelihood of customer abandonment. 

Recognizing the critical role it plays in the CX landscape, organizations are beginning to integrate intelligent data collection into their broader CCM strategies. Smart Communications™ leads the charge with SmartIQ™—a revolutionary forms management solution designed to automate and transform data collection processes. 

Delivering Future-Ready Customer Conversations 

SmartIQ empowers organizations to create and manage digital forms with ease, leveraging a low-code web-based design tool that requires minimal IT intervention. By automating data sharing and streamlining business processes, SmartIQ enhances operational efficiency and reduces technical debt. 

Furthermore, SmartIQ's analytics engine provides organizations with invaluable insights into process performance, enabling continuous improvement and optimization. Armed with detailed analysis, organizations can identify bottlenecks, refine processes, and enhance the overall customer experience. 

By embracing solutions like SmartIQ, organizations can bridge the gap between customer communications and forms processes, delivering future-ready customer conversations and reducing customer effort.  

The synergy between SmartCOMM™ and SmartIQ enables organizations to consolidate, centralize, and automate data collection processes and customer communications across all channels, unlocking a myriad of benefits. From reducing manual work and operating costs to ensuring data security and regulatory compliance, our industry-leading SaaS solutions empower organizations to keep pace with evolving customer expectations and drive sustainable growth. 

If you're interested in learning how you can consolidate and modernize your customer communications solutions, one of our experts would be happy to provide a free consultation. If you're looking to transform your forms processes with SmartIQ, I encourage you to request a demo, or visit our demo zone to see it in action. 

About Leigh Segall
As CEO, Leigh sets the strategic direction and vision at Smart Communications, while overseeing its global operations.  Prior to becoming CEO, Leigh served Smart Communications for six years as President, Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Strategy Officer, directing global corporate strategy, go-to-market strategy, and marketing to articulate and drive the company’s vision to deliver smarter customer conversations.