The Brave (And Scathing) New World Of Digital Has Lessons For Us All

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Unfortunately for Channel 7 and the ABS, they are the latest high profile organisations to be dragged (very) publicly over the coals for serving up a less than desirable user experience to the masses. I feel for them. It’s not an uncommon scenario. In this opinion piece, marketing director – APAC at digital performance management company Dynatrace Paula Rodgers discusses the new world and expectations of digital.

Paula Rodgers
Posted by Paula Rodgers

Off the top of my head I can recall banking outages, airline fails and hiccups with core technology providers, all in the last six months. Digital performance is a tough game and consumers are scathing and unforgiving.

Even if the technical fault doesn’t lie in their hands, these organisations will wear the brand damage and social slinging for a long time. When it comes to user experiences today, that’s the way the world works.

You can see just how undesirable the experience became around 7:30pm when the pulse of the site flat lined.

You can see just how undesirable the Census experience became around 7:30pm when the pulse of the site flat lined

And here’s why:

#1 – The technical landscape today is convoluted.

We’re dealing with vastly complex IT infrastructures, hybrid cloud environments, faster development cycles, various telco providers, a growing list of mobile device types (in excess of 24k), multiple operating systems, and very diverse geographies across the world… the list goes on.

#2 – People expect impeccable experiences with every, single interaction.

It doesn’t matter whether they’re dealing with Netflix, Apple, a big bank, a local café or major metro train service provider – everyone compares their current experience with the best ones they’ve ever had.

#3 – We’re constantly breaking new ground

In the two examples we’ve seen this week, both organisations were attempting to deliver shiny, new digital experiences, and with that comes a lot of unknowns. You need to be prepared for failure and fail fast. This means having visibility into your customers’ digital journey so you can find and fix issues, and respond to the inevitable outcry with credible information!

Understanding how our technical decisions are impacting real users has never been more important.

#4 – Competition is global

We’re competing on a world stage, which means our peers and competitors are often operating in more digitally advanced economies. UK and US companies, for example, have usually produced (and failed) and learned from more historical attempts at digital initiatives than local companies.

If we look at the BBC during the Olympics, it’s had a relatively smooth sail compared with the 7Olympics app but there’s probably good reason for that. The BBC has produced in excess of 25 apps in recent times, whereas this was Channel 7’s first major attempt and it was aimed at one of the world’s largest sporting events.

Crash learnings

The pressure to innovate is immense and on the flip side, the repercussion of getting it wrong is now instant and very public. But rather than shy away from the challenge, the most astute brands and organisations will look to these high profile performance failures and tuck the learnings away until their next attempt at something new.