Keep close the customer experience, experts suggest, and it’ll be easier to make the call about investing in an app — or anything else.
Let’s jump forward a few steps. Imagine you’ve already started to make use of cloud computing and CPM in such a way that you’re able, as CFO, to offer some critical piece of strategic direction. What do you think it will be — to acquire a rival firm? To open up a new factory or global office?
Whatever it is, you’d probably imagine it will be something a little more grandiose than developing an app.
Peter Bendor-Samuel would disagree. The founder and CEO of consulting firm Everest Group recently authored a piece on Forbes that suggested financial executives should be highly attuned to the opportunities provided by tools and services delivered via smartphones. This is not only because apps represent an increasingly big part of what defines “customer experience” for many firms but because the math behind it isn’t all that easy:
“Accurate communication of the investment and effort required is the first step to appropriately funding app development. The CFO must be able to explain to the business that building an app that enriches customer experience is extremely complicated and takes a great deal of planning and resources to pull off,” Bendor-Samuel writes. “It needs to be organized and connected into the business if it’s going to work. Most of the funding is not for the growth or front-end piece; it’s for connecting into the business. It requires an end-to-end business process view.”
CFOs obviously have that view, or at least the potential to have it with the right dashboards and built-in KPIs. In the case of something like mobile apps, though, what kind of KPIs make sense?
Denise Graziano, a speaker and author of numerous white papers, took a crack at this not long ago in a post on Business2Community. She suggested that CFOs start by paying more attention in general to customer experience (CX) metrics, then make decisions accordingly. Her KPIs for this include a customer’s perception and perspective of a firm, the infrastructure that supports customers (like a mobile app that can handle service issues, for example) and siloed information within the company. In some cases these may not be as black-and-white as the things finance leaders are accustomed to tracking. That’s the point:
“CFOs should know that with respect to CX, traditional KPI that companies measure are not sufficient. While all companies experience churn periodically, what many do not realize is they may be driving customers away.”
Maybe CFO can provide value by defining exactly what an app might be worth to the company. Maybe it’s another investment entirely. The closer they are to CX, however, the more likely they are to be right.