Systems of Experience – The Role of the CIO in Shaping the Future of Work

Trevor Schulze

CIO at RingCentral

Learning Objectives

The role of the CIO has been on a steady rise for the past several years. As the way people work continues to change, the demands from today’s global, mobile, and distributed workforce are also rapidly evolving. We’re at a point in time where the CIO is now front and center to defining the digital culture of an organization with a mega-trend at play that I like to call, ‘Systems of Experience.’ During my talk, I will focus on the role of the CIO amidst this shifting tide and what it takes to create a digital culture to support the future of work.


"Employee experience is the underpinning of all this when you think of systems of experience, remember, what do people do all day every day? "

Trevor Schulze

CIO at RingCentral

Transcript

Hi, everyone, welcome and thank you for joining today’s presentation. My name is Trevor Schulze and the CIO of RingCentral. And during this presentation, we’re going to explore an emerging concept, something I call “Systems of Experience”. Systems of Experience, where did that come from?


Since joining RingCentral, few years back, I’ve had the opportunity and privilege to meet hundreds, if not 1000s, of technology leaders from all sectors from all around the world. And the point of those discussions was to discuss their customer experience, their employee experience, and those strategies. The reason why that’s so important to myself and to RingCentral is because that’s the core of our market and unified communications. Through those discussions, it became clear that most everyone could easily speak to their digital strategies, their systems of record, you know, ERP, HCM, whatnot, systems of engagement, ecommerce support sites social. These concepts have been hammered into all of our heads by the media and the big tier one marketing teams. But there was usually something missing in those conversations. And the thing that I always asked is, “What is your modern and differentiated digital experience?”. Through the conversations became clear, this concept of something more was needed, came. Today, I hope to share some of my notes and learnings from those conversations, and bring maybe a little different perspective. Hopefully, that helps you with your own digital strategies. We’ve got a lot of ground to cover. So let’s get to it.


What is a system of experience? If you look at what’s happened over the last 10-15 years, we’ve been in an experience economy, it’s been pretty well documented that what that is, but it’s hard to describe what systems are required to succeed in that environment. When I was preparing for this presentation, my wife challenged me, she said, you know, you got to explain system’s experience in simple terms. And so we batted around a bunch of ideas, and, and the idea of a birthday cake metaphor came about so so bear with me, while I step you through a little economic history to explain my concepts. And hopefully, this will give us a better sense of where we’re going here. So most economy start in the agrarian economy. And so if you think about birthday cakes, imagine that the commerce around that birthday cake was flour, sugar, salt, it was homemade. It was made with commodities. And quite frankly, for the economy. It’s cents, you know, pennies, if not, maybe dimes are transitioned to make that birthday cake. If you move forward to other societies that are in the industrial age, you know, instead of the homemade cake, you had your parents maybe buying a box cake. So you know, instead of going to the market to buy the ingredients, and the industrial society, it was much more economical, maybe or easier to buy a box cake in this created mass scale. And this created mass standardizations. And quite frankly, $1 maybe was made on that box cake, but it was still a cake. And so our parents or maybe people who grew up during a different time, the services economy was big. And again, from a birthday cake perspective, maybe instead of going to the market to buy the ingredients, or maybe buying a box cake, maybe you went to the bakery and it was pre made and maybe it was on demand and maybe it was delivered. There was more value extracted there maybe your your willingness to buy this cake that’s pre made for convenience was 10s of dollars. And you keep fast forwarding into the experience economy and this is where most of us maybe spent a good chunk of our life in is the experience economy. You know, for me personally, with my older children, it was maybe they no longer wanted the birthday cake to be at the house. It was maybe it Chucky Cheese or maybe it was Dave and Busters or it was it was basically you were buying an experience. It was an Analog Experience. Your child would go and they would have the cake included so you’re no longer maybe making the cake for your child.


Maybe the customizations were were slight, but for reality here is you would spend hundreds of dollars potentially for that birthday cake. Because in the experience economy, you’re willing to pay for that unique experience. Now, this is the analog version of what we’ve all been experiencing through the 2000s. And in the 2010s, it’s, you keep hearing about the experience, economy and whatnot. And really what we’ve we’ve transitioned to is, is a digital experience. So the experience economy still has the highest value. And but people might be willing and looking for something that’s even more unique, and is probably potentially online. And, you know, the thing that that struck me, was when my youngest child was discussing about, we’re gonna have a birthday. And you know, I said, Great, let’s go to a bowling alley, or let’s let’s, you know, maybe go to Dave and Busters or some someplace and have that experience because I was so used to providing an analog experience, my child was like, no, actually, I want to go online, and my friends are all going to be there. And we’re just going to goof around and have a virtual birthday party, you know, and on a platform, and it was a digital platform. And in fact, his birthday cake was no longer even physical. It was a digital birthday cake and his friends were putting in loot into his into his inbox, and they were buying him loot boxes. And it was just an incredible moment for me to realize that the value that was provided and the margins around that were a mess. So when we talk about systems of experience, when I talk about here going forward, you’ll hear more about this type of metaphor, a birthday cake is no longer potentially physical. It could be a digital birthday cake. So let’s talk about systems of experience. What are the characteristics? What is this birthday cake concept. And you know, quite frankly, these are the characteristics when I’ve talked to people.


You know, some markets will lean on these more heavily than others. But truly systems that I’ll be speaking to in a moment, are hyper individualized, these are no longer personas, or maybe groups of personalization. It’s really every single person has a unique experience with that platform, it should be immersive, it should be immediate, community is important. Ultimately, it has to be enduring and omni channel and simple and open and most importantly, intelligent and learning. And if you look at the bottom line of a systems of experience, it’s really a combination of things that create mass customization, customizations of services at scale. Okay, oh, boy, you know, now now we’re now we’re worried, right? buzzword bingo, everyone is getting hit with, you know, new in different ideas and concepts. And it’s just overwhelming. And it can be a challenge to know what to focus on. So, you know, we’ve had systems of record, we’ve had systems of engagement, now you’re seeing systems of experience, we need to reduce the noise. And that’s what I hope I can do for you. And, and I’d love to get your feedback about, let’s talk about what matters most. And for technology leaders, the CIO mandate continues to be clear. If you take all those buzzwords, and you think about where we are asked to engage and drive and what matters most are these three pillars. No matter what age of it, you’re in, it comes down to revenue, the customer experience in the employee experience and in Gartner did a survey a while back? And you know, they basically asked IT professionals, you know, what, what were the top priorities? What were the things that you felt were you are going to invest most, and in when I first saw this, I was surprised. I really thought that revenue would be number one, maybe customer experience, but ultimately, hundreds and hundreds of technology leaders said really improving employee productivity, the employee experience is what matters. And if you dig into that, you realize that unless the employee experience is truly something that is differentiated, you can’t drive a great customer experience and he can’t drive the revenue so one feeds the other. So but one can’t stand alone. And so let’s break down what systems have experienced. means for each of these pillars. So first and foremost, if you’ve been reading it blogs and everything, it’s really about revenue. But in this crazy world we’re living in right now. It’s clear that no matter what you’re doing, or what sector you’re in, or you know what your responsibility are, the current environment is cost. You know, the oversight that you have to have right now, in order to get through this current situation that we’re in, you can’t deny it. And so let’s just be real. First and foremost, it’s about spend versus plan investing and making sure that you get through this. But with that, you still have to find yourself in an expanded role. This was another survey that was done, were 81% of CIOs. And this is, I think, on a basis about 1000 said that the roles were expanding, they had oversight of new products, services and operations. And you know, they’re, they’re responsible for revenue. We have to build new services, you have to build and be at the table. And this is, this continues to be the challenge. So if you really want to drive revenue for your company, you have to create a differentiated experience for your brand. And you know, people say, Okay, give me examples. But you know, I don’t I don’t get this What, what’s a good example. And here are just a few. And I love all of these brands. And I love these examples. So let’s talk about what a systems of experiences for let’s pick one peloton. peloton has created a digital environment that allows people to work out at their home, they can compete with others around the world, they can choose at their own time to exercise, they don’t have to go to the gym anymore. They they they give you a chance to have your own individual experience. It’s immersive, it’s immediate, it’s simple, it’s open.


And they’re winning. They’re doing really, really well. It’s not because everyone’s at home riding their bike right now. It’s because people want that for themselves. And you can look at Esports you can look at health care, you can look at even you know, the obvious examples is Disney and Uber Eats and, and one of our customers, I mean telehealth, everyone who’s thinking about digital technology in this experience economy that we live in, you have to have that brand and platform that does all those things that I spoke to. And if you’re not thinking this way your your competitors are, and quite frankly, they’re going to win. And there’s no sector that’s immune to this. Okay, so we’ve covered money, gotta save money, you got to make money, you’ve got to think differently about the experiences that differentiate your company. So in the customer experience side, this is very well. Well discussed priority. It’s our next pillar. People look at this differently today. We have millennials that are starting to, you know, be the largest portion of the workforce, they have different expectations about how they engage with brands. And if you look at where the modern thinking is, I want to give you an example. So I personally before things got shut down, I hurt myself, I actually broke my leg in two places. And I tore a lot of ligaments and it was a pretty devastating injury. And before the shutdown when I engaged with my doctor was very much in the office. And you know, I couldn’t understand why things had to move forward more. I didn’t have to be in the office all the time. It dawned on me once things shut down that all the things I wanted happened and it needed to be more seamless. So I guess the point I’m making here is customers want to engage in any way possible to get that service they need and even Healthcare. Today telehealth is changed dramatically in such a short period of time. The rules of customer engagement they expect to be able to communicate with their doctor or with anyone from any channel. And so what happened in the past was companies or organizations really talked about nine to five was voice it was in the office was reactive was fragmented. It was secure, most times not but but in reality. People wanted something different. And today even in health today, even as of yesterday, I engage with my doctor over chat text. I had video conferences with my doctor. It’s any digital channel i Choose, they’ve now enabled. And it’s something that happened overnight because of the situation we’re in. But every sector is now understanding what this means. And it has to be individualized. Just because I talked to one doctor and then talk to another, those records have to move over. And there has to be a seamless engagement. So when you put this all together, my expectation now, and I think the expectation of all people, regardless of sector is to have that seamless, trusted, individualized experience. And this is what it means to have a system of experience, I actually want to engage in telehealth because it makes my life easier. And I’m engaged in it. So we could talk about omni channel in much detail, but the timing we have is short circuited customer experience, I think you get any channel anytime anyone anywhere. That’s the new norm. But what let’s talk about employees. The final pillar, and quite frankly, this is the one that we spend the most time at RingCentral. On, we’ve got a lot of discussion around contact center and omni channel in the customer experience. But in the employee experience, we do believe that communications is the core of what drives an excellent employee experience. So what does this mean? I actually built this presentation back in q1, when this was the normal, the employee experience was fragmented. If you look at the left side of the screen, and you go to the right, you start your day at Starbucks, you know, back in the day feels like a million years ago, but you would go on conference calls, you would do email, you would do LinkedIn who would do messaging team messaging meetings, you’d hop in your car, your day would continue. And then quite frankly, you just get into a rhythm at work. And I said, Okay, guys, this, this employee experience may not apply, show me what it looks like in today’s work from home environment.


Well, not much changed. Quite frankly, maybe there’s more video conferencing, maybe there’s more messaging, maybe it’s a longer day for some of you. But the reality is, is that the rules of employee experience, we as IT leaders can constantly talk about how we’re improving workflow or doing automation or, or whatnot, we’re at RingCentral. And I think you can see in the news, that what’s truly propped up the employee experience. And what’s really come front and center is business communications, being able to connect with people to be able to make decisions or to engage if it wasn’t for these platforms, I can’t even imagine what the employee experience would look like. But the complexity still exists. And we need to figure out better ways of being able to make this day to day real, it doesn’t matter. If you snap back and you’re already at work, and you’re going to Starbucks in the morning, or you are working from home, you have to have a seamless employee experience 90% of what people do every day, is engaged with others. And so what I’ve learned in talking to the hundreds of technology professionals is that you have to get this right. Nothing else matters until you get this right. And you have to choose a platform that takes all this complexity, and makes it so that people can seamlessly go between different modes. So what was then was on prem lot of voice single mode siloed. Everything on the left is bad, right? office based. It’s sort of the old, old world. Today, people say that it’s got to be remote and hybrid. But it’s got to be message video and phone. It’s got to be on any device. It could be in an RV camper in the middle of the desert could be your kid climbing on you at home. But it’s got to be anywhere. And quite frankly, I don’t think that’s going to change. Regardless of what happens next. No one knows. But your employees are demanding a better experience than what they’re getting today. And quite frankly, video alone doesn’t cover it. Voice alone doesn’t cover it. Messaging alone doesn’t cover it and having them in three different systems is not a good employee experience. So I’d like to share a video


So there’s a lot more to this, this is a rush through of the three pillars, but I hope you just got a chance to think differently about what you’re doing. When you’re talking about revenue for your company, how are you taking all those things along the bottom? And making that a differentiation for you? How are you actually creating a customer experience that’s omni channel that allows people to engage with your brand in a way that makes them happy, be a text message, be it Facebook Messenger, be it whatever, don’t limit them. That is how people will experience your brand. It’s not about having personas, it’s about allowing them to engage with you in any way that makes them happy. Employee experience is the underpinning of all this when you think of systems of experience, remember, what do people do all day every day? It’s not a workflow and an ERP system. They do that occasionally. They engage with people minute to minute, hour to hour. And as a technology leader, when you think about this experience economy and you think about systems, think about what I said, this is what’s going to drive engagement. This is what’s going to drive a differentiated work environment. And this is going to drive profits and you’re going to win. Thank you for listening


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