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Substance over style: Online assets get back to business

Once a hidden nuisance, web site deficiencies could soon become a crippling business burden with dire consequences. 

Overview

The internet’s journey of innovation to date has been disproportionately defined in terms of the style, look, feel and functionality of the “visible” user experience, while the underlying engineering principles, technical standards and process discipline have been largely neglected. This historical bias toward style over substance may stem from the fact that early digital pioneers weren’t as conscious of the rigor and discipline that govern most other areas of business.

The resulting issues are clear. Consumer confidence is undermined by inconsistent security protocols and consumer privacy concerns. The proliferation of coding technologies, redundant content, inadequate version control and asset management all introduce corporate and brand liabilities, while increasing the complexity and cost of site construction, management and maintenance.

Slow-loading pages that deliver an unsatisfactory experience undermine site visits and negatively impact conversion rates.

Infographic: Digital Diagnostics – How Healthy is your corporate website?

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Issues

Missing traffic tags, poor link integrity, inconsistent meta-data standards, unsecured visitor data. Such issues profoundly affect the performance and profitability of digital properties, and the experience (and security) of their visitors. Traffic volumes are undermined, conversion rates suppressed, and drop-off rates increased.

Based on thousands of diagnostic scans completed each year for more than a decade, it is evident that such deficiencies are universal. Relatively few organizations routinely identify and address structural defects and technical implementation deficiencies that, if resolved, help pave the way to more consistent and controllable online performance. These issues are hidden in the vast majority of Web properties, and fester, thwarting businesses’ efforts to drive online performance.

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Table 1 Companies need to use the same level of rigor they apply in other business functions to their online domains.

 

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Analysis

The number of digital customer touchpoints is expanding. And with the rise of Omni-channel Commerce, each touchpoint demands increased personalization and the dynamic targeting of more relevant and timely content. User-generated and crowd-sourced content is on the rise along with the level of consumer engagement and social interaction.

Given this new reality, what may have been a hidden nuisance in the past could soon become a crippling commercial burden.

If issues continue to linger, new market dynamics will compound the problem and amplify their impact. Defining and proactively managing technical standards is essential for enabling effective, agile and intelligent interactive marketing. In fact, the establishment of robust implementation quality (I.Q.) standards is nothing less than a business imperative.

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A “spell check” for online performance

Fortunately, as important and increasingly urgent as this need has become, the solution can be as simple and routine as the automated “spell check” function in word processing.

How? Through three pragmatic steps.

  1. Define the minimum number of standards with maximum potential impact (promoting positive performance and/or mitigating liabilities and costs).

  2. Establish simple processes enabled by automated checking against the standards for preventive quality and compliance management. Simply put, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

  3. Implement periodic monitoring to find and fix emergent issues that inevitably pop up from time to time in the production environment.

Client Case Study

Accenture helps Marriott reach $7 billion in annual online sales, so guests can go offline even faster.

Image of PDF cover. For best viewing, click here to download the full article. Accenture helps Marriott reach $7 billion in annual online sales. This opens a new window.

Contact

To learn more about how to ensure your Web properties can help drive digital ROI, contact:

John Liu
U.S. +1 877 609 8723

Brent Richards
U.S. +1 877 609 8723