Paul Lewis

Digital Transformation: Creating Magic in Customer Experience

Blog Post created by Paul Lewis Employee on Aug 22, 2016



I’m going out a limb here.  Magic does exist.


I hate to break it to you.  There are no “tricks”, no “sleight of hand”, and no “misdirection” of your attention.  Literally, everything you are seeing in front of you is real.


And I’m not just talking about the Vegas style, 1000 person auditorium, and Cirque de Soleil masterpieces.  No, I’m including all magic.  From that black & white rabbit plastic picture trick (you’ve seen the one) at my 40th birthday party from a $40/hour magician for hire magic; to the coordinated team-on-the-street in front of that Vegas show hustling each of my $20 bills with 3-card Monte magic.  All magic.


Here is what I know for a fact:


  • Random audience members do get cut in half with rotating power saws, pierced with 4 foot long steel swords and live to tell about it
  • It is possible to vanish the Statue of Liberty and transport through the Great Wall of China
  • Mentalists can both read my mind, and convince me to pick a certain card from the deck; oddly always the King of Hearts
  • One can completely change outfits a dozen times in 5 seconds
  • And I’m pretty sure that it is in-fact possible…to pull a rabbit out of a hat.


It’s all real.


Because I know it’s real, I love to EXPERIENCE magic; beyond music, beyond theatre; beyond Reality TV (in fairness a close second).  And I don’t want to know how it works; because I already know how it works, its magic.


Even though you would never admit it, you agree with me.  Admit it.  ADMIT IT!  That’s what I thought.


I’m not going to let you off that easy though.  Because what we both know (but I’m the only one willing to admit), is that we EXPECT everything to be magic. We EXPECT to not know the details of every interaction and every transaction.  We want what we want when we want it…to heck HOW it’s done.  We want to make sure THAT it’s done.   


You know who really understands that fact about us?  Digital Disrupters. (Note: this is the part where I transition from a topic seemingly unrelated to the title to a specific implementation of the premise found in the opening lines related ENTIRELY to the topic).


The CEO and Chief Digital Officer (CDO) are evaluating the behaviours of the Digital Disruptors in their industry and evaluating the new interaction with their mutual customers.  How are they gaining ground?  How are they changing the buying patterns?  Why are these new experiences increasing closing rates?  How is the engagement changing the overall customer satisfaction? And most importantly: HOW DO I CREATE THESE NEW EXPERIENCES TO SUBSTANTIALLY GROW MY BUSINESS AND KEEP DELIGHTING MY CUSTOMERS?



It’s magic. 


Let’s appreciate the parallels to the magician’s tool kit:


  • Production (producing something from nothing):   In media, the customer experience is ALL about producing amazing feats of visual magic.  1000s of person hours of human creativity combined to produce a 90 minute Netflix movie, consumable on a variety of devices, streamed seamlessly all over the world.  The HOW doesn’t matter.


  • Vanish (makes something disappear):  In construction, the customer experience is a series of project management steps to wipe clean the current physical space and imagine something new.   Construction engineering moves the discussion into a collaborative and electronic building process.  Vanishing the physical structures (buildings, mountains, fences) currently present and building from the ground up, the soil, the cement, and the floors in 3D architectural imaging and printing.  The HOW doesn’t matter.


  • Transformation (transform from one state into another):  In manufacturing, the customer experience transitions from transforming raw material and combining them with trial and error in physical form to final products built in electronic form.  Imagine constructing a product by layering Lego blocks of various material, then adjusting materials and attributes online to find the perfect fit, before even one widget in produced on the line.  The HOW doesn’t matter.


  • Restoration (destroys then restores an object):  In government, the customer experience is often non-existent or poorly understood, lacking the cross department collaboration needed.  Restoring the communication between departments by creating cross department services with a single citizen interface, and creating an innovative public/private services environment with open government by delivering a programmatic means combine public and private data will also significantly restore confidence in value created per dollar of tax.  The HOW doesn’t matter.


  • Transportation (move from one place to another):  I took the easy route on this one.  In transportation, the customer experience is waiting at the bus stop for next bus to arrive hoping you make it to the Dentist appointment on time and before the downpour begins.  The focus is on the START of the trip.  Changing the experience from the START to the DESTINATION refocuses the customer on the VARIOUS options available to get to the destination on time.  Alert the passenger than if they take the F circle bus at the next intersection instead of this stop, to the G express would actually get to their destination 5 minutes earlier.  A simple text, and the HOW doesn’t matter.


  • Escapes (restrain and escape):   In energy, the control of the cost of the product is ENTIRELY in the hands of the producer.  The customer experience is simply, use energy, pay bill.   Escaping the handcuffs of control and creating a new transparency to energy pricing dramatically changes the customer experience.  Per minute pricing and per minute utilization awareness allows the customer to change their usage habits.  Alerts suggesting washing the clothes later, or a perfect time to cool down the house dramatically and positively changes the relationship customers will have with producers.   The HOW doesn’t matter.


  • Levitation (defying gravity):  In telecommunications, the customer experience is product centric even though the service is data centric.  Consumers do not worry, and likely don’t remember what specific rate or product bundle plan they chose, but they certainly are worried about how much data is consumed watching a YouTube video.   A new customer experience is detailing not daily usage of data per product, but elevating and detailing the categorical usage of data only: “You watch one video a day and listen to 2 hours of Internet radio.  At this rate, I can last only 10 days on the current plan.  We recommend you move to this data usage plan to push to the entire month.  Click here for other options based on how you consume.”  The HOW doesn’t matter.


  • Pass Through: (pass through an object):  In retail, the customer experience is a pass through, or a workflow of buying.  Traditionally that has meant creating an Omni-channel experience, where you can buy the same shoes for the same price online as you do in the retail outlet.  Unfortunately the customer buying pattern is NOT Omni-channel; in fact the entire buying process is a pass through.  Typically the customer browses online, and picks three shoes.  They then visit their local store and try on all three, and ultimately choosing just one.  On their own, they decide to buy (or avoid to buy) in real time, in the store.   A new customer experience embraces that  buying experience by automatically pulling the three products off the shelf ready for the customer to try on as they enter the store, then offer the customer on their device, and ability to pay now and bring home, or buy online and have them shipped home to arrive same day.  The HOW doesn’t matter.


  • Prediction (predicting outcomes):  In Financial Services, Education and Healthcare, the customer experience depends HIGHLY on the individual professional supplying the service.  Wealth managers, teachers, nurses and doctors provide individual and educational/experience based value directly to individual consumers.   Enhancing the consistency and predictability of outcomes (market ups/downs, academic pass/fails, data-centric diagnosis) elevates and increases the likelihood of positive outcomes (wealthier, smarter, and healthier societies).   The HOW doesn’t matter.     


Like I said magic.  I…..SAID….


But of course, Digital Transformation is not easy.  Anything that changes the interaction with customers, even ones contributing positively requires a team effort, changes to organizational process, and a heaping teaspoon of technological innovation.


its not easy.png

And we can’t create these new magical customer experiences by ourselves.  We also need trusted partners (because of course we don’t know EVERYTHING….and some things simply happen behind the technological curtain).   


There are very few partners that understand the complexity of diverse industries, diverse applications, and diverse customers; and understanding that the underlying DATA and AGILE IT needed to deliver on these experiences.  We need to work together to create a new DATA STRATEGY FOR DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION that links and evaluates information sources to create insights for operational process changes, creation of new business models, and innovating with new customer experiences.



Fortunately, the partnership of VMWare and Hitachi focuses on enhancing your Digital Transformation initiatives.  It’s the only partnership that knows your clients like you know your clients.


As an example: in order to help customers further accelerate time to market and radically simplify management and consumption of IT services, Hitachi launched hyperconverged infrastructure Unified Compute Platform HC last week. UCP HC eliminates the need for a massive upfront capex, by delivering pay-as-you-grow deployment model providing linear scale.


The UCP HC  family of hybrid and all-flash solutions simplifies the scale-out process and provides elasticity to closely align the IT infrastructure with dynamic business demands. Building on the Hitachi legacy, UCP HC delivers a reliable foundation to run your important  applications with aggressive RPO and RTO requirements. UCP HC scale-out cluster is designed to tolerate failure, without impacting the performance or data accessibility. It provides native and optimized data protection and disaster recovery solutions to deliver resilient infrastructure for applications with near-zero downtime tolerance.



And how are we, a couple of magic enthusiasts going to learn about these innovations?  Why VMWorld in the Magic Capital of the WORLD!




I know I’ll be there, I have to be:


You learned something from this blog didn’t you.  Even though you would never admit it, you did.  Admit it.  ADMIT IT!  That’s what I thought.