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Cloud platform provider Kony has published the results of the 'Kony Digital Experience Survey 2019', which gauges the efficacy of global investment in digital transformation in four industries: banking, retail, utilities, and healthcare. Within these industries, nearly US$5 trillion in investment dollars have yielded little improvement, with only 19% of consumers reporting any significant improvement in the experiences offered to them. This article is copyright 2019 The Best Customer Guide.

The study found that misalignment is not only driven by businesses out of sync with customers, but it goes in both directions. Consumers do not believe that businesses are investing in digital initiatives that result in meaningful outcomes.

In every market and every vertical, consumers underestimated the number of businesses that are investing heavily in every customer experience outcome by at least 50%. Consumers also are not giving businesses credit for the level of investments they are making.

Conversely, businesses are not listening to - or understanding - the evolving needs of their customers. According to the study, only 28% of enterprise digital transformation initiatives are started specifically with customer needs as the priority.

"Improvements in costs and efficiencies are always welcomed and clearly important to project funding, but the real returns and real impact of digital starts and stops with its impact on the customer experience," said Thomas E. Hogan, chairman and CEO for Kony. "The Kony Digital Experience Index highlights a chasm between consumer expectations and business spending. The fact that only one in five consumer respondents felt any significant improvement demonstrates the enormous opportunity that remains for businesses to leverage digital for customer loyalty, service levels, convenience, and commerce."

The study also ranks businesses efforts on the Kony Digital Experience Index (KDXi). KDXi Leaders and Laggards are scored based on how the business delivers on several digital experience outcomes, such as improving web experiences to make it easier to navigate, more engaging and intuitive to use; providing comprehensive online and mobile capabilities so users can do everything online or on their mobile device, quickly and easily; and offering cutting-edge digital experiences such as AI, chat bots and augmented reality.

While there are a number of differences between KDXi Leaders and KDXi Laggards, the consistent theme for KDXi Laggards is an internal focus (improving workflow productivity, cost reduction, better internal collaboration) while KDXi Leaders have an external focus (meeting customers' changing expectations, agility, risk management - such as cybersecurity). Furthermore, KDXi Leaders consistently recognize the need for change and they are prepared to take risks. They have agile, customer-focused organizations that recognize digital transformation is a cultural change, not just a technological change.

Hogan explained, "Laggards are simply trying to keep pace and improve internal efficiencies. The customer experience is not the main focus, and that's painfully obvious to the customer. Businesses must listen to and understand customer needs such as data security, digital support and improving mobile experiences, which are especially high in the US and North America."

The findings in Kony's Digital Experience Index were based on 1,600 respondents across the US, Europe and Asia. Of that group, 800 were major contributors or leaders of digital transformation initiatives in Enterprise businesses with 500+ employees.