As customer experience (CX) becomes one of the overused and underdelivered words in our corporate lexicon, it’s still undeniable that CX and, increasingly, employee experience (EX), are incredibly important aspects of business—however we define them. Many companies now see experience as their biggest potential differentiator, and they are hungry for partners to help take them to the next competitive level. One thing becoming increasingly clear is that executives need to thoroughly understand and then improve the “journeys” their customers take along the path to interacting with their brand, researching and buying their products and services, and hopefully becoming repeat or long-term customers. Wipro’s acquisition of Rational Interactions is the latest service provider acquisition aimed at helping its clients do just that— designing and activating customer experiences to create these connections between people and brands that deepen engagement and drive commercial impact.
The cluttered landscape for experience services is a growing focus
Service providers are in a race to become ”experience agencies” that can help their customers across many facets of CX—from Infosys’ investment in contact centers and creative to Tech Mahindra’s investment in design and engineering, and, most abundantly, to Accenture’s acquisition of a veritable arsenal of creative agencies in a kaleidoscope of industry and geo-focused colors. Let’s not forget the contact center cohort that is eagerly using inherent customer prowess to target this market, using its strengths of talent and culture to come from a unique angle. One thing each of these companies needs to do is create an end-to-end story that helps their customers connect technology and experiences.
A completely rational move for Wipro
Wipro’s been demonstrating a growing appetite for experience design—this latest acquisition is laser-focused on the ability to “map and orchestrate the customer journey.” Rational, a woman-led and founded company, has 330+ employees and four offices globally in Seattle and Bellevue, WA; Dublin; and Sydney. Rational lists graphic design, content development, event planning and execution, creative and content production studio management, user experience design, interface, and execution, digital brand strategy and expression, and omnichannel commerce design as its key services offered. With the recent market focus on human-centric design, Rational’s connection, empathy, and action approach should resonate well with experience-focused executives. Rational Interactions counts tech heavyweights such as Microsoft, Amazon and Acer as customers.
This move seems to fit in well with Wipro’s existing front-office game plan. Wipro ranked among top 20 service providers in HFS’ recent Customer Engagement and CX Design Sales and Marketing Top Tens, two key markets that cover the value chain for the intelligent front office. Wipro’s clout in these areas is no doubt climbing, both with organic development and with the integrations of acquisitions such as Designit, Cooper, and Syfte, which boosted the firm’s acumen, particularly in the design space. Here’s where we are most eager to see synergies and developments with Rational:
- Potential to drive collaboration and co-creation with clients: It will be interesting to watch how Wipro can weave Rational Interaction’s marketing ability into its existing “digital lighthouse” think tank comprised of a multidisciplinary team and led by the domain SMEs. These teams help clients re-imagine their end-to-end processes and co-create new ideas and solutions and take these to market for launch and growth.
- Could help to drive a technology-led approach to customer journeys: Wipro is already taking a technology-led solution to customer engagement. Having a proven customer-experience design and mapping and activation functionality can potentially help Wipro clients better understand the right blend of people and bots to bring the customer journey to life to deliver the best possible brand experience. Wipro can take it further to execute by providing the people and the AI using HOLMES and its proprietary solutions in the customer engagement space.
- Can be a boon for more digital production work on the execution side: Wipro has proven its strength at digital content production, and it has the horsepower to deliver on many important behind-the-scenes processes that support CX strategy. Having an experience design and activation capability can help clarify the vision that Wipro can use its expertise and size for digital production to come to life. And with Wipro’s Topcoder, a crowdsourcing marketplace, the firm can also leverage over a million designers, developers, and data scientists to create significant scale.
The Bottom Line: “Experience agencies” need to be able to answer for the why, what, and how—and then deliver upon experiences with technology.
As service providers continue to help enterprises bridge gaps in experience, they also become disruptors to the traditional “agency” models that buyers have grown tired of. This kind of data-driven marketing requires input from across the customer journey to inform and optimize its campaigns. The path to success for Wipro’s integration of Rational and growth in the market for intelligent customer experience design services will be its ability to reach across the CXOs at an organization. It is no longer sufficient to have a relationship with the CMO; relationships must run deep across the executive board. As all CXOs become data managers, it is critical to ensure that as a full-service experience agency, Wipro cannot just design the journey; it has to connect the dots with data and technology to deliver.