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The Ovum Decision Matrix: Selecting a Customer Engagement Platform, 2018–19, published in August 2018, announces the emergence of a platform approach to enhanced customer engagement leading to a positive customer experience. Enterprises with digital transformation on their minds need to take a closer look at the CEP approach to customer engagement, which has the potential to break down organizational silos and deliver relevance at every customer interaction – the path to economic growth.

CEPs act as the intelligent orchestration layer between customers and the enterprise value chain or network

The customer engagement platform heralds a significant evolution from the old CRM systems of record, which promised much but delivered little. CEPs come in two guises:

  • advanced CRM platforms that have morphed into systems of engagement and connect demand and supply systems and processes and orchestrate the experience

  • advanced analytic and automation platforms that may be integrated with front- and back-office systems and act as the "brain" to essentially do the same as the advanced CRM platforms

What they have in common is an ability to intelligently orchestrate content, guidance, or relevant actions based on the individual customer's context. Machine learning, natural language processing, and automation play a hugely important role in this and are evolving rapidly. While all the CEPs provide localized machine learning support to help individual front-office departments interact with customers in the most relevant manner, the most advanced can now connect intelligence and automation capabilities to create a genuine orchestration layer across entire customer journeys, irrespective of the front- or back-office department with which the customer interacts. The most advanced can also determine not just the next best action but also the best moment to trigger the action.

A coherent approach is essential to gain the benefits of a CEP

Customer experience has been a priority for most enterprises for several years, but to gain the benefits of a CEP (and before turning to technology), a coherent and joined-up approach that spans the entire value chain is required. What we consistently see is that enterprises that take a coordinated approach to customer experience make significantly greater progress with their digital transformation initiatives than those that rely on multiple LOB-sponsored departmental approaches. The latter piecemeal approach may provide some localized value to a specific department, but it perpetuates organizational silos that are the bane of customer experience. So, the key messages are as follows:

  • Develop a coherent cross-organizational approach centered on the customer, and digital transformation will progress much faster and yield benefits for customers and, as a result, the enterprise.

  • CEPs are an essential aid for successful digital transformation as they connect customers to the enterprise and drive persistent customer relevance.


Further reading

Ovum Decision Matrix: Selecting a Customer Engagement Platform, 2018–19, INT001-000088 (August 2018)

Ovum Interactive Decision Matrix: Customer Engagement Platforms, 2018–19, INT001-000094 (August 2018)


Jeremy Cox, Principal Analyst, Customer Engagement Practice

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