By Kathy Gibson – Techquilibrium – the balance between traditional and digital business – is the goal for organisations seeking to survive and thrive in the digital world.

Change is constant, and no company or industry has the luxury of standing still anymore. The next five years will see as much technological change as the last 50 – and organisations cannot afford to slip behind the curve.

Valentin Sribar, senior vice-president at Gartner, explains that techquilibrium is achieved when digital and traditional are in balance that is right for that business.

“To get your techquilibrium you need to go as far as you can in the transformation of your business and your operating models,” he tells delegates to Gartner Symposium, on now in Cape Town.

And this point changes all the time as customer change, industries change and the business itself changes.

Customers have an important place in the techquilibrium conversation.

“Growth is critical, even in an uncertain world,” says Don Scheibenreif, distinguished vice-president analyst at Gartner. But growth can’t happen if companies don’t give their customers a great experience.

“Customers want all the features, and an effortless experience; they want to be connected and left alone; they want to be treated equally and served uniquely. They want everything.”

Technology has made this even more complicated – creating the “everything customers”.

“This is a challenge and an opportunity at once,” says Scheibenreif.

To win is this environment, organisations have have to connect with the everything customers better than anyone else.,

Winning in the turns men more than making technology available – it means winning with them

Customer techquilibrium comes when technology and customers intersect.

Technology often overtakes customers, leaving some disconnected. “But as we put technology in place to meet customer demands, we have moved further away from them,” Scheibenreif says.

To win, successful organisations remain connected with customers continuously, creating easy, immediate and rewarding interactions.

CIOs can drive the enterprise forward to grow with the everything customer

Multi-experience is key to this turn, letting customers interact with technology across a variety of touchpoints regardless of where they are.

A multi-experience mindset and technology platform will make this real.

This challenges the CIO to think as a designer, Scheibenreif says.

Gen Z ranks identity more than any other age group, creating new challenges for organisations.

There is another dilemma for CIOs: by 2022 most customer interactions will be with customers that are not human. “What would it take for a machine to order from your company?” Scheibenreif asks.

To address the everything customer, organisations need a technology platform that will bring well-designed experiences to life, he adds.

Gartner calls this the multi-experience platform that uses building blocks that deliver consistent experience across multi-model touchpoints.

This means that a variety of touchpoints including phone, Web, clothes, watch, assistant – even refrigerators – will be able to interact with customers wherever they are.

For instance, a South African bank offers seven ways to pay a bill; an airline offers 10 ways to book a flight; and one company offers 15 different ways to order a pizza.

“This is multi-experience – a variety of touchpoints offering a consistent user experience,” says Scheibenreif.

Succeeding with the everything customer goes beyond investments in technology, he adds. Investment in people and processes leads to experience at every touchpoint. It turns the expected into the unexpeected, by wrapping the product with the experience.

By 2021, one-third of enterprises will have deployed a multi-experience platform, according to Gartner.

Mobile applications have already been mastered by 91% of organisations, with voice and chatbots not far behind.

Multi-experience creates an opportunity for CIOs to lead with the everything customer, Scheibenreif says.

“Use design and technology to make your customer experience everything your customers could want – and more,” he says.