What is XM?

XM is the acronym for Experience Management, which is defined as:

The discipline of using both experience data (X-data) and operational data (O-data) to measure and improve the four core experiences of business: customer, employee, product and brand.

XM represents an emerging capability that combines an intensified understanding of how people think, feel, and behave with dramatically improved capabilities to uncover and act on those insights. This combination of humanity and intelligence will form the basis of how organizations compete in the future and will drive organizational transformation for the next decade.

Three Components of XM

How can you enable XM within your organization? By focusing on three areas:

  • Technology: Fundamental to XM enablement is a technology platform that empowers everyone within the organization to collect, understand, and most importantly, take action on the combination of experience and operational data.
  • Competencies: To help you master the XM discipline, we have defined 6 Competencies (see below).
  • Culture: XM flourishes when employees at all levels — especially leaders —  support continuous experience improvement. For an organization to realize XM results, it must encourage XM-centric behaviors at an organization-wide level.

Six XM Competencies

At the center of any XM effort are Six XM Competencies, which are the same across all experience areas. However, the specific actions that should be taken by an organization to implement each practice will vary across experience areas and use cases. Here are the six XM Competencies:

  • Lead. Architect, align, and sustain successful XM efforts. Driving XM transformation requires a strong program and active support from senior leadership.
  • Realize. Track and ensure that XM efforts achieve business objectives. For XM efforts to have lasting, positive impact, they must align with the overall priorities of the organization.
  • Activate. Create the appropriate skills, support, and motivation. People generally gravitate towards the status quo. To help overcome that inertia, the organization must ensure that employees have all the appropriate XM-related training and support needed.
  • Enlighten. Provide actionable insights across an organization. At the center of XM is the constant flow of data being transformed into useful information and shared with those most capable of taking the appropriate action.
  • Respond. Prioritize and drive improvements based on insights. An organization must act on what it learns by making constant improvements as insights are uncovered.
  • Disrupt. Identify and create experiences that differentiate the organization. Truly successful XM efforts go beyond simply reacting to problems to proactively developing innovative experiences that give the organization a competitive advantage.

Five Stages of XM Maturity

As organizations develop the 6 XM Competencies, they evolve through five stages of XM Maturity:

Stage 1: Investigate . The organization is not focused on XM as a strategic opportunity. Advancing to the next stage requires:

    • Identifying the “best” first steps and building buy-in from senior executives in order to acquire the resources and support needed to begin.
  • Stage 2: Initiate. As leaders see the potential value in XM, they investigate how XM can help their organization and launch certain XM activities. Advancing to the next stage requires:
    • Building wider understanding and cross-functional support of the XM strategy.
    • Delivering value from initial efforts to gain next level of commitment.
  • Stage 3: Mobilize. Once executives view XM as a strategic priority, the organization taps into full-time XM staff who distribute insights and drive experience improvements. Advancing to the next stage requires:
    • Maturing the XM program to drive action and improve pain points.
    • Engaging employees across the organization in understanding and demonstrating good XM behaviors.
  • Stage 4: Scale. With strong XM practices in place, the organization systematically uses insights to identify and improve experiences, and invests in engaging the entire workforce in XM. Advancing to the next stage requires:
    • Consistently using metrics and insights to improve XM and track impact of efforts.
    • Deeply integrating CX into HR processes to reinforce good CX behaviors.
  • Stage 5: Embed. In the final stage of maturity, XM skills are engrained across the organization, and experience is the basis for its ongoing differentiation. In this final stage of maturity, XM programs enable the organization to continuously listen, propagate insights, and rapidly adapt to the needs and expectations of customers and employees.

Chart Your XM Future

Companies won’t master XM overnight, it will take a multi-year journey to understand and embed the required platform, practices, and perspectives. That’s why we’ve created the Qualtrics XM Institute, to support you along the way.  Here are some ideas for accelerating your XM journey:

  • Build single experience skills. You can can establish XM capabilities by starting or enhancing your customer experience (CX), employee experience (EX), brand experience (BX) or product experience (PX) efforts. Look to evolve from sharing actionable insights to redesigning processes that incorporate the insights.
  • Combine CX and EX efforts. Across our research, you’ll find that CX and EX are inextricably linked. We’ve found that engaged employees are a fundamental building block to good CX. If you combine those two areas, you can build on a common platform, and establish a strong, combined set of practices and perspectives. Along these same lines, you can also add PX and BX to existing efforts.
  • Build up centers of excellence. To master XM, you’ll likely need to develop new practices and perspectives across your organization. So identify one or two to start building. Here are some good areas to consider: experience design, advanced analytics, and developing a change-minded culture,
  • Engage a strong partner. Companies that embrace XM will go through substantive change over many years. And we all know that transformation isn’t easy, or linear. Rather than trying to do it alone, look for a partner that can help you go through the transformation. Start by checking out these great companies that can help.
  • Pick a strategic XM platform. As you think about your organization’s path towards XM adoption, you’ll be able to build skills faster and deploy change more effectively if you lock into a single platform. Not surprisingly, I strongly recommend Qualtrics. While there are good point solutions in the market, there aren’t any providers that come close to Qualtrics when it comes to overall scale, architecture, trajectory, and R&D investments—components that are critical for supporting a successful long-term journey.

We’re at the very early stages of XM, so there’s a lot to do. Keep reading this blog and visit the Qualtrics XM Institute to learn even more about how you can capitalize on XM.