Delivering great experiences to customers, donors, employees, and others requires a complete view of your organization — and that requires both operational data (O-data) and experience data (X-data). Here’s how to use X-data and O-data together.

Experience has become quantifiable, whether you’re looking at customers, employees, or others. Substantial rewards await those who deliver great experiences — and severe punishments await those who don’t.

Mind the Gap – Are You Ready for the Experience Economy?

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Mind the Gap – Are You Ready for the Experience Economy?

“Experience is… backed up by numbers,” Forbes stated last month. “Metrics showcase the progress of customer experience initiatives, and pinpoint areas for improvement.”

Experience metrics can also improve your view of the organization. That’s because O-data, such as stock on hand and best sellers, only paint half of the picture.

Meanwhile X-data, such as who would buy a specific product or how much they would pay for it, paint the other half. X-data explains the why behind all your O-data — and it’s a trillion-dollar issue.

Mind the Experience Gap

“This is a $1.6 trillion problem because frustrated people will look elsewhere for a better experience,” SAP CEO Bill McDermott said onstage at SAPPHIRE NOW this year. “Experience is now the organizing principle of the global economy.”

Many CEOs are trying to solve for experience gaps, differences between what people expect and what organizations deliver, according to McDermott. Before X-data, managing experience was a guessing game for even the savviest O-data aficionado. Organizations could only speculate about why some customers were loyal, or why others left.

Combining X-data and O-data helps remove the guesswork, using analytics to explain exactly why things are the way they are. Decision-makers can predict, avoid, or solve problems — regain lost customers when necessary — and close the experience gap.

“Start by connecting with people on a deeper level,” according to the above video. “Transform data into insights you can act on.” Doing so could literally save your brand.

Quantify Experience, Close Gaps

Customer experience (CX) is no longer siloed. Think about any brand catastrophe — horrible experiences with a coffee shop, an airline, or a government department. Few people draw distinctions between a management miscalculation, an overworked frontline worker’s gaffe, or a product failure. People fault the entire brand; the entire brand suffers.

X-data helps close these gaps — and to avoid brand catastrophes. Experience Management solutions from SAP (Qualtrics) accomplishes this by using X-data to cover experience management (XM) from four angles:

An XM platform can help brands — from law firms to retailers, from cities to charities — gauge sentiment among consumers, voters, workers, donors, and others — all in real time.

And SAP technology can combine X-data and O-data to create individual profiles, which help organizations better understand each customer, establish trust, and keep promises. In short, XM listens, CX acts.

“If you can take feedback (X-data), and rapidly use it to impact your operations (O-data), you may be able to run a faster, more nimble company,” Crunchbase News noted shortly after SAP announced last year that it would acquire Qualtrics.

Change the Way You Compete and Win

“The experience economy changed the way businesses compete,” Qualtrics Co-Founder and CEO Ryan Smith said onstage at SAPPHIRE NOW. “For the first time in history, experience has become the growth engine for business.”

Smartphones, social media, and even enterprise applications have transformed what’s necessary for organizations to survive and thrive in the experience economy, according to Smith.

“It’s never been easier for customers, employees, and stakeholders to evaluate which companies provide great experiences,” he said. “Organizations are disproportionately rewarded when they deliver a great experience — and absolutely punished when they do not.”

Follow Derek on Twitter: @DKlobucher
This story originally appeared on SAPVoice on Forbes.