I believe it is. If you want to sell more you've got to join up and optimise every step of the end-to-end experience for your customer.

Gadgets are great, especially the really innovative ones. But adding one or more of these to your business won't necessarily make it more of a winning proposition for your customers.

AI is great - and exciting. Robots intrigue me. Amazon's Alexa has a touch of the magical. I love what is starting to become possible and foreseeable - things that felt unthinkable even five years ago.

But whether it's technology, a new product, a new service or concept, at the heart of your success is the customer and what they think of what you are offering. It's not about what you can do or show and tell customers, it's all about how they feel when they hear, see or experience it.

Customer experience is more important than innovation. Innovation can only work if it delivers improved experience in the opinion of your customer. The experience is what drives customer loyalty.

And customers are pretty fickle. Something new is only exciting and desirable if the experience makes it simple and easy to use and there's a point to it - it meets a real demand.

Launch something new too soon, when it still has glitches, or rush ahead before something is fully thought through and tested, and you may well find that your target customers lose interest and excitement pretty quickly.

Focus on only one aspect of your customer's experience, or take an incomplete look at the end-to-end customer journey, and your efforts and investment could well be in vain.

So before we all get very carried away talking about robots, machine learning, the IoT, magical algorithms and our other visions for the future, let's just make very sure that what whatever we are excited about (and in many cases investing in), it will indeed have the right ingredients for a brilliant customer experience; one that will make a very real improved difference to the way that our customers' live or work.

This excellent guide and summary infographic by McKinsey demonstrate just how critical the customer experience, from end to end, has become for businesses really wanting to distinguish themselves competitively. Innovation, of any description, should be considered in the context of every step of your customer's current (and ideal) journey to happiness with your product or service.