The most common perception of IT is that it is the guys in the back room that make all those invisible systems work and help you get your laptop working again when you get stuck. The traditional industry focus of IT has been on gaining better efficiencies and reducing costs. And to be honest, that is the way it works at many companies.
But it can be much more.
As markets, technologies and business needs evolve, IT has to have the ability to reinvent itself. Without the ability to adapt, IT will remain little more than a cost center rather than providing true, strategic value to the business.
One key area where I believe IT can shine is one that you might not traditionally consider to be IT's role: customer experience. In today's economy, technology defines almost every step of the customer experience journey. As such, CIOs are just as much on the hook for CX as the CEO, or marketing, or anyone else who has traditionally been labelled as "owning" customer experience.
As Kyle McNabb of Forrester Research put it, "Improving the customer experience requires technology change, and that's why it is your problem."
Focus on the Customer Experience
If CIOs truly want to deliver business value, they have to shift their attention away from systems and onto the customer and the customer experience. It is easy to get caught up in the latest hardware, software and architectures, but at the end of the day the importance of adopting anything new must be measured in gains to the customer.
CX is no longer defined by one or two individual touch points. It is instead an end-to-end journey, and every phase of that journey is equally important. And, every phase of that journey is equally potentially damaging to your organization and its reputation should something go awry.
When developing new products or evaluating new systems, it's important to keep that customer journey in mind, and change the kinds of questions you ask yourself:
- Is this change making it easier for the customer to do business with us?
- Are we helping them get their service established faster?
- Are we improving customer care with easier reach and better tracking?
- Are we facilitating access to reports and data on the services we provide?
- Are we providing quick, accurate billing?
Join World-Class IT Organizations
Today's digital IT teams should be focused on strategic business growth and expanding their influence to work directly with customers/colleagues. World-class organizations spend nearly 30 percent more of their IT budget on build activities that contribute more to improving business processes, and nearly 13 percent less on day-to-day run activities.
Are you prepared to adapt to join them?