by Mark Chillingworth

CIOs can help companies have their Clarks Shoes moment

Apr 11, 2011
IT Strategy

Over the last month or so I have had the luxury of sitting with a group of CIOs in a vertical sector that is being seriously challenged. Fortunately these CIOs see the challenge and perceive that the challenger – the internet, as you’d already guessed – is also the opportunity to re-invent the organisation.
However, knowing the whereabouts of a solution rarely provides you with the route, and with all things technological there are myriad options available. 
The CIOs I’ve discussed this with are in a sector that is overall losing its perceived value to customers. This is affecting all players in the sector as new customer’s self-service via the internet rather than using the full package of services their organisations offer. The challenge for these CIOs is to redefine the wide range of services they offer as real value-add and to use technology to add increased value to consumers. As the internet democratises more markets and continues to increase communications and globalisation the need for CIOs to offer security and value add to customer is becoming an imperative, as I have seen in these discussions. 
What became clear to me talking and listening to these CIOs is that their organisations and sector is awaiting what I called its Clarks Shoes moment where consumers re-discover the original value that an organisation offers – even if it is no longer manufactured in the UK, but looks as if is – and re-connect with the brand through the new mediums. 
Of course, it’s not just for the CIO to drive a re-branding of an organisation, but as we have seen with corporations like the Discovery Channel, IBM, McDonalds and Clarks Shoes, a strong customer focused technology offering that supports multiple communications methods is crucial to the re-discovery of a brand or sector by consumers. 
All the CIOs present shared with the group some real difficult challenges they faced in their market, as well as cultural, organisational and of course technological. What was really inspiring was the wealth of vision that all shared for how to use technology to improve the customer experience and to keep their organisations healthy. With a good CIO onboard, it seems all sectors can have a Clarks Shoes moment. 
The above is the editorial for the April issue of CIO magazine, if you are a CIO and want to read the next edition, which features interviews with the CIOs of HMRC and BT then r egister here.