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A Framework for Modernizing IT Architecture to Improve Customer Engagement

Today’s IT architecture must be flexible – one that can adapt and change alongside your business and your customers.

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Successful digital transformation isn’t just about leveraging new technology. It’s about meeting real business goals by pursuing innovative, agile, and sometimes disruptive operational models enabled by new technology.

A key part of modernizing your company’s technology involves freeing up your IT architecture. It’s time to get rid of your aging patchwork of code, features, and functionalities that no longer add value to the customer experience. Instead, you need to optimize the ways your customer engagement apps are integrated with your technology, and be intentional about how you can use IT to lay the foundation for increased customer-centricity throughout your entire company.

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for modernizing IT architecture. However, after years of working with most complex platform implementations, we’ve developed a core framework that CIOs and IT executives can use to lead their teams toward successful architecture modernization.

CIOs Must Champion Architecture Transformation 

In the fourth industrial revolution, technology is changing the landscape of every industry. Customers expect companies to anticipate their needs. Since the only way to anticipate customers’ needs is through technology, CIOs need to be at the forefront of enabling their companies to do this.

Customers need to be at the center of everything companies do today — and CIOs need to come equipped with compelling plans for how technology can help their companies reach customers. They also need to work with other business leaders to help them understand the role new technology can play, and how it can break down silos and improve business results.

A Customer-Centric Framework for IT Architecture

Truly customer-centric IT architecture typically has four key pillars: context-led, experience-focused, team-driven, and ecosystem-enabled. Here’s the breakdown:

  1. Context-led

AI is key to doing this successfully.

Consider your customer’s core motivations and strive to make their journeys circular or continuous. Then, break down the services you want to deliver each touchpoint, and see where there are opportunities either to automate or to provide human interactions.

  1. Experience-focused 

Everything today is about customer experience. This pillar is about leveraging the capabilities of your architecture and tech ecosystem to deliver better customer experiences. Be realistic and honest — deliver the best you can, and deliver what you say you will.

Analyze your interactions with customers and use data to learn from those interactions, then adjust your product and service offerings accordingly. The more you can quantify what makes your customers’ experiences great, the more you can do to meet and exceed their expectations.

  1. Team-driven

It’s time to break down silos and work with people across your organization to deliver better customer experiences powered by digital technology. Take the time to define your company’s digital operating model. Technology isn’t just the IT department’s business. It’s everybody’s business. It’s about a more effective way of working.

An increasingly digital environment means that IT and the business start to speak the same language. Automation also gives IT time to innovate and deliver more value to the business by working to give everyone the skills they need to adapt in a technologically evolving world. However, be sure to watch your pace and innovate intentionally at the speed of your customers — not too fast for them, and not too slow.

  1. Ecosystem-enabled

How can you build a connected digital platform across your entire company? The 90s and 00s have taught us all that effective tech solutions cannot exist in silos. What you need most are: a modern data strategy, a connected platform and ecosystem, room to accommodate emerging technology, and reusable architectural patterns and solutions.

As you move to implement, think about how you can connect customer data and get context to deliver more engaging experiences. Make sure your platform can accommodate new technologies like blockchain and AI as it grows and changes, and that it’s adaptable and scalable. Your ecosystem also needs to be user-friendly for many (your whole business), not just a few (your IT department).

Modernized Architecture Improves Customer Engagement

When you think about transforming your architecture to create better customer experiences, take things slow. First, fix what’s broken with incremental changes. Then, evolve your technology and make changes based on what puts customers at the center of everything.

Working in an agile way with modernized architecture can help you deliver real value to your customers faster. However, to do this, you need to define your operating model and align it with your business case. Set clear goals, and constantly check what your teams are doing to help achieve them. Checkpoints can help you identify whether you’re delivering the value your customers expect and deserve.

Modernized architecture is about designing something flexible that can adapt and change alongside your business and your customers. Remember the old adage: change will never again be as slow as it is today. Put customers at the center of everything — you may be surprised how many issues can be solved by this mindset alone.

Learn more about building a customer-centric organization.

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