For many years now, IT leaders have been successfully walking a tightrope — balancing their organisation's expectations on one hand and the IT service capability on the other.
Keeping the lights on and finding new ways to increase efficiency was the priority. In the past, CIOs and IT directors wanted to control everything to do with technology, and for the most part this outlook worked.
This meant our business, IT, was primarily focused on systems alone. But times have changed. The IT group now needs to enhance the capabilities of people using technology infrastructure. It needs to have a strategic understanding of the business and brand.
IBM recently spoke to 4,183 c-level executives to examine trends that are affecting how they prepare for the future. The study concluded that the c-suite executives must do three things: open up to customer influence, pioneer digital-physical innovation, and craft engaging customer experiences.
So what does this mean for the CIO and his or her IT group? Well, your focus is no longer about how you deliver an endpoint in your network; it's about knowing how customers want to engage with your business.
I remember some years ago making light of 'brand concepts' to a friend in that industry. I'm now eating my words.
You see, this is the crossroads of marketing and IT and as horrifying as it may sound to some people, both divisions need to work together to deliver technology to the business.
The IT group already has the cross-departmental influence while marketing can add the customer service perspective and sales acumen to drive the strategy.
By focusing IT strategies on better communications and customer service, CIOs can significantly improve customer value of IT.
Today's customer is driving the change we are seeing in IT. Our departments are no longer providing a 'get what you're given' service.
Internal and external customers are expecting creative, flexible products that continue to work regardless of location or stratagem.
Herein lies the disruption. You can no longer control all the elements but the customer should be your priority. The issue here is the lack of knowledge about communications, customer service, and marketing within IT.
Basically, if you lead IT within your organisation, you need to become brand conscious. Lead the charge within the executive suite to create a organisational strategy — driven by IT — and a roadmap that ties into the brand management.
This plan should include working alongside the marketing department using social, mobile, and smart statistics (business analytics) to improve business capabilities within marketing, sales, and customer service.
In April, Forbes highlighted a customer service quote made by [[xref:http://www.forbes.com/sites/ekaterinawalter/2014/03/04/40-eye-opening-customer-service-quotes|Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, who said: "We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It's our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little better."
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