According to a recent CIO article, “Most enterprises today rank improving the customer experience as one of their top priorities. Some 67 percent of IT executives surveyed for CIO’s Digital Business 2019 Report have made improving the customer experience their most important transformation initiative.”
As organizations change their business models to focus on the customer, there will be obstacles for all departments, but traditional back-office areas like IT will be particularly challenged. Tech leaders will need to shift from a typically siloed concentration on infrastructure and technology to evaluating how tech factors are impacting business outcomes. Then they must implement improvements as needed to ensure the optimum customer experience. As part of this effort, many organizations interviewed for the CIO article have added business relationship manager (BRM) roles to bridge the gap between IT and the customer experience.
Well known organizations appoint BRMs to bridge the gap between IT and customer experience
La-Z-Boy is one such company. Following a major Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) implementation that diverted IT resources from other areas of the business, the organization realized that customer satisfaction had declined. Appointing a BRM for each of La-Z-Boy’s four business units helped build internal credibility and demonstrated that the IT department was committed to customer success. To further foster collaboration between the business and IT, La-Z-Boy’s CIO “put together an IT strategic plan with eight goals that align to the company’s strategy, along with a target of getting all 130 IT employees out in the field to see how the team’s work impacts manufacturing plants and retail stores.”
Encouraging IT employees to examine the link between their work and the broader business performance is also a strategy employed by Satya Jayadev, CIO at semiconductor manufacturer Skyworks Solutions. When people from different departments can “talk the same language,” as he puts it, IT becomes more accessible and non-IT roles simultaneously gain a better understanding of what technology can and cannot do for their business requirements.
Traditional IT measures need to change
As IT reorients around the customer, traditional IT measures like SLAs and resolve times are becoming less relevant. While many of the tech leaders interviewed for the CIO article believe these still hold value within the internal IT department, in order to track success against broader business KPIs, these measurement approaches must modernize.
According to CIO, we can expect the next three to five years to be “a pivot-or-perish” situation for IT to focus on the customer experience. For more on this shift and organizations that have begun to change their business model, check out the article in its entirety here.