Wednesday, July 17, 2013

CIO as Chief Interface Officer: How to Delight Customers

CIO as a Chief Interface Officer means to create passionate customers, also engage productive workforces through intuitive user experience and seamless processes.

CIOs are getting involved in building products for external/internal customers, but unfortunately, creating great user experiences continues to be a struggle. “UX — short for User Experience — refers to the experience a given user has when using a piece of software or technology, rather than the purely technical capacities of that device.” As customers' loyalty depends in large part on how they feel about your digital product or channel. CIO as ‘Chief Interface Officer,” what’s your strategy and tactics in building up superior development teams, so you can deliver the innovative apps, to delight customer via an intuitive interface and optimal processes? 

1.    Understanding is a Lot of Listening 

 Understanding is a lot of listening, being able to see beyond a paradigm in which a person or process is stuck ... seeing the 'what's possible' based upon an understanding of people, their work, their context and options variables (technical, financial, schedule, political ...). The best thing is to understand...
  • User feedback: How is the end user going to use your solution? Does the new solution help the user to do the things better than the current solution or the user all together has to change the way he/she performs his/her tasks by using this new system? 
  •  Design review: Is the new solution providing new features but is involving more complexity? Or the new solution is improving the efficiency of old solution without adding complexity? Is it the teamwork to design the great UI based on well-defined principles or do you have to count on the individual talented UI designers to convey the art? There are techniques that anyone can study but actually using them on a real project is still a challenge for many people. 

2.    The Characteristics of Well-Designed UX 

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication; elegant simplicity in the UI is hard to design. The well-designed UX has the following characteristics:

  • Less is More: A strategically oriented UX designer is a complex problem-solver who can blend business objectives, technology capabilities and a rich understanding of users into innovative and compelling digital products and services. The user should never, ever have to stop to think about how to do something. It must be natural and intuitive.
  • Consistency: A major part of creating a UX that is natural and intuitive is to make common system controls consistent throughout the operation. Good UI starts by first finding the simple underlying patterns that make up the work to be done in an application. The user interface (UI) is the overall design that shows how the different parts of a system work and how they fit together cohesively. If you don’t have a UI that people understand and like you are setting the project up for failure.
  • Intuition + Evidence-Based design: the best way for IT/technology to help win customers’ heart is to make most of IT/technology "invisible" to the customer. In other words, hide the complexity of IT/technology infrastructure & operations. What is left visible to the customer should be simple, intuitive, secure, reliable and predictable (websites, mobile solutions etc.)? This requires a cross-functional customer-centric paradigm for managing and operating IT/technology.

3.  UX is BPM Entity

There are two different entities in any classical BPM implementation - User Interface and Process Redesign. One way to bridge the gap is to involve customers at the core of any redesigned process. The more the ease a user feels being a part of the process the lesser the gap between the two.

  • Maintain a focus on the design from the user’s perspective. Whether business process or user interfaces... what is important is improving the user experience. Process design and interface design integrate at the user... Simplify the user experience; add flexibility and the designs will align innovatively. The innovative designs involve radically different ways of rethinking their processes. 
  • A better-interconnected user interface. The true BPM solution is where the process layer changes as per the needs of the organizations. The user interface remains transparent to the changes in the process layer. It's also important to give the user the ability to interact with the process wherever they are. 
  • Re-interface: Create new interfaces between the application and the user to allow the user to take advantage of the application features while operating in a cloud environment. This is often done through the use of web services. To develop your application with the cloud in mind. And most probably you will want that application to interface with the user through a variety of form factors, put effort to integrate processes with multiple smart devices, to make technical capacities more powerful but less expensive. 
  • From IT perspective: What is a particularly interesting adjunct to UX brainstorming is how the line between software and hardware is disappearing and how good UI must consider both. While this sounds simple, it is not when you start considering all of the elements involved...everything from the microprocessor to the supporting code to the way the end-user interacts with the device (touch, voice, keypad, ?). There are also the elements of skills to consider. Hardware types generally do not think the same as software types who generally do not think the same as analysts....add in the complexities of open source code, and life becomes exciting. 


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