Wednesday, April 9, 2014

How to Leverage IT to Enhance the Customer Experience

IT needs to run in a very entrepreneur fashion to solve business problems.

Customer experience is now an integral component of digital strategy in many forward-looking, customer-centric organizations, and IT is more often the game changer in business's digital transformation. Thus, how to leverage IT to enhance the customer experience?

Engaging and empowering your end user is vital. Particularly as business has become more tech-savvy, and as such, aware of their power to demand what they want, when and how they want it. Those in IT who hide their heads in the sand and think that it is 'business as usual' as far as them being in complete control of the customer/end-user experience are in for a very rude awakening an IT-enabled enterprise. Collaborate with customers and partners, as they are what makes or breaks a successful IT.

How to re-imagine customer-centricity by going through the change and IT transformation. It is the smart business leader who takes control of business strategy and leverages IT tools and technologies to meet targets incorporated in 'said' strategy. This is instead of allowing IT to determine business strategy and have the potential to curtail targets. Or tactically how should those who want this change to happen more quickly, convince the supporters of the current way of doing it to change or at least not stop it? What has consistently been in the way is the fact that, to date, most solutions have been very costly in terms of complexity, licensing and lock-in. If you take away the 'cost' arguments and provide solutions which are engaging, empowering, easy and inexpensive - those that want change will go along the way to bringing the 'slower' moves along.

It is imperative that the change/transition doesn't become adversarial between the stakeholders. Having representatives from all stakeholders, depts./arenas/organizations involved in the design phase of the solution goes a long way towards cementing buy-in from all parties. Technology is being leveraged every day to enhance the customer experience with or without the use cases from an IT Department. In reality, if the IT department does not have the time, resources or authority to develop and deploy these initiatives, they will not be brought to the table. IT will need to develop business skills to properly vet out services for a particular use case, otherwise, the other business functions can develop specific IT skills to do it themselves.

IT will need to invent itself in a very entrepreneur fashion. IT can just be busy keeping the lights on, therefore, the "customer experience "responsibility will be left to the business. They will lean on market forces to solve its problems. With the startup world growing as fast as they are, the disruption of IT will continue. The business functions will have more resources, time, and energy to solve business problems. Thus, IT needs to run in a very entrepreneur fashion to solve business problems.

As businesses become more and more customer focused, it only pays to leverage IT to enhance customer experience. This will provide a competitive advantage for the business, keep their loyal customers, and expand their customer base, as the customer experience has to be aligned with company strategy and more important company branding.


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