Digital transformation remains in the headlines, but where should the focus be? Should IT leaders focus on initiatives that improve enterprise processes, or look beyond to transform the services that customers experience?
A survey by Forrester Research found that companies prioritizing customer experience achieved greater business results. They reported that companies regarded as leaders in customer experience achieved 17 percent compound annual revenue growth compared with 3 percent for businesses where customer focus was lower. The Aberdeen Group reported that customer experience leaders also benefited from higher profit margins.
Build Closer IT/Business Relationships
These findings reinforce the importance of close collaboration between IT and business and the value of integrating IT and business strategies.
According to the 2019 State of the CIO Survey, 55 percent of IT leaders are spending more time understanding customer needs as a basis for revenue-generating IT initiatives. And, 67 percent claim to be fully immersed in business strategy activities.
So what does that mean for the data center? One of the big changes is that IT leaders and teams are getting closer to end customers. In some cases, they are organizing focus groups while others are spending time with customers, living their experience directly.
An article on cio.com, What customer-centric IT really looks like, reported that a number of IT leaders were also introducing new staff roles such as product manager or business relationship manager to their organization.
The aim is to give a stronger customer focus to initiatives that traditionally would have been developed from a purely technical perspective. Staff in the new roles help the IT team translate business needs into technology solutions.
Optimize Data Center Performance
As well as getting teams closer to customers, it’s also important to ensure that data center performance is optimized for the best customer experience. That means creating an agile infrastructure and maintaining the highest levels of availability.
A cloud-first strategy is essential to provide the anytime, anywhere, any device access that customers expect when they want to engage with the business. That may mean cloud migration becomes a priority for customer-facing services and applications.
Back-end processes are just as important for customer experience. If they are supported by on-premise data center operations, infrastructure availability and reliability must be optimized. An independent infrastructure assessment can help to identify performance issues and make recommendations for improvement.
High levels of automation can help to improve data center processes and free staff to focus on those important customer-focused initiatives. Adopting artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and robotic process automation (RPA) technology can also contribute to greater efficiency and improved performance in the data center.