Customers in the globalized, digital world want to buy more than just a product – they’re searching for a long-term solution. With the right customer-centric IT strategy, you put customer experience at the center of your business model and control the success of your brand.
It is no longer enough for manufacturers to offer outstanding products at competitive prices. To be prepared for the digital future, it’s not products that should be the main focus of your business model, but the customer and their demands, suggestions, and problems. In times of globalization and the growing digital economy, the customer now desires much more than just a product; they want a complete solution. And this should be part of the entire customer experience. For future business models, this means moving away from being purely a manufacturer and toward becoming a complete service provider.
This doesn’t have to be as complex as it might sound. Offering products “as a service” or renting machines instead of only selling them is a relatively simple step that companies can take. After all, trends such as the sharing economy don’t stop at the B2B sector. Technologies including the Internet of Things and machine learning are indispensable in this service approach – and so is a customer-centric IT strategy.
In particular, an IT strategy is essential when time pressures are increasing but budgets are decreasing and IT staff are scarce. The right technology can relieve these stresses if implemented in the right way to meet new demands. Figures show that companies have realized the potential: Experts at Gartner estimate that around US$3.7 trillion has been invested by companies worldwide in IT this year. Above all, investments in artificial intelligence should generate new business models with a value of $2.9 trillion and 6.2 billion hours of work productivity by 2021.
Technology should be both stable and agile
These developments are changing the role of IT. For a long time, application stability and low costs were key, but technology now needs to be flexible, fast, and innovative. According to Gartner, to be successful in business you need to be “bimodal” with both aspects in focus. There are three key elements to achieving this: specialized teams within your IT department, separate organizational units outside of the company, and a “digital core” of all products, processes, and services. Even if Gartner’s strategy is disputed by some, more than a third of all businesses already follow a bimodal IT approach to ensure business success.
The transformation of technology from cost driver to value-adding asset offers IT departments the chance to take on new roles and responsibilities. IT departments are switching from a role of support at a business to becoming a strategic partner for other departments. But how can your IT department meet these requirements? A lack of skilled professionals is affecting IT departments worldwide. There is a need for approximately 40,000 experts in Germany alone.
In this new world, success is based not on what CIOs build, but on the services they integrate. The IT organization will move from manufacturer to buyer, and the CIO will become an expert orchestrator of services.
“In this new world, success is based not on what CIOs build, but on the services they integrate. The IT organization will move from manufacturer to buyer, and the CIO will become an expert orchestrator of services.”
— 2018 CIO Agenda Report, Gartner
External service providers support CIOs in their changing role
In order for IT departments to concentrate on their new customer-centric IT strategy, they need to be relieved of backend processes such as data protection and updates. For this reason, many businesses are looking to external service providers, storage services in the cloud, or both. Managed services offer a company the precise degree of standardization to keep costs and complexity to a minimum. In addition, they offer exactly the right amount of individualization needed to satisfy the customer. With the help of external specialists, a company’s IT is always up to date and employees have the time to concentrate on core business – and offering the best possible customer experience. This is how important customer-centric IT is in influencing the overall success of a company.
This article originally appeared on itelligence.com and is republished by permission. itelligence is an SAP platinum partner.
When so much of the world’s business is conducted online without any face-to-face interactions, “Building Digital Trust” is critical to a company’s success.