It’s starting to get to that point in the year where we all start to think about the importance of information technology and what our goals for next year should be. Most CIOs will of course be thinking about all of the things that you think that CIOs should be thinking about: clouds, mobility, optimization, etc. I’m going to suggest that you do something different and that you create a bold goal for your IT department: find a way to make the IT department matter to your company’s customers.
Who Are Your Company’s Customers?
Telling the person who has the CIO job to spend time thinking about the company’s customers may come as a surprise to you. I mean, sure CIOs think about other departments and internal employees as customers, but we really never see the real customers that the company serves. What I’m suggesting is that you create a plan to change that as you go into next year.
The IT department is the one department in the company that has the ability to process all of that data that is streaming though the company and really get to know who the firm is serving. This is all very traditional, I want to you to push the envelope just a bit further: how can you use all of the customer data that you have to help those very same customers?
What I’m proposing is that you collect the data, process the data, and then hand your results back to your customers. Just imagine what they’ll think when you show them the value (or not) of what they have bought from your company. By sharing this kind of hidden internal data with your end customers you’ll be fulfilling the goal of having the company become a true partner. Yes, what you reveal to them may make them buy less in the short term, but ultimately it will create a stronger bond between the two firms.
It’s All About Promotions
As you work to have the IT department become more relevant to your company’s customers, you can give the marketing department a helping hand in the area of promotions. Ultimately what your marketing department wants is for their promotions to become more focused and effective by becoming more driven by data.
One of the big areas where IT can help out the marketing department is in finding out how often a customer really wants to be contacted. We all get so many pieces of information sent to us on a daily basis that it can be very easy for us to tune any of them out. If the IT department can tell marketing how interested someone is in hearing from the company, then they can boost the chances of getting their marketing messages listened to.
This is one of the areas where IT’s ability to process big data and create actionable insights can really come to the rescue of the firm. With the assistance of the IT department, the firm can launch more promotions and test out more ideas then they have ever been able to do before. Having the ability to then process the results is what will make the IT department that much more valuable to the company’s customers.
What All Of This Means For You
As we start to create plans for what we would like to be able to accomplish next year, I would like to challenge you to decide to make your IT department relevant to your company’s end customers next year. This isn’t going to be an easy thing to do, but if the person in the CIO position can do it then you will have boosted the value of the IT department to your company.
In order to make sure that what your IT department does will impact your firm’s customers, one thing that you can do is to process all of the customer data that you have available to you and then provide the results to your end customers so they can evaluate the value of your firm’s products and services. Additionally, you can also help your marketing department by helping to make their promotions more focused and effective.
What I’m asking you to do steps outside of the boundary of what an IT department normally does. However, these are the kind of steps that a modern CIO needs to be willing to take. Only by making the IT department valuable to the end customers can you be assured that your department is doing the work that you need to be doing.
Question For You: What do you think would be the best way to measure how much impact the IT department has had on the company’s end customers?
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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time
As CIO one of your most important jobs is to manage the budget of the IT department. This means that despite the importance of information technology, you need to always be looking for ways to make your limited IT dollars go farther. One of your biggest expenses is always going to the cost of all of that software that the company is currently using to accomplish its work. That’s why taking the time to find ways to reduce the company’s software costs will always pay off for the person with the CIO job.