Why IT managers need to start thinking like a customer

November 15, 2016 |

The role of the Information Technology Manager (or Chief Technology Officer) has changed dramatically in the past 20 years as technology takes an exponential leap forward every few years.

For decades, most employees – even some owners and shareholders – thought the primary objective of an IT Manager was simply to keeps the lights on and make sure the emails got through.

Things have changed a lot since Windows 95 was launched and, in this new era of customer centric commerce where the “user experience” is core to every aspect of a business, IT managers are faced with a raft of challenges and demands.

Firstly, proactive business owners now hire IT Managers to help formulate strategyand drive business planning yet in reality they still spend most of their time managing the day-to-day operations of their department.

Secondly, technology is constantly changing which means IT professional have to be constantly learning and researching to ensure they have the best solution in place, something that’s difficult if time is precious.

Thirdly, results that are often enabled by implementing new technology are sometimes not seen for 12 months or more yet many businesses analyse (and reward) their managers on quarterly results.

And lastly, the obvious successes attributed to technology are often invisible but the rare failures are always highly visible. Just ask the Tesltra IT management team how they feel about this phenomenon!

No-one said it’s an easy job but, despite all these hurdles, it is critical that IT Managers focus on the end game – happy customers.

According to a recent report from Forrester (Engaging Customers with Business Technology, 2015) which surveyed thousands of technology decision-makers from companies with 100 or more employees in Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, New Zealand, the UK and the US, IT professionals need to extend their focus from improving internal operations (approximately 22% of their budget) to implementing technology that enhances the customer experience.

The report said that over 40 percent of business decision-makers viewed their IT as an impediment to accelerating business success!

It states that IT managers devote too much time and attention to managing traditional internal systems, lack strong relationships with executives in customer-facing roles and don’t have the skills to identify and deploy systems and processes that win and retain customers.

Now more than ever, IT Managers need to think and act like a product/account manager – constantly considering what customers want, how to deliver this to them, and how to capture information that continues to enhance their experience.

“Technology-fuelled, customer-led disruption will continue to arrive unexpectedly on your doorstep. From the customer’s perspective, your business is technology and technology is your business no matter what sector you are in,” says the report’s author, Peter Burris.

The upside of this is that IT Managers now find themselves on the cusp of an era where they are crucial to business success. For those who manage this transition to customer-centric management their prominence in the organisation will continue to rise.

If you are a Business Owner, GM or Operations Manager who’d like to know more about the way SaaS technology can make the customer central to everything you do, I’d love to speak with you.

Or if you are an IT Manager who is interested in learning how the Cloud can add enormous value to your role please visit our website (www.dwr.com.au) or email me at nigel.wooden@dwr.com.au.

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