Collaboration between business and IT accelerating customer experience

11th Mar 2013

New research has revealed that collaboration between IT and other business divisions is enabling organisations to deliver superior customer experience and improved brand differentiation.

That’s according to Forrester’s Consulting study, commissioned by Colt Technology Services, which investigated the relationships between IT and other business divisions. The study showed that insufficient engagement between IT and customer-facing business departments is affecting positive business transformation.

Despite IT increasingly being given responsibility to make workforces more efficient through data-driven decisions, less than half of the CIOs polled said they frequently or often collaborate with marketing (43%) and sales (3%). In comparison, 79% of CIOs frequently collaborate with finance.

Yet the CIOs polled in the study rated providing a better service to customers (80%) and a more responsive service to lines of business (74%) as more important than controlling costs when choosing a managed service provider. Clearly there’s a desire to fuel collaboration between different business functions.

This will become more important because all business functions must increasingly explain the necessity of purchases in terms of benefit to the bottom line and the end-user. If the CIO collaborates with sales and marketing, they will inevitably become more familiar with the overall business strategy and position and can then incorporate this viewpoint when championing IT throughout the company.

This need is not limited to the IT function. As HR departments increasingly invest in software – and businesses place value on the interoperability of all their data – HR directors will have to consider IT systems in other parts of the business and how their purchase will fall into the organisation’s overall IT infrastructure.

There are other new relationships brewing too – as the culture of a business continues to play a prominent part in PR/reputation management efforts, the HR and PR functions will need to work together to both a) create a happy workforce and b) make sure customers know they are buying from an ethical company.

It will also increasingly fall to HR to guide the relationship between business divisions and ensure that collaboration is orchestrated as efficiently as possible. The core business divisions have very different remits and priorities; making sure all voices are heard but still focus on the business as a whole will be a big challenge for HR.

Julie O’Hara, VP of Services and Solutions at Colt, commented on the importance of IT’s place in driving business transformation: “Within the marketplace, we see the CIO who understands how lines of business operate and interact with each other, as well as the strategic objectives of their customers and suppliers, emerging as a driver of business transformation and changing the IT department into a service provider to the enterprise. This enables the whole organisation to deliver superior customer experience and improved brand differentiation.” 

Gartner analyst Jennifer Beck previously outlined the importance of fostering the relationship between the CMO and CIO. It’s easy to figure out why these two not only dress differently but appear to be from different planets but pitting them against each other just isn’t helpful, she said. 

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