2015 will be the year CIOs will be more customer-centric

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CIOs would be able to work with big data better.

Traditionally, CIOs are more concerned about a company’s IT investments: how these work, how these should work, and how to make them better. But because times are changing, CIOs are going to take on a more active role in serving the customer.

Starting 2015, more and more CIOs will be taking a more active role in helping a company respond faster, better and more efficiently to customers. CIOs will be working more closely with chief marketing officers to figure out how the company could reach more customers better. And CIOs will be coming up with technology processes, such as quicker and more agile software development, that will enable a company to better respond to the needs of its customer.

Instead of just looking at the back office IT investments, CIOs will be more involved in strategy and in enabling technology that makes way for customer relationships. Forrester chief research officer Cliff Condon thinks that this is the only way the CIOs stay relevant in the organization.

We are seeing this in various companies. For example Larry Volz, CIO at Ptratt & Whitney, is in charge of analyzing data that companies get from the sensors they put in their products. This allows the jet engine manufacturer to create better service contracts for their customers’ parts and labor needs. Meanwhile, American Express has created a technology hub that will enable them to come up with analytics, mobile and other related tools that work to pinpoint new customers and retain the current ones. The American Express project is spearheaded by CIO Marc Gordon and CEO Kenneth Chenault.

Forrester says that this is made possible by different methodologies that are now available to CIOs, including hybrid clouds and agile software development. Because of agile development, the time to market of new software nowadays is drastically shorter. No more waiting anywhere from 18 to 24 months for a working software. Instead, you get a working software that has been written and tested in a matter of days, with frequent patches, updates and improvements rolling out in the next few days or weeks.

The hybrid cloud, on the other hand, allows companies to use the public cloud hosted by their service providers but the business applications that they are using are their own. This help CIOs free up their time to build customer-focused application, because non-critical business applications are offloaded to the cloud. This is what General Electric did when it closed down a significant portion of its data centers and moved to the public cloud, keeping only sensitive customer data in-house.

The CIOs would also be able to work with big data better. They can collate all the data they have collected in-house as well as those provided by external sources such as mobile phones, social media and sensors. The CIOs will not only be able to retain the current customers by providing them with customized offerings, but they will also be able to pinpoint a new revenue stream for the company.

So is it any wonder why businesses are spending more on business technology? According to Forrester, enterprises are going to spend at least 10 percent more every year starting in 2015.

If you want to get a lead on agile software development, the hybrid cloud, and big data, be sure to contact Four Cornerstone. We can help you equip your business with the right technologies to take advantage of all of these technologies and keep your business competitive.

Photo by Media Evolution.

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