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​Your top 5 priorities this year, according to Forrester

​Your top 5 priorities this year, according to Forrester

5 things you can do to drive and sustain a 'customer-obsessed' operating model

Forrester's Tim Sheedy: Many CIOs are ‘passengers’ who are farming out transformation activities to CDOs or ‘mode 2’ tech leaders

Forrester's Tim Sheedy: Many CIOs are ‘passengers’ who are farming out transformation activities to CDOs or ‘mode 2’ tech leaders

Many CIOs have not embraced the shift to digital business with the traditional tech-focused role now under threat from chief data officers (CDOs) or CTOs with digital and customer experience expertise.

This is the view of Forrester Research’s Tim Sheedy who published a report last week listing the top 5 priorities CIOs need to embrace in 2017. He said many CIOs are ‘passengers’ who are farming out transformation activities to CDOs or ‘mode 2’ tech leaders. These CIOs are merely managing traditional IT, an area with shrinking business relevance and budget that is being pushed to the cloud and commodity platforms.

To drive and sustain a ‘customer-obsessed operating model, Sheedy suggested CIOs do the following 5 things:

Understand your current digital maturity to formulate a clear strategy

Too many c-level execs are jumping into their digital journey without a clear plan or realistic understanding of their current capabilities, said Sheedy.

“Your digital transformation will affect culture, organisation, metrics, and technology. Understand your current maturity and develop a custom capability map to drive the needed changes – which may not be the low-hanging fruit that many CIOs look to start with,” he said.

“Target the wrong metrics and you’ll fail to secure employee support; implement the wrong organisational structure and you’ll lack the ability to execute. As CIO, you need to lead these changes with your own tech management team and drive the changes in technology itself,” he said.

Create or help drive your company’s digital business strategy

The best digital strategies focus on creating customer value through technology but most begin with a standalone digital initiative driven by technology-led projects.

“One state government department we interviewed is in the process of creating a digital strategy but is stuck between creating something strategic that defines how the business wants to serve customers in 2020 and a laundry list of technology projects,” Sheedy said.

“These projects – including ‘refresh the website’, invest in more private cloud’, and ‘implement a better collaboration platform’ – would have happened with or without a digital strategy. Successful CIOs must develop a strategy, not a roadmap"

Become the driving force behind digital operational excellence

Several Australian organisations, particularly retail banks, are good at driving digital customer experiences (DCX) with innovations like cardless payments, credit card locking, mobile account apps, and high scoring mobile apps, said Sheedy.

“This strategy makes sense if customers are crying out for mobile banking and other mobile or digital services but delivering great DCX also often highlights just how ‘non-digital’ the rest of your business is.”

Sheedy said CIOs need to help the business drive what he refers to as digital operational excellence (DOX) to create a good customer experience.

“The hard yards of digital will be changing the business to a digitally native one. Use your DOX end state to inform that tactics that you and other business leaders use to change the people, organisation, metrics, and technology to support your digital customer vision and initiatives. Use customer and employee journey maps to help prioritise initiatives and use metrics to drive the change at the level of individual staff,” Sheedy said.

Become actively involved with customer and employee journey mapping

Businesses are using ‘customer journey mapping’ (CJM) to enable an ‘outside-in’ view of their businesses. ASB Bank in New Zealand used this method to understand customer need for its credit-card locking capability.

This effectively transformed an internal IT process into a service to reduce customer pain and delivered added value, said Sheedy.

“IAG uses CJM and personas to improve the experience of customers during the insurance claims process – typically a highly stressful time for customers,” he said.

Change your team’s metrics to reflect the business you want to be

Unless CIOs change their team’s metrics, many digital initiatives will fall flat, said Sheedy.

“Too often, CIOs in Australian businesses tell Forrester that they cannot be measured on factors they do not control – so they continue to rely on traditional metrics, such as projects delivered on time and within budget,” he said.

A college in Australia measures its CIO on the percentage of student touchpoints that are digitally-enabled, Sheedy said.

“The problem with this measurement is that you can deliver poor solutions that are not adopted and still hit your targets. It’s possible that students actually use a few of the digital touchpoints – but that’s not the responsibility of the CIO.

“In contrast, the CIO of mobile at Westpac is joined at the hip with the head of mobile CX; they share metrics on the success of the digital banking app. The CIO takes responsibility for these key performance indicators by making sure the right people are driving the right outcomes at all stages of the creation and delivery of each new iteration,” he said.

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