A short week, but plenty of back-and-forth over what’s arguably been the most challenging topic so far in Blogging Idol 2012: Customer-centricity.
Don Sheppard took the approach of defining customer-centricity in terms of customer satisfaction. But …
“For the IT organization within an enterprise, who is the provider and who is the customer? This is tied into the supply chains for the IT function. Typically, the IT customer is considered to be the person or unit that has responsibility for business operations and who represents (understands?) the external customer,” Sheppard wrote.
He linked customer satisfaction closely to IT service management: “Doing a good job with ITSM should naturally lead to more satisfied customers.”
Bruce Stewart, meanwhile, felt that the IT department’s reputation of being distant and aloof wasn’t entirely a myth.
“IT’s great advantage as as organization is that it slices horizontally across the enterprise, touching every part of it. Not only is every other part of the organization a client to be served, there’s often an advantage to be had by linking across those different domains,” he wrote. “IT’s great weakness, in turn, is often that it is seen as remote and unresponsive, popping in occasionally and promising much, but failing to deliver in a timely manner.”
He points out that all departments have staff that aren’t good at customer interactions. IT just attracts a higher proportion of introverts and institutional thinkers.
“Customer-centricity should, therefore, be a manager’s challenge: how do I work with each person’s strengths to make the department as a whole customer-centric, welcomed, credible,” he wrote.
While the former two waxed philosophical, Chris Lau bluntly named names (Hello, Dell).
“Dell reported earnings last night that saw profits drop by 33% in the first quarter. Its customer group dropped 12%,” he wrote. “The company pointed to its transition strategy in being an ‘end-to-end IT provider’ as a reason for weakness. Anyone with a mild dose of skepticism would know that Dell’s problem grew because its strategy away from customer-centricity bloomed to the problems it has today.”
Lau fingered Dell specifically for cheap components, unappealing design and ignoring its fan sites, where it could have learned how to satisfy customers.
Next up for debate: Cloud Computing. How does an enterprise determine how to use the cloud effectively? What’s driving cloud adoption? Is it here to stay, or will it be replaced by another computing model? I’m looking forward to this one.