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Closing the CX & IT Gap: Creative Thinking Required

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Illustration of two workers reaching across a divide
Image: Hurca! - stock.adobe.com
The global pandemic crisis has provided a glimpse into a new market reality. The future of this new reality belongs to enterprises that can deliver intelligent, contextual, frictionless, and real-time data-driven human experiences. However, investments in technology that elevate CX are often still made in a vacuum due in part to IT and customer-facing employees operating in separate capacities. Enterprises can break down silos and work toward enabling a connected customer experience with cross-functional leadership and connected operations.
 
Consequently, resolution toward tightening the gap between IT and CX will happen from establishing new approaches to departmental structures, business models, and existing processes. Here are three to consider:
 
1. Find new ways to collaborate — A great digital-first customer experience results from collaboration between employees in charge of
network and technology methods and deployment and those who work in the applications daily. This ensures the ability to achieve maximum return on investment (ROI).
 
This level of collaboration relies on leaders who can ensure alignment by crossing the digital aisle and holding regularly cadenced cross-functional discovery meetings. In this model, stakeholders representing a cross-section of the organization can agree on objectives and needs of anticipated deployments. Also, partnering IT personnel with customer service representatives means quick access for queries. Additionally, bringing customer service representatives to larger planning meetings will allow executives to hear their voices and drill down into their insights.
 
IT should also build enterprise use cases and gather examples of how investments impact employees’ processes and customer journeys cross-functionally, as well as enterprise-wide. The ability to conduct ROI visualizations, share success stories, and depict how specific deployments can benefit additional business units will enable continuous rollouts in the long term.
 
2. Organize the enterprise around the customer — Putting the customer at the heart of an enterprise is an entry-level requirement to having a successful business in 2021 and beyond. This business model will also further help to bridge IT and CX. To succeed, enterprises must be aligned strategically and functionally around the customer.
 
First, identify areas of the enterprise that are affected, and design or reengineer related processes, blend teams, and combine tools. Get IT involved in developing programs with CX leaders and work together to train customer-facing employees for digital literacy and engage them around a digital transformation vision. This will empower them to become partners in a cohesive enterprise transformation effort.
 
Finally, entire organizations need to align their priorities — and processes — by connecting them to a customer journey map. This shifts the collective thinking from internal efficiency to external, customer-driven effectiveness.
 
3. Assign leaders CX ownership — Getting the C-suite to own CX transformation is critical. One way of ensuring ownership at the top is to make the company’s executive committee members accountable for delivering outcomes and value throughout the journey of CX technology transformation. For example, ask executives to sponsor technology use cases and explain the solution’s benefits to the teams and why structural changes are necessary.
 
Establishing the role of the chief experience officer (CXO) is also critical for becoming digital-first and customer-first, especially as more investment decisions are being made collaboratively across business units. CXOs serve as advocates for innovation and change toward the advancement of customer-focused strategies. Therefore, they can take ownership, generate enthusiasm for new technology usage, and communicate the benefits to other C-level leaders across functional areas.
 
For more of my insight, read my research at www.omdia.com, and join me at Enterprise Connect, Sept. 27-29, in Orlando, Fla., for my session on customer journey orchestration. (Use the promo code NJAL200 to receive $200 off your registration.)

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