How CIOs Can Lead the Customer Experience Transition

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Look outThe recent research by the Economist Intelligence Unit begs the question of which C-level executive is best to lead customer experience (CX) initiatives, and how confusion reigns when there are multiple owners or those who claim the role.  There is a parallel question here to the CIO and our role within the enterprise: who is best to lead organisations on their inevitable migration to the cloud?

CMOs and CIOs both have two audiences

Just like marketing has a dual purpose in serving the needs of two customers – the sales organisation and the company’s prospects/customers – the CIO also has a dual purpose. Ensuring the right technologies are in place to meet the needs of the organisation, and also to satisfy the CX needs of customers, both today and tomorrow.

As such, and with those CX needs in mind, CIOs need to have platforms that allow customers to engage across all channels of communication. That omnichannel platform includes voice, web, text, chat, email, and whatever else lies on the horizon.

Addressing the needs of both today and tomorrow represents a significant challenge for enterprises with legacy platforms and systems. Today represents older infrastructure and tomorrow represents the cloud. And, it’s difficult for many companies to either make change happen, or transition from older technology environments to the cloud.  This is true within the contact centre as well as in other industries, such as large CRM/ERP companies like Oracle or platform providers like Microsoft.  These firms are struggling in their transitioning from legacy on-premises solutions or shrink-wrapped software, to cloud-based services. But the cloud is where the puck is already moving to, and what customers both want and expect.

The challenge is the opportunity

Herein lies the challenge: how can CIOs effectively lead the transition into the cloud and support their dual customers of internal users and end user customers? This challenge becomes a great CIO opportunity with two alternative paths:

  1. Play it safe. Take it slow. Try implementing a cloud application or two in the background. See how it goes.
  2. Be bold! Embrace something significantly large in scope – move a mission critical application or solution into the cloud. This could be getting your organisation out of the data centre business and outsourcing the data centre needs to an appropriately competent and redundant data centre provider, OR taking an existing contact centre platform and moving the entire service into the cloud.

Why is option two better? Is it really bold or risky? Not today. In fact, cloud-based contact centre providers like Genesys are both proven and have evolved to fully satisfy earlier concerns raised in the marketplace. No longer do customers need to be concerned with cloud-based contact centre providers’ ability to ensure scalability, reliability, security, robust feature sets, or most importantly, a rapid ROI.

By taking a leap rather than a baby step, CIOs show (and prove) cloud migration on a large scale. They help lead the entire company out of yesterday’s legacy technology and outdated mindset into a bright future with the latest cloud services to solve the needs of their dual audiences today and into many more tomorrows. This leads to better technology for the organisation, and a better omnichannel environment with more engagement options for customers. That’s a 2X CX win.

You can learn more about the roles of C-Suite in deployed customer experiences in our global research with the Economist Research Unit, The Value of Experience: How the C-suite Values Customer Experience in the Digital Age.

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About Jeff Haslem

Jeff Haslem is the Chief Information Officer at Genesys. He is responsible for the company’s financial, CRM, HR and business intelligence systems. He leads a global team dedicated to ensuring that the company’s transformation and aggressive goals are supported by the right information technology and security. Prior to joining Genesys in 2012, Jeff served as Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Rovi Corporation. In this role, Jeff was responsible for the vision, strategy, governance, business alignment and operations for Rovi’s worldwide IT Services and Facilities. While at Rovi, Jeff oversaw the seamless integration of 10 acquisitions, and led an internal IT business partner team of 170. Jeff has also held leadership roles at Openwave, Broadvision. and Oracle. Jeff holds an MBA degree from the University of Maryland and a bachelor’s degree from Purdue University.