So how do your customers feel when they experience using your digital services?

It’s a good question the answer to which determines the winners and losers in the Digital jungle. Get it right and traffic flows, word spreads, transaction volumes increase, the business grows…quickly, very quickly…

Get it wrong….

Capgemini’s research shows that successful Digital services are dependent upon three key pillars – customer experience, operational excellence and business model transformation[1]. Whilst each of these areas of activity involves more than IT services, all are highly dependent on them. Craig Borowski commented in his HBR article[2] “If a company delivers inconsistent Digital experiences customers quickly move elsewhere”, and goes on “This consistency for the user requires consistent internal IT processes. Surprisingly, for many companies, consistency seem to be an afterthought”.

So why is this the case given the importance of customer experience and Digital services for organisations today?

I believe the primary reason is that many CIO’s are struggling to cope with the operational consequences of multiple and separately procured IT services which, whilst ostensibly reducing unit cost, have greatly increased operational complexity. Add to this the fact the majority of services are becoming cloud based[3], and the challenges are multiplying.  This complexity means the CIO is massively focused on the management of day to day operations and so unable to devote the necessary time, resources or attention to supporting the organisations customer experience aspirations.

Is there a solution? The simple answer is yes, but it’s not straight forward….

Reducing the CIO’s operational headache requires a fundamental re-think about the way IT services are governed, managed and procured. In short a transformation in how IT works to serve the organisation.

The good news is there is a proven service delivery model that addresses these issues that can readily be adopted, Service Integration or SIAM or, in Gartner parlance, MSI.

Service Integration addresses head-on the operational dissonance, organisational misalignment and resource challenges companies face. To do this Service Integration establishes a structured new way of working which all parties with a stake in the delivery of IT services to the business agree to adhered to. Based on industry best practice the Service Integration model unambiguously defines the functional and operational accountabilities and responsibilities between the CIO, service providers and business customers.

Service Integration standardises how things are done, how performance is measured end-to-end and ensures services are integrated.  It enables control to be achieved, the automation of the routine, change speeded up, faster on-boarding of new suppliers, off-boarding retired suppliers, and unnecessary waste squeezed out of the system.

So what does this mean in practice?

For me it means:

  • customer experience initiatives are governed and managed in a comprehensive way, ensuring end-to-end operational integrity is maintained at all times
  • operational excellence projects leverage a solid platform of clearly understood and efficiently operated  integrated services
  • changes to the business model can rely on the collaborative culture at the heart of Service Integration to enable, support and accelerate the transformation of the organisations way of working

So for organisations that want to get the customer experience right I believe adopting a Service Integration approach should be high on the critical path to meeting the challenges of the Digital jungle.

[1] “The Digital Advantage: How digital leaders outperform their peers in every industry”; Capgemini Consulting in conjunction with the MIT Centre for Digital Business 2011

[2] “What a Great Digital Customer Experience Actually Looks Like”- Craig Borowski; Harvard Business Review 2015

[3] “2016 CLOUD COMPUTING TIPPING POINTSURVEY” – ServiceNow