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Targeting the Customer Experience Through IT Change Management

If the Digital Age is the age of the customer, then why do IT implementations still fall short of customer expectations? Perhaps it is because they overlook the customer! According to an article by Pearl Zhu in her blog Future of CIO, the switch from failed to successful IT change implementation begins with a switch in perspective.

Technicalities and “Techies”

Technicalities are not synonymous with technology. “Are the technical requirements in order?” and “Is the business prepared?” are valid questions that need to be asked. But “Is this what the customer wants?” is not something to tack onto the end of the process like shingles on a roof. If anything, customer experience ought to be the foundation of any IT implementation. It seems like such an obvious point, but is your operation in the right frame of mind?

Communication Channels

Customer experience begins at the design phase and, to an even greater extent, with those in positions of leadership. Sponsoring change is an important activity that leaders should recognize by maintaining open communication channels with stakeholders. The same channels can be utilized for training where necessary. And yet, as Zhu notes, the communication between management and stakeholders needs to be more than a formality.

Two Ends of Change Implementation

There needs to be a clear vision set forth at the management level that permeates the organization. In a sense, change management happens at the two opposite ends of implementation. In implementation design, the change is prepared according to customer requirements. In sound management practice, the business culture is prepared for the change. Working from both “ends” of change management, it is possible to achieve positive outcomes for customer experience.

Design is the Best Practice

Additionally, milestones and business cases must be used to justify the change from the perspective of both money and time. A quote by Zhu best sums up the solution to improper IT change implementation:

IT is business, and the very purpose of businesses is to create customers. Hence, IT change management effort and project implementation are not just pure technical challenges… keep the end in mind and delight customers…design is the one of the best practices…to improve IT performance, agility and organizational maturity.

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About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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