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Re-imagining IT as an experience, rather than an expenditure

by Mark P. McDonald  |  October 5, 2011  |  1 Comment

Experience is the new goal for products and services.  Experience replaces traditional goals related to feature and functionality.  Factors that can readily be copied.  In their place, experience seeks to create a broader set of value that cannot be readily substituted and gets better through repeated use.


Well, in a world of global supply, information flows and rapid competition, competition  based on features and functions is no longer sufficient.  Many organizations in the public and commercial sector have sought to create experience in their offerings, its about time IT used the principles of experience as well.

Just about every successful company centers around an experience, either directly in the case of Apple its the hardware to apps to media experience or indirectly in terms of the values buyers experience using eco friendly products or associating themselves with a powerful brand.

Experience based offerings concentrate on delivering value across as many dimensions as possible. There are four dimensions of value.  I learned them in the form of the KANO model.  These sources of value are:

  • Solving a problem
  • Enabling an opportunity
  • Making someone feel good about themselves
  • Making someone look good to themselves or in eyes of others

Essentially, these four dimensions point out that value comes not only from what you do but also from the way you do it and the way others experience that process.   While organizations spend most of their time chasing the first source of value — solving problems leaving the other sources of value either untapped or worse ignored creating situations where value the value created across one dimension is obliterated in another.  Nowhere is that situation more prevalent than in IT.

It is  time to re-imagine IT and move it from being an organizational function toward being an experience.

Building an experience requires leading and managing the organization from different perspectives that include:

  • Personal interaction that defines the way in which people engage the experience based on their needs and expectations for the ‘methods’ by which to address those needs.
  • Repeat interaction that builds individual and organizational capability through learning, repetition, extension and improvement.
  • Contextual delivery that demonstrates that you not only know who they are and their needs, but also the situation in which those needs arise.  This includes the point, place, time and environment in which your customer expects value.
  • Value in the conversation as well as product or service.  The customer gains value just by talking and working with you beyond achieving their specific need.  At the most basic level the experience should help make people look and feel good about themselves and among their interactions with others.

Incorporating these factors into the way you lead IT and IT works requires more than encouraging people to ‘be more customer friendly’.  It requires changing the way IT sets expectations, manages to those expectations and works with everyone to create an experience rather than expend resources.

More to come on this.  But to start, please share the experience you think your IT organization delivers and what it needs to delver in the future to be successful.

Category: it-governance  leadership  re-imagine-it  

Tags: cio-leadership  cio-strategy  it-strategy  re-imagine-it  

Mark P. McDonald
8 years at Gartner
24 years IT industry

Mark McDonald, Ph.D., is a former group vice president and head of research in Gartner Executive Programs. He is the co-author of The Social Organization with Anthony Bradley. Read Full Bio

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