Gartner Blog Network

How the CIO can have IT in top gear but get nowhere with the customer experience.

by Michael Maoz  |  December 4, 2012  |  2 Comments

Pete Seeger, an American songwriter, wrote a number called, “Waist Deep in the Big Muddy” in 1967 that discussed following leaders without question, even when they lead you into peril. Observing how many fine businesses and governments are prioritizing their IT initiatives for 2013, it is hard not to have Big Muddy playing in the background. Forward BIG DATA. Forward MOBILE. It’s less Rebel without a Cause and more a case of Cause without a Rebel. Rebel without a Cause was a 1950’s American film about inter-generational conflict, with teenagers questioning adult authority. Where are those rebels in the business, questioning the wisdom of high-profile IT projects, demanding the business value to be derived from the initiative, to ask why is Project A of #1 priority versus another project.

Socrates, wrote Plato in the Apology, said that you could always kill off the gadfly – that person who was so irritating – yes, they could be silenced. Don’t listen to the questioning of ‘why’ and ‘to what end’ or ‘why now’ or ‘why this and not this?’ But the strategic cost of uprooting or silencing the dissenter or annoying challenger to conventional wisdom will be too high in the long term.

Why mention this now, as IT plans for 2013 are about to launch? Because ‘now’ is always the time to ask this question. We are taking a huge volume of calls around the customer experience from leaders in marketing, sales and customer support. New persona or roles such as the chief customer officer or chief customer experience officer are contending with established roles such as the heads of Information Analytics and Business Analytics and Chief Data Scientist. Is it the speed of decision taking, or the quality of the information gathered, or the elegance of the customer process, or a combination? Who knows? Who is responsible to know and communicate and decide these issues?

Where are your Rebels in the cause of the customer?

Category: analytics-for-social-crm  applications  cio  crm  innovation-and-customer-experience  it-governance  leadership  social-crm  social-networking  strategic-planning  

Michael Maoz
VP Distinguished Analyst
13 years at Gartner
26 years IT industry

Michael Maoz is a research vice president and distinguished analyst in Gartner Research. His research focuses on CRM and customer-centric Web strategies. Mr. Maoz is the research leader for both the customer service and support strategies area and customer-centric Web… Read Full Bio

Thoughts on How the CIO can have IT in top gear but get nowhere with the customer experience.

  1. Oliver says:

    Hi Michael,

    Nice article – I couldn’t agree more.

    I think a major issue is that IT seems to have its own objectives.

    1) Lets make XXX faster,
    2) Lets make YYY more scaleable,
    3) Lets integrate ZZZ etc…

    Sometimes these are valid, but they’re only valid when they’re aligned to specific BUSINESS outcomes.

    Start by creating maps of exactly WHAT the business is trying to achieve, WHY it is doing is and HOW it is approaching the problem.

    Once you have this overarching structure – DON’T try and fit your 1/2/3 objectives into it – try and work to truly support and enable the business. Remember that complexity just breeds confusion and failure.

    Could I recommend you take a sneak peek at – it is where all major IT projects need to start. A clear understanding between business and IT.

    I like the article Michael – thanks for the insightful read.

  2. […] on Share this:Google +1LinkedInTwitterPinterestFacebookStumbleUponEmailTumblrMoreDiggRedditPrintLike […]

Comments are closed

Comments or opinions expressed on this blog are those of the individual contributors only, and do not necessarily represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management. Readers may copy and redistribute blog postings on other blogs, or otherwise for private, non-commercial or journalistic purposes, with attribution to Gartner. This content may not be used for any other purposes in any other formats or media. The content on this blog is provided on an "as-is" basis. Gartner shall not be liable for any damages whatsoever arising out of the content or use of this blog.