If you’re a CIO, or if you happen to be around them frequently, you may be familiar with their near-fanatical obsession with ROI (return on investment) when it comes to IT (Information Technology) departments. Thanks to CRM software and cloud computing, IT may soon be less about maximizing a company’s efficiency and more about plotting and predicting customer behavior.
This is due to the rise of “pattern-based strategies,” a sales tracking technique made possible through the freedoms granted through modern CRM software. This software can provide you with a wealth of customer data that, when analyzed, can tell you what current and future customers will want before they know they want it. This process can even be internal; you can analyze data from customer support call centers to identify trends and remedy them before they become real support nightmares. You can even use this to analyze customer behavior on your website to track where they came from, how long they spent on your site, and where they moved on to.
So where does IT factor in to all of this? Well, you’re not going to gather, collect, and correlate all this data for free. This is the role of tomorrow’s IT. They’re no longer the folks that make sure everyone remembers their password (though they’ll almost certainly do that for years to come); they’ll be responsible for integrating and maintaining the data systems that can provide you such valuable information. That revelation leads us back to the idea that IT should no longer be only about ROI. CIOs certainly do a fair bit of hand-wringing when they see the hardware bill from the IT department, and invariably they must justify the purchase in terms of productivity – return on investment. That sort of thinking will have to change. CIOs should primarily think of IT as delivering services and creating value.
Ok so now we’re ten years into the future, and CIOs the world over are convinced that IT is no longer about ROI. That’s great, but how do they take that to task with CFOs that share their zeal but only for stock prices? As bitter a message as this is to deliver, and as weird as this to say about IT, CFOs need to understand that the new IT will need to take some risks. Acceptable risks, but risks nonetheless. The key here will be to articulate these new data gathering initiatives as investments inexorably linked to the company’s performance metrics. CIOs should know these metrics, ranging from customer retention, capture of new business, increasing cross-selling and up-selling products and services, and retention of existing customers. At this point, you’re no longer throwing a bunch of money at the department that goes around making sure everyone has surge protectors, but ensuring the continued productivity of the company.
By CRM Software Blog Editors, Find a local Microsoft Dynamics CRM expert