Charles Kaplan, Deputy Chief Technology Officer at Riverbed Technology, explained why today’s IT professionals must prioritize the end user experience during his presentation to Argyle’s CIO membership at the 2018 Chief Information Officer Leadership Forum in New York on June 19. In the past, IT professionals often prioritized technology. This approach led many IT professionals to use machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI) and other state-of-the-art tools to help their businesses achieve their goals.
The consumerization of technology, however, has changed the way that IT professionals must approach their everyday activities. Consumers now enjoy anywhere, anytime access to a wide range of technologies, and as such, require IT support to get the most out of these technologies. Thus, IT professionals must find ways to tailor their day-to-day approach to satisfy consumers’ requests. If IT professionals fail to do so, they may cause a business to fall behind its rivals.
How IT professionals approach the user experience is vital. If IT professionals understand what consumers want from a business, they can tailor their everyday efforts accordingly. As a result, these IT professionals can identify ways to provide consumers with user-centric products, services and support. “The role of the end user in IT right now is the fundamental thing that’s changing,” Kaplan said. “Users – through the consumerization of IT – have raised their expectations of what they are going to demand [from IT].”
IT professionals do not necessarily need best-in-class technologies to improve the user experience, either. If IT professionals learn about consumers, they can find out what can be done to upgrade the user experience. Then, IT professionals can dedicate time and resources to provide user experiences that satisfy consumers’ requests.
Over time, IT professionals will need to keep pace with consumers’ rapidly evolving expectations, too. If IT professionals maintain constant communication with consumers, they can update the user experience as needed. That way, these IT professionals can ensure a business is well-equipped to provide its customers with exceptional user experiences at all times.
“The only thing that matters to users is the experience that they get,” Kaplan stated. “I don’t really care how the application stack looks, as long as I can get my end user experience.”
As the user experience evolves, IT professionals must pay close attention to potential problems. Even a single IT issue may cause a business to suffer significant revenue losses and brand reputation damage. Fortunately, IT professionals who monitor consumer data can quickly identify and resolve issues before they get out of hand.
Of course, collaboration is a key tenet of successful IT operations as well. If IT professionals can work together and collaborate with departments across a business, they can help a company thrive both now and in the future. Best of all, IT professionals can work with various business departments to analyze problems and brainstorm ways to help a company stay ahead of its rivals.
“We’re probably not even aware of many [IT] problems … and we need a new conceptual way to think about what we’re monitoring,” Kaplan noted. “Because monitoring IT components in a silo does not work.”
Although data is available to IT professionals, not all data can help a company drive meaningful improvements. Therefore, IT professionals must develop processes to differentiate relevant data from all other information. With these processes in place, IT professionals can quickly transform pertinent data into actionable business insights.
“Bad data in is probably bad data out,” Kaplan said. “But the converse is not true, and good data in does not guarantee good data out.”
Lastly, IT professionals must continue to work with consumers and analyze all aspects of the user experience. If IT professionals monitor consumer data and request customer feedback, they may be better equipped than ever before to provide outstanding user experiences – without exception.
“Users sometimes simply make the wrong decisions, and we have to factor that in,” Kaplan indicated. “But, if we are monitoring everything … we can determine if something is working as a logical unit and develop a baseline for improvement.”