Q: What’s the real pay-off from Information Technology?
A: Making a positive difference to the customers.
The businesses (and their consultants) who maintain a precise focus on the customer value delivered by IT will thrive. Those who don’t, won’t.
There is no end to the alternatives a technology buffet provides for business. A discerning company will buy the things that make their customers happier. So, information technology investments must pass very simple tests:
- Does it matter to the customer?
- Will it improve their life?
- Will it save them money?
- Will it make them money?
- Will it make them look like a hero?
If you can train your company to competently analyze and then produce solutions relevant to your customers, then you will have achieved something truly marketable.
Once you begin thinking that way great things can happen. Here are two examples:
One client, in the interest of his clients, distilled their huge volume of customer information to three simple characteristics based on three customer transaction attributes knows as RFM (“recency”, frequency, monetary) to depict when they last transacted, how often they transacted over time increments and how much they purchased. It’s a concept that has worked wonders for their business model. Teaching managers and sales staff to monitor a simple set of customer data drives performance.
Another client found that tens of thousands of dollars could be saved every year by eschewing custom data warehouse reports and licenses in favor of Excel’s built-in data analysis tools for internal analysis and KPIs. Using simple OBDC queries with Excel provided excellent information, and at the same time, saved a ton of money that could now be spent on things important to the customer.
What matters about IT is what you do with it. You should pay attention to how well you perform in the IT arena, because your customers are watching.