The role of a CIO in a dig­i­tal world

In this new world of con­ver­gence, IT func­tion can play a much big­ger role than what the tra­di­tional IT func­tion has typ­i­cally played

InformationWeek - - Edit -

Last year, re­search firm Gart­ner, pre­dicted that by 2017, the CMO will spend more on IT than the CIO. Gart­ner’s as­sump­tion was made by the fact that as more and more con­sumers adopt new dig­i­tal chan­nels, the role of mar­ket­ing in in­flu­enc­ing IT spend will only ac­cel­er­ate.

In this new world, which is heav­ily in­flu­enced by what Gart­ner, calls the nexus of forces (the con­ver­gence of so­cial, cloud, mo­bile and in­for­ma­tion), mar­keters have a huge op­por­tu­nity to un­lock hid­den in­sights by en­gag­ing with cus­tomers us­ing cus­tom­ized and con­tex­tu­ally rel­e­vant con­ver­sa­tions and of­fers. To­day, en­ter­prises do not look at so­cial me­dia as just a medium for ed­u­cat­ing cus­tomers about their prod­ucts or so­lu­tions. Most smart or­ga­ni­za­tions are now us­ing so­cial me­dia to not only ad­dress cus­tomer con­cerns quickly, but to also co- cre­ate prod­ucts with their cus­tomers.

One of In­dia’s most so­cially savvy or­ga­ni­za­tions, Café Cof­fee Day, uses so­cial me­dia to ask its cus­tomers what they would like to be served or the ex­act fla­vor of choco­late that they pre­fer. It uses th­ese in­sights drawn from its huge base of cus­tomers on so­cial me­dia to co- cre­ate prod­ucts.

Un­der­stand­ing the huge reach of so­cial me­dia plat­forms, ICICI Bank, one of In­dia’s largest pri­vate sec­tor banks, al­lows cus­tomers to ac­cess their bank ac­counts through Face­book. The bank has also set up fully elec­tronic branches that en­able cus­tomers to un­der­take real- time trans­ac­tions.

Sim­i­larly, In­di­aFirst Life In­sur­ance is equip­ping its agents with tablets, en­abling them to is­sue poli­cies to cus­tomers within min­utes. For dis­cern­ing an­a­lysts who ques­tion the ROI of so­cial me­dia, the ex­am­ple of Shop­pers Stop gen­er­at­ing in­cre­men­tal sales di­rectly at­trib­ut­able to so­cial me­dia is a real eye opener.

As th­ese ex­am­ples show, the IT func­tion can play a much big­ger role than what the tra­di­tional IT func­tion has typ­i­cally played. This is an ex­cit­ing time for CIOs as there are far more op­por­tu­ni­ties than chal­lenges. With their im­mense un­der­stand­ing of tech­nolo­gies, CIOs can act as a bridge be­tween IT and busi­ness, and show how tech­nol­ogy can be used to am­plify busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties for their re­spec­tive firms.

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