Transition to a digital economy and the pervasiveness of IT in a firm’s operations together has brought the IT function in corporations to the threshold of a needed transformation: from an orientation that prizes technical excellence to one that achieves continuous innovation by finding new opportunities to provide value to customers.
The author believes that companies need to adopt customer-focused IT, this requires a shift in organizational culture, from considering technical excellence as an end in itself, to respecting customers as the centrally important stakeholder of an organization.
In many companies, rethinking the IT function to focus it on providing value to the customer presents an opportunity to empower frontline employees, to make innovations in the company value chain and to maintain and to enhance competitive advantage.
Changing to a customer focus requires dedicated continuous innovation to enlist the full resources of the IT function – architecture, algorithms, big data and connectivity – to satisfy customer needs, solve customer problems and produce new customer value.
The author argues convincingly that IT organizations will become focused on delivering value that matches evolving customer needs if, and only if, CIOs insist upon concentrating the resources of the organization on this goal Indeed, CIOs should consider themselves chief marketing officers, focusing on the customer and promoting the customer-focus competencies of their organizations.
The author would like to thank Jacob Miller, a PhD student in the Management Department, LeBow College of Business, for his comments on drafts of the manuscript.
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