In April 2020, only two months into the pandemic, Microsoft reported they were experiencing more than 200 million Microsoft Teams meeting participants in a single day and more than 75 million daily active users. Speaking to these sudden surges in remote collaboration, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said: “We’ve seen more than two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months.”
The past few years have witnessed an accelerated adoption of digital technologies as enterprises in nearly every sector looked for ways to keep their business running. The pandemic as such, acted as a catalyst for businesses to realise that being digital-first, is the most assured way to build sustainable business models.
CIOs are evolving into strategic value creators for businesses
Today’s CIOs are evolving to become key partners for technology companies and this has drastically changed their role and responsibilities.
Although CIOs are still responsible for managing and implementing information technology systems and overseeing technology teams, there’s a greater focus on being strategic business partners. As a result, they’re now expected to work alongside C-suite executives to drive business change and innovation.
In addition, they are seen as collaborators and co-creators responsible for leveraging technology to support the business and other members of staff.
“The varied nature of the role means that CIOs must know the value they bring, be confident in their skills and aware of any room for improvement, as well as where they can rely on internal and external expertise.”
Over the years, I’ve seen the evolution of CIOs unfold through our deep relationships with thousands of global enterprises across varied industry sectors. As a strategic partner to our customers, we have also been on a transformation journey to become experienced partners in their journey to building digital-first businesses.
From experience, here are five key areas I believe technology providers need to improve on to remain relevant in our fast-changing world.
1. Learn, listen, anticipate – Intimately understand customers’ business needs
The first step in becoming more relevant to your customers is to put yourself in their shoes and understand their needs. This requires a deep understanding of their business objectives, pain points, and challenges.
“By understanding their needs, tech providers can tailor their technology solutions to meet the customer’s specific requirements – not only the current ones but even the ones that might arise in the future, therefore unlocking value in the process.”
This ability to deeply understand their current needs and anticipate future ones is key to becoming a relevant partner for the customer.
All businesses are at different stages of maturity and as such, have their own unique digital transformation journeys.
Hence, their technology transformation roadmap should be personalised to their specific needs. In this regard, it’s important that technology providers realise that technology is the means to solving specific business problems their customer have and not an end in itself.
As the world changes rapidly, businesses are struggling to keep pace and respond to this challenging environment to stay relevant to their end customers. Technology partners need to be proactive and become the additional pair of eyes and ears for their customers, spotting trends, highlight best practises and provide the right-fit solutions.
“A customer will benefit greatly from an experienced technology company that has the ability to use their expertise gained from working with thousands of customers across segments and geographies to better anticipate rapid changes.”
By developing a proactive plan to manage these changes, they can even be leveraged as potential opportunities in the right hands.
4. Innovation engine
As the technology landscape continues to evolve, it is important for technology providers to stay up-to-date with emerging technologies and trends that help their customers realise the benefits of technology advancements.
By embracing new technologies, a technology provider can offer innovative solutions to their customers and stay ahead of competitors. This also demonstrates their commitment to innovation and their ability to adapt to changing market conditions.
Finally, it’s important for technology providers to be aware of their capabilities and limitations.
To be successful in this fast-changing landscape, working together in partnerships where partners bring diverse skills and capabilities together in a complementary way to build solutions for future is important.
Co-creation with customers is a great way to build mutual trust and create long term value for both organisations.
To summarise, relevancy is the cornerstone powering the quality and health of the relationship between the technology provider and their customers. And a customer who is able to deliver superior customer experience through their own digital transformation, is already on their way to win the battle for their customer’s share of the wallet.
To learn more about how organisations can meet the expectations of today’s customer, click here.