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Posted by Doug Washburn on September 29, 2011
Yes, but you must adapt by demonstrating your ability to drive business growth and differentiation, not just cost savings and uptime. Here’s a personal example of a much broader trend as to why this is so important to your business and your role as an I&O professional:
It’s a cool Autumn day, which reminds me I need a new jacket. I walk into Patagonia. I evaluate several models and then buy one – but not from Patagonia. It turns out a competitor located two miles away is offering the jacket at a discount. How did I know this? I scanned the product's bar code using the RedLaser app on my iPhone, which displayed several local retailers with lower prices. If I had been willing to wait three days for shipping, I could have purchased that same jacket while standing in Patagonia from an online retailer with an even better deal. [Truth be told: I actually bought the jacket from Patagonia's store after validating no better deals existed… but The Home Depot wasn’t so lucky this summer when I bought the same, but cheaper air conditioner from Amazon while standing in aisle 4.]
This is a prime example of what Forrester calls the “The Age Of The Customer” where empowered buyers have information at their fingertips to check a price, read a product review, or ask for advice from a friend right from the screen of their smartphone. This type of technology-led disruption is eroding traditional competitive barriers across all industries; manufacturing strength, distribution power, and information mastery can't save you.
At the same time, these same technologies are eroding the traditional IT procurement, provisioning, and support functions within your organization: It is easier than ever for empowered employees and App Developers to circumvent I&O. They can, are already, or plan to take advantage of new desktop, mobile, and tablet devices as well as cloud-based software and infrastructure that you don't support. Why? To get their jobs done better, faster, and cheaper.
To succeed in this new era, your business and your I&O must become customer-obsessed — or to focus your strategic decisions first and foremost on customer knowledge and retention. Here’s how I&O professionals can get started:
If you’re an IT Infrastructure & Operations professional wanting to adapt and thrive in “The Age Of The Customer”, I encourage you to join us at the upcoming Forrester Infrastructure & Operations Forum, "Build The Extended Enterprise: Differentiate With Customer-Centric I&O" on November 9-10 in Miami, Florida.
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