In 1909, Harry Gordon Selfridge, the founder of Selfridge’s department store, coined the phrase “The customer is always right,” and it has become the mantra of countless businesses since. At the time, Gordon could have been considered a customer service revolutionary in the world of modern business. Fast forward a century and there is little doubt that the customer is still king. Customer service has even been cited by some as the only true business metric for growth. Happy customers are profitable customers.
IT plays an interesting role in customer service. Most often, it’s a matter of support for systems and applications that handle customer data; however, increasing demands on the business are forcing IT to play a more proactive role in ensuring optimal customer experiences. Hence, the help application performance monitoring (APM) can provide in addressing this is essential.
Simply put, if applications perform poorly, it negatively affects the customers and ultimately the business. These demands, which can stem from growing complexities on the enterprise side, to a need for streamlined operations as a cost-saving measure, have created opportunities for technology vendors to enhance their products in ways that support the awareness enterprises have as to what it takes to keep customers happy.
But, there are other customers within the enterprise that are sometimes overlooked. One of IT’s most important customers is the CIO. The CIO has different expectations than external users. The CIO is expecting IT to help address competitive pressures, support rapid changes in demand and still provide the service levels customers require. This means IT must become more proactive and reduce the number and duration of outages before there is user impact. The CIO is also looking for ways to achieve sustainable cost reduction. For this, IT needs to help the CIO in their location strategies such as off-shoring and outsourcing. One productive way to do that is to avoid eyes-on-screen monitoring and instead deliver improved automation without the need for people intensive approaches.
In addition deduplication of tools, roles and processes are essential to improve service and reduce costs. Finally, IT needs to help the CIO in compliance with regulation by providing controlled segregation of duties and transparency.
At the end of the day, the customer isn’t going to care what APM tool is being used, what level of visibility it provides, or even how well the applications are performing. All they want to know is that the systems will do what they expect without interruptions, delays or other unpleasantness.
We shared this recently with the folks at IDG Connect (Customers, Not Technology, Should be the Driving Force Behind APM). Technology capabilities are only important in the context of providing high-quality service to the customer. By staying focused on driving customer service as a business metric, IT will find itself better equipped in the long run to address changing needs of all their customers, including the CIO.