The stakes surrounding delivery of a robust and well-received customer experience couldn’t be any higher: By 2020 half of digital transformation initiatives will fail, due to the lack of an end-to-end customer experience operating system, according to IDC.
Although enterprises clearly have customer-centricity in their sights, a multitude of issues is preventing them from achieving a holistic customer view that can help drive business strategy.
One of the biggest obstacles is the current sprawl of siloed IT systems at most organizations. Companies, either by design or due to merger-and-acquisition activity, typically have collections of standalone systems and disparate information sources that limit visibility and keep the different functions and departments operating in their own bubbles. The result is myriad customer relationship management (CRM) systems and databases that cater to the specific needs of one department—Customer Service, for example, or Sales—without providing a holistic picture of the customer that can serve the greater enterprise.
The rise of shadow IT is another major hurdle impeding the elusive 360-degree customer view. There are also cost and performance pressures that keep companies from embarking on the transformation of legacy systems and infrastructure—the old “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality, which holds a lot of companies back from a major systems overhaul.
Limited IT resources, coupled with the pressure to uphold traditional IT and operational responsibilities, have curtailed CIOs’ ability to focus on innovation and customer-centric digital transformation. That was the case for The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey—the organization responsible for all the major transportation infrastructure in the metropolitan New York area, including bridges, tunnels, and two major airports—according to Robert Galvin, the entity’s chief technology officer.
“The impediment in our momentum toward becoming customer-centric was our traditional business objectives,” Galvin says. “For the past 95 years, our focus has been on infrastructure, construction, and operational excellence—our folks prided themselves on their ability to clear runways in a snowstorm or to remove a stalled vehicle from a bridge or tunnel to keep the region moving. It’s taken people some time to figure out what a focus on the end customer really means.”