This week on the blog, RFA UK Managing Director George Ralph discusses the CIO challenge of managing end user expectations.
New technology is transforming every aspect of business and the alternative investment industry’s leading CIOs are at the forefront of transformation, driving and encouraging those changes.
However, it is fair to say that whilst many CIOs are being incredibly progressive and introducing disruptive technology that will drive better customer relationships, allow firms to provide enhanced service levels, take new products and services to market faster, predict the markets and meet customers’ precise needs through the use of big data analytics and grow revenue, there will always be a gap between what is being delivered by the IT department and what is expected by the users.
Unfortunately for the IO, users are increasingly and acutely technologically empowered, consuming more personal technology than ever before. These tech savvy users are very likely to expect, and in some cases demand, technology that is at least as good as, if not better than that which they use in their personal life. Voting with their feet in many cases, with the most innovative and technologically sophisticated firms attracting and retaining the greatest talent.
I believe a big part of the CIOs role is to clearly understand what the expectations of the firm’s users are, then set out clearly how they will deliver the IT service. If users are expecting 24/7 access via a high speed network and would like to access corporate data via their smartphone, personally owned tablet and business laptop, then this expectation needs to be met, outlined and in some cases refuted.
Understanding the users’ needs and requirements should be a straightforward job, but the growth in the number of millennials in the workplace means that technology must change at a rapid pace to keep the users happy. Top priorities for workers include a well-conceived mobility strategy, which allows them to work anywhere at any time, continued support for BYOD and the ability to work on an increasing number of multichannel devices, faster access speeds and greater connectivity and a unified communications strategy which facilitates greater collaboration between team members.
Users will not put up with legacy infrastructure, or slow or untimely solutions. They will simply go out and source their own solution. Enter the shadow IT ghost.
If the CIO can develop a strategy which encompasses the bulk of the wish list, whilst also delivering services in a way that is superior to the standard within the industry and making sure that everyone has a clear understanding of what is being delivered and when, then they have almost won the battle.
I do believe that it is not only possible to be transformational whilst managing users’ expectations, but it is essential, as 75% of the global workforce will be switched on millennials, radical consumers of technology by 2025. Technology is changing, users are changing, if the CIO changes, they can stay ahead of the game.