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Develop an IT Strategy to Support Customer Service

IT can help pave the way for a Customer Service transformation.

  • Customer expectations regarding service are rapidly evolving. As your current IT systems may be viewed as ineffective at delivering upon these expectations, a transformation is called for.
  • It is unclear whether IT has the system architecture/infrastructure to support modern Customer Service channels and technologies.
  • The relationship between Customer Service and IT is strained. Strategic system-related decisions are being made without the inclusions of IT, and IT is only engaged post-purchase to address integration or issues as they arise.
  • Scope: An ABPM-centric approach is taken to model the desired future state, and retrospectively look into the current state to derive gaps and sequential requirements. The requirements are bundled into logical IT initiatives to be plotted on a roadmap and strategy document.
  • Challenge: The extent to which business processes can be mapped down to task-based Level 5 can be challenging depending on the maturity of the organization.
  • Pain/Risk: The health of the relationship between IT and Customer Service may determine project viability. Poor collaboration and execution may strain the relationship further.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • When transformation is called for, start with future state visioning. Current state analysis can impede your ability to see future needs and possibilities.
  • Solve your own problems by enhancing core or “traditional” Customer Service functionality first, and then move on to more ambitious business enabling functionality.
  • The more rapidly businesses can launch applications in today’s market, the better positioned they are to improve customer experience and reap the associated benefits. Ensure that technology is implemented with a solid strategy to support the initiative.

Impact and Result

  • The right technology is established to support current and future Customer Service needs.
  • Streamlined and optimized Customer Service processes that drive efficiency and improve Customer Service quality are established.
  • The IT and Customer Service functions are both transformed from a cost center into a competitive advantage.

Develop an IT Strategy to Support Customer Service Research & Tools

1. Structure the project

Identify project stakeholders, define roles, and create the project charter.

2. Define vision for future state

Identify and model the future state of key business processes.

3. Document current state and assess gaps

Model the current state of key business processes and assess gaps.

4. Evaluate solution options

Review the outputs of the current state architecture health assessment and adopt a preliminary posture on architecture.

5. Evaluate application options

Evaluate the marketplace applications to understand the “art of the possible.”

6. Frame desired state and develop roadmap

Compile and score a list of initiatives to bridge the gaps, and plot the initiatives on a strategic roadmap.

Member Testimonials

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Qantas Airways

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Saving me time on searching for myself and providing insights into other organisations and best practise is very insightful.

Workshop: Develop an IT Strategy to Support Customer Service

Workshops offer an easy way to accelerate your project. If you are unable to do the project yourself, and a Guided Implementation isn't enough, we offer low-cost delivery of our project workshops. We take you through every phase of your project and ensure that you have a roadmap in place to complete your project successfully.

Module 1: Define Vision for Future State

The Purpose

  • Discuss Customer Service-related organizational goals and align goals with potential strategies for implementation.
  • Score level 5 Customer Service business processes against organizational goals to come up with a shortlist for modeling.
  • Create a future state model for one of the shortlisted business processes.
  • Draft the requirements as they relate to the business process.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Preliminary list of Customer Service-related business goals
  • List of Customer Service business processes (Task Level 5)
  • Pre-selected Customer Service business process for modeling




Outline and prioritize your customer goals and link their relevance and value to your Customer Service processes with the Customer Service Business Process Shortlisting Tool.

  • Initial position on viable Customer Service strategies
  • Shortlist of key business processes

Score customer service business processes against organizational goals with the Customer Service Systems Strategy Tool.

  • Documented future state business process model
  • Business/functional/non-functional requirements

Module 2: Document Current State and Assess Gaps

The Purpose

  • Create a current state model for the shortlisted business processes.
  • Score the functionality and integration of current supporting applications.
  • Revise future state model and business requirements.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Inventory of Customer Service supporting applications
  • Inventory of related system interfaces




Holistically assess multiple aspects of Customer Service-related IT assets with the Customer Service Systems Strategy Tool.

  • Documented current state business process model
  • Customer Service systems health assessment

Module 3: Adopt an Architectural Posture

The Purpose

  • Review the Customer Service systems health assessment results.
  • Discuss options.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Completed Customer Service systems health assessment
  • Application options




Analyze CS Systems Strategy and review results with the Customer Service Systems Strategy Tool

  • Posture on system architecture

Module 4: Frame Desired State and Develop Roadmap

The Purpose

  • Draft a list of initiatives based on requirements.
  • Score and prioritize the initiatives.
  • Plot the initiatives on a roadmap.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Business/functional/non-functional requirements




Help project and management stakeholders visualize the implementation of Customer Service IT initiatives with the Customer Service Initiative Scoring and Roadmap Tool.

  • Scored and prioritized list of initiatives
  • Customer Service implementation roadmap

Develop an IT Strategy to Support Customer Service

E-commerce is accelerating, and with it, customer expectations for exceptional digital service.

Analyst Perspective

The future of Customer Service is digital. Your organization needs an IT strategy to meet this demand.

The image contains a picture of Thomas E. Randall.

As the pandemic closed brick-and-mortar stores, the acceleration of ecommerce has cemented Customer Service’s digital future. However, the pandemic also revealed severe cracks in the IT strategy of organizations’ Customer Service – no matter the industry. These cracks may include low resolution and high wait times through the contact center, or a lack of analytics that fuel a reactive environment. Unfortunately, organizations have no time to waste in resolving these issues. Customer patience for poor digital service has only decreased since March 2020, leaving organizations with little to no runway for ramping up their IT strategy.

Organizations that quickly mature their digital Customer Service will come out the other side of COVID-19 more competitive and with a stronger reputation. This move necessitates a concrete IT strategy for coordinating what the organization’s future state should look like and agreeing on the technologies and software required to meet this state across the entire organization.

Thomas E. Randall, Ph.D.

Senior Research Analyst, Info-Tech Research Group

Executive Summary

Your Challenge

Common Obstacles

Info-Tech’s Solution

  • COVID-19 has accelerated ecommerce, rapidly evolving customer expectations about the service they should receive. Without a robust IT strategy for enabling remote, contactless points of service, your organization will quickly fall behind.
  • The organization would like to use modern channels and technologies to enhance customer service, but it is unclear whether IT has the infrastructure to support them.
  • The relationship between Customer Service and IT is strained. Strategic system-related decisions are being made without the inclusion of IT.
  • IT is in a permanent reactive state, only engaged post-purchase to fix issues as they arise and to offer workarounds.
  • Use Info-Tech’s methodology to produce an IT strategy for Customer Service:
    • Phase 1: Define Project and Future State
    • Phase 2: Evaluate Current State
    • Phase 3: Build a Roadmap to Future State
  • Each phase contributes toward this blueprint’s key deliverable: the Strategic Roadmap.

Info-Tech Insight

IT must proactively engage with the organization to define what good customer service should look like. This ensures IT has a fair say in what kinds of architectural solutions are feasible for any projected future state. In this proactive scenario, IT can help build the roadmap for implementing and maintaining customer service infrastructure and operations, reducing the time and resources spent on putting out preventable fires or trying to achieve an unworkable goal set by the organization.

Key insights

Develop an IT Strategy to Support Customer Service

Ecommerce growth has increased customer expectations

Despite the huge obstacles that organizations are having to overcome to meet accelerating ecommerce from the pandemic, customers have not increased their tolerance for organizations with poor service. Indeed, customer expectations for excellent digital service have only increased since March 2020. If organizations cannot meet these demands, they will become uncompetitive.

The future of customer service is tied up in analytics

Without a coordinated IT strategy for leveraging technology and data to improve Customer Service, the organization will quickly be left behind. Analytics and reporting are crucial for proactively engaging with customers, planning marketing campaigns, and building customer profiles. Failing to do so leaves the organization blind to customer needs and will constantly be in firefighting mode.

Meet the customer wherever they are – no matter the channel

Providing an omnichannel experience is fast becoming a table stakes offering for customers. To maximize customer engagement and service, the organization must connect with the customer on whatever channel the customer prefers – be it social media, SMS, or by phone. While voice will continue to dominate how Customer Service connects with customers, demographics are shifting toward a digital-first generation. Organizations must be ready to capture this rapidly expanding audience.

This blueprint will achieve:

Increased customer satisfaction

  • An IT strategy for Customer Service that proactively meets customer demand, improving overall customer satisfaction with the organization’s services.
  • A process for identifying the organization’s future state of Customer Service and developing a concrete gap analysis.

Time saved

  • Ready-to-use deliverables that analyze and provide a roadmap toward the organization’s desired future state.
  • Market analyses and rapid application selection through SoftwareReviews to streamline project time-to-completion.

Increased ROI

  • A modernization process that aids Customer Service digital transformation, with a view to achieve high ROI.
  • Save costs through an effective requirements gathering method.
  • Building and expanding the organization’s customer base to increase revenues by meeting the customers where they are – no matter what channel.

An IT strategy for customer service is imperative for a post-COVID world

COVID-19 has accelerated ecommerce, rapidly evolving customer expectations for remote, contactless service.

59% Of customers agree that the pandemic has raised their standards for service (Salesforce, 2020).

  • With COVID-19, most customer demand and employment moved online and turned remote.
  • Retailers had to rapidly respond, meeting customer demand through ecommerce. This not only entailed a complete shift in how customers could buy their goods but how retailers could provide a remote customer journey from discovery to post-purchase support.

Info-Tech Insight

The pandemic did not improve customer tolerance for bad service – instead, the demand for good service increased dramatically. Organizations need an IT strategy to meet customer support demands wherever the customer is located.

The technology to provide remote customer support is surging

IT needs to be at the forefront of learning about and suggesting new technologies, working with Customer Service to deliver a consistent, business-driven approach.


Of decision makers say they’ve invested in new technology as a result of the pandemic (Salesforce, 2020).


Rapidly changing demographics and modes of communications require an evolution toward omnichannel engagement. Agents need customer information synced across each channel they use, meeting the customer’s needs where they are.


Of customers have increased their use of self-service during the pandemic (Salesforce, 2020).


Customers want their issues resolved as quickly as possible. Machine-learning self-service options deliver personalized customer experiences, which also reduce both agent call volume and support costs for the organization.


Of global executives who use data analytics report that they improved their ability to deliver a great customer experience (Gottlieb, 2019).


The future of customer service is tied up with analytics: from AI-driven capabilities that include agent assist and using biometric data (e.g., speech) for security, to feeding real insights about how customers and agents are doing and performing.

Executive Brief – Case Study

Self-service options improve quality of service and boost organization’s competitiveness in a digital marketspace.

INDUSTRY: Financial Services





  • The pandemic increased pressure on TSB’s Customer Service, with higher call loads from their five million customers who were anxious about their financial situation.
  • TSB needed to speed up its processing times to ensure loan programs and other assistances were provided as quickly as possible.
  • As meeting in-person became impossible due to the lockdown, TSB had to step up its digital abilities to serve their customers.
  • TSB sought to boost its competitiveness by shifting as far as possible to digital services.
  • TSB launched government loan programs in 36 hours, ahead of its competitors.
  • TSB created and released 21 digital self-service forms for customers to complete without needing to interact with bank staff.
  • TSB processed 140,000 forms in three months, replacing 15,000 branch visits.
  • TSB increased digital self-service rate by nine percent.

IT can demonstrate its value to business by enhancing remote customer service

IT must engage with Customer Service – otherwise, IT risks being perennially reactive and dictated to as remote customer service needs increase.

IT benefits

Customer Service benefits

  • The right technology is established to support Customer Service.
  • IT is viewed as a strategic partner and innovator, not just a cost center and support function.
  • Streamlined and optimized Customer Service processes that drive efficiency and improve Customer Service quality.
  • Transformation of the Customer Service function into a competitive advantage.

Info-Tech Insight

Change to how Customer Service will operate is inevitable. This is an opportunity for IT to establish their value to the business and improve their autonomy in how new technologies should be onboarded and utilized.

Customer Service and IT need to work together to mitigate their pain points

IT and Customer Service have an opportunity to reinforce and build their organization’s customer base by working together to streamline operations.

IT pain points

Customer Service pain points

  • IT lacks understanding of Customer Service challenges and pain points.
  • IT has technical debt or constrained technology funding.
  • The IT department is viewed as a cost center and support organization, not an engine of innovation, growth, and service delivery performance.
  • Processes supporting Customer Service delivery may be sub-optimal.
  • The existing technology cannot support the increasingly advanced needs of Customer Service functions.
  • Customer Service isn’t fully aware of what your customers think of your service quality. There is little to no monitoring of customer sentiment.
  • There is a lack of value-based segmentation of customers and information on their channel usage and preferences.
  • Competitor actions are not actively monitored.

IT often cannot spark a debate with Customer Service on whether a decision made without IT is misaligned with corporate direction. It’s almost always an uphill battle for IT.

Sahri Lava, Research Director, IDC

Develop an IT Strategy to Support Customer Service


70% of companies either have a digital transformation strategy in place or are working on one (Tech Pro Research, 2018). Unless IT can enable technology that meets the customer where they are, the organization will quickly fall behind in an age of accelerating ecommerce.


Many customer journeys are now exclusively digital – 63% of customers expect to receive service over social media (Ringshall, 2020). Organization’s need an IT strategy to develop the future of their customer service – from leveraging analytics to self-service AI portals.


73% of customers prefer to shop across multiple channels (Sopadjieva et al., 2017). Assess your current state’s application integrations and functionality to ensure your future state can accurately sync customer information across each channel.


Customer relationship management software is one of the world's fastest growing industries (Kuligowski, 2022). Choosing a best-fit solution requires an intricate analysis of the market, future trends, and your organization’s requirements.


95% of customers cite service as key to their brand loyalty (Microsoft, 2019). Build out your roadmap for the future state to retain and build your customer base moving forward.

Use Info-Tech’s method to produce an IT strategy for Customer Service:

PHASE 1: Define Project and Future State

Output: Project Charter and Future State Business Processes

1.1 Structure the Project

1.2 Define a Vision for Future State

1.3 Document Preliminary Requirements


Strategic Roadmap

The image contains a screenshot of the strategic roadmap.

PHASE 2: Evaluate Current State

Output: Requirements Identified to Bridge Current to Future State

2.1 Document Current State Business Processes

2.2 Assess Current State Architecture

2.3 Review and Finalize Requirements for Future State

PHASE 3: Build a Roadmap to Future State

Output: Initiatives and Strategic Roadmap

3.1 Evaluate Architectural and Application Options

3.2 Understand the Marketplace

3.3 Score and Plot Initiatives Along Your Strategic Roadmap

Key deliverable and tools outline

Each step of this blueprint is accompanied by supporting materials to help you accomplish your goals.

Project RACI Chart

Activity 1.1a Organize roles and responsibilities for carrying out project steps.

The image contains a screenshot of the Project RACI Chart.

Key Deliverable:

Strategic Roadmap

Develop, prioritize, and implement key initiatives for your customer service IT strategy, plotting and tracking them on an easy-to-read timeline.

The image contains a screenshot of the Strategic Roadmap.

Business Process Shortlisting Tool

Activities 1.2a, 1.2b, and 2.1aOutline and prioritize customer service goals.

The image contains a screenshot of the Business Process Shortlisting Tool.

Project Charter Template

Activity 1.1b Define the project, its key deliverables, and metrics for success.

The image contains a screenshot of the Project Charter Template.

Systems Strategy Tool

Activities 1.3a, Phase 2, 3.1a Prioritize requirements, assess current state customer service functions, and decide what to do with your current systems going forward.

.The image contains a screenshot of the Systems Strategy Tool.

Looking ahead: defining metrics for success

Phase 1 of this blueprint will help solidify how to measure this project’s success. Start looking ahead now.

For example, the metrics below show the potential business benefits for several stakeholders through building an IT strategy for Customer Service. These stakeholders include agents, customers, senior leadership, and IT. The benefits of this project are listed to the right.

Metric Description

Current Metric

Future Goal

Number of channels for customer contact



Customer self-service resolution




- 4%


Agent satisfaction



As this project nears completion:

  1. Customers will have more opportunities for self-service resolution.
  2. Agents will experience higher satisfaction, improving attrition rates.
  3. The organization will experience higher ROI from its digital Customer Service investments.
  4. Customers can engage the contact center via a communication channel that suits them.

Info-Tech offers various levels of support to best suit your needs

DIY Toolkit

Guided Implementation



“Our team has already made this critical project a priority, and we have the time and capability, but some guidance along the way would be helpful.”“Our team knows that we need to fix a process, but we need assistance to determine where to focus. Some check-ins along the way would help keep us on track.”“We need to hit the ground running and get this project kicked off immediately. Our team has the ability to take this over once we get a framework and strategy in place.”“Our team does not have the time or the knowledge to take this project on. We need assistance through the entirety of this project.”

Diagnostics and consistent frameworks used throughout all four options

Guided Implementation

What does a typical Guided Implementation on this topic look like?

Define Project and Future StateDocument and Assess Current StateEvaluate Architectural and Application OptionsBuild Roadmap to Future State

Call #1: Introduce project, defining its vision and metrics of success.

Call #2: Review environmental scan to define future state vision.

Call #3: Examine future state business processes to compile initial requirements.

Call #4: Document current state business processes.

Call #5: Assess current customer service IT architecture.

Call #6: Refine and prioritize list of requirements for future state.

Call #7: Evaluate architectural options.

Call #8: Evaluate application options.

Call #9:Develop and score initiatives to future state.

Call #10: Develop timeline and roadmap.

Call #11: Review progress and wrap-up project.

A Guided Implementation is a series of calls with an Info-Tech analyst to help implement our best practices in your organization.

A typical Guided Implementation is two to 12 calls over the course of four to six months.

Workshop Overview

Contact your account representative for more information.

Day 1Day 2Day 3Day 4Day 5

Define Your Vision for Future State

Document Current State and Assess Gaps

Adopt an Architectural Posture

Frame Desired State and Develop Roadmap

Communicate and Implement


1.1 Outline and prioritize your customer goals.

1.2 Link customer service goals’ relevance and value to your Customer Service processes.

1.3 Score Customer Service business processes against organizational goals.

2.1 Holistically assess multiple aspects of Customer Service-related IT assets with Customer Service Systems Strategy Tool.

3.1 Analyze Customer Service Systems Strategy and review results with the Customer Service Systems Strategy Tool.

4.1 Help project management stakeholders visualize implementation of Customer Service IT initiatives.

4.2 Build strategic roadmap and plot initiatives.

5.1 Finalize deliverables.

5.2 Support communication efforts.

5.3 Identify resources in support of priority initiatives.


  1. Initial position on viable Customer Service strategies.
  2. Shortlist of key business processes.
  3. Documented future-state business process model.
  4. Business/functional/non-functional requirements.
  1. Documented current state business process model.
  2. Customer Service systems health assessment.
  3. Inventory of Customer Service supporting applications.
  4. Inventory of related system interfaces.
  1. Posture on system architecture.
  2. Completed Customer Service systems health assessment.
  3. List of application options.
  1. Scored and prioritized list of initiatives.
  2. Customer Service implementation roadmap.
  1. Customer Service IT Strategy Roadmap.
  2. Mapping of Info-Tech resources against individual initiatives.

Phase 1

Define Project and Future State

Phase 1

Phase 2

Phase 3

1.1 Structure the Project

1.2 Define Vision for Future State

1.3 Document Preliminary Requirements

2.1 Document Current State Business Processes

2.2 Assess Current State Architecture

2.3 Review and Finalize Requirements for Future State

3.1 Evaluate Architectural and Application Options

3.2 Understand the Marketplace

3.3 Score and Plot Initiatives Along Strategic Roadmap

This phase will guide you through the following activities:

1.1a Create your project’s RACI chart to establish key roles throughout the timeline of the project.

1.1b Finalize your project charter that captures the key goals of the project, ready to communicate to stakeholders for approval.

1.2a Begin documenting business processes to establish potential future states.

1.2b Model future state business processes for looking beyond current constraints and building the ideal scenario.

1.3a Document your preliminary requirements for concretizing a future state and performing a gap analysis.

Participants required for Phase 1:

  • Applications Director
  • Customer Service Director
  • IT and Customer Service Representatives

1.1 Identify process owners early for successful project execution

IT and Customer Service must work in tandem throughout the project. Both teams’ involvement ensures all stakeholders are heard and support the final decision.

Customer Service Perspective

IT Perspective

  • Customer Service is the victim of pain points resulting from suboptimal systems and it stands to gain the most benefits from a well-planned systems strategy.
  • Looking to reduce pain points, Customer Service will likely initiate, own, and participate heavily in the project.
  • Customer Service must avoid the tendency to make IT-independent decisions. This could lead to disparate systems that contribute little to the overall organizational goals.
  • IT owns the application and back-end support of all Customer Service business processes. Any technological aspect of processes will need IT involvement.
  • IT may or may not have the mandate to run the Customer Service strategy project. Responsibility for systems decisions remains with IT.
  • IT should own the task of filtering out unnecessary or infeasible application and technology decisions. IT capabilities to support such acquisitions and post-purchase maintenance must be considered.

Info-Tech Insight

While involving management is important for high-level strategic decisions, input from those who interact day-to-day with the systems is a crucial component to a well-planned strategy.

1.1 Define project roles and responsibilities to improve progress tracking

Assign responsibilities, accountabilities, and other project involvement roles using a RACI chart.

  • IT should involve Customer Service from the beginning of project planning to implementation and execution. The project requires input and knowledge from both functions to succeed.
  • Do not let the tasks be forgotten within inter-functional communication. Define roles and responsibilities for the project as early as possible.
  • Each member of the project team should be given a RACI designation, which will vary for each task to ensure clear ownership, execution, and progress tracking.
  • Assigning RACI early can:
    • Improve project quality by assigning the right people to the right tasks.
    • Improve chances of project task completion by assigning clear accountabilities.
    • Improve project buy-in by ensuring that stakeholders are kept informed of project progress, risks, and successes.

R – Responsibility

A – Accountability

C – Consulted

I – Informed

About Info-Tech

Info-Tech Research Group is the world’s fastest-growing information technology research and advisory company, proudly serving over 30,000 IT professionals.

We produce unbiased and highly relevant research to help CIOs and IT leaders make strategic, timely, and well-informed decisions. We partner closely with IT teams to provide everything they need, from actionable tools to analyst guidance, ensuring they deliver measurable results for their organizations.

What Is a Blueprint?

A blueprint is designed to be a roadmap, containing a methodology and the tools and templates you need to solve your IT problems.

Each blueprint can be accompanied by a Guided Implementation that provides you access to our world-class analysts to help you get through the project.

Need Extra Help?
Speak With An Analyst

Get the help you need in this 1-phase advisory process. You'll receive 4 touchpoints with our researchers, all included in your membership.

  • Call 1: Use goals to identify viable CS strategies and shortlist business processes for modeling

    Once you have compiled a list of Customer Service goals, we can help you identify how these goals map to potential Customer Service strategies and how they can be used to hone in on the business processes worth modeling.

  • Call 2: Current state review and requirements prioritization

    Once you have modeled your future and current state processes, and have scored your application portfolio for features and integration, we can help validate if all relevant requirements have been captured and provide guidance on prioritization.

  • Call 3: Evaluate solution options

    Once you have compiled your requirements and identified system gaps, we can help you decide on approaches for selecting your CS system solutions. For example, we can help you decide whether you should pick a point solution or a comprehensive suite, and how you will approach the SaaS v/s on-premise question.

  • Call 4: Initiative scoring

    Once you have defined a list of IT initiatives, we can help guide you through defining value and risk criteria by which to score and prioritize these initiatives.


Agnes Scott

Brian Park


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