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Align IT with the Real End Customer

Ensure IT and the business are working towards the same goal: improving customer experience.

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Poor IT and customer alignment results in:

  • Business viewing IT as a roadblock because they don’t believe IT understands the customer.
  • Systems that are developed to serve the internal organization being translated to work in the external world.
  • Customer feedback being delayed and altered before reaching IT (if at all) meaning changes to customer solutions happen slowly and often incorrectly.
  • Larger, more serious problems emerging post-implementation.
  • IT being generally removed from decisions regarding the customer resulting in many of IT’s good ideas around the customer going unnoticed.

Effective IT and customer alignment results in:

  • Improved customer experience arising from more accurate user requirements.
  • Prevention of large sunk costs in a solution that the user does not want or cannot use.
  • Increased likelihood to deliver on deadlines as surprises and scope creep are mitigated.
  • Improved opportunity for IT staff to add value by understanding, anticipating, and delivering what individual customers desire.
  • Renewed sense of motivation in IT staff.

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Module 1: Investigate the Challenges and Review the Benefits of Aligning IT with the End Customer

The Purpose

  • Identification of the issues that arise when IT is not properly aligned with the customer. 
  • Identification of potential benefits that will be achieved when IT is aligned with the customer. 
  • Assessment of what is necessary to be ready to align IT with the customer.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Clear conceptualization of the challenges and benefits associated with IT and customer alignment.
  • Readiness to proceed with the rest of the blueprint, following a step-by-step, holistic approach for aligning IT with the customer.

Activities: Outputs:
1.1 Identify current pain points
  • List of current pain points
1.2 Identify opportunities
  • List of opportunities
1.3 Review the readiness checklist
  • Go/No-Go Decision

Module 2: Build the IT and Customer Alignment Charter

The Purpose

  • Socialize the project and gain buy-in and support from business units.
  • Make certain the business is on the same page with regards to customer-centricity to ensure project success.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Have a solid understanding of stakeholders and specific strategies for addressing each group.
  • Ability to align the project benefits with business drivers. 
  • Identification of key success metrics and establishment of baselines and targets.

Activities: Outputs:
2.1 Identify and interview key stakeholders
  • Stakeholder interview guide and strategy
2.2 Identify business drivers
  • Business drivers and project fit
2.3 Tie project benefits to business drivers
  • Project benefits tied to business drivers
2.4 Define metrics
  • List of direct and intermediary metrics

Module 3: Assess Current IT and Customer Processes

The Purpose

  • Gain an understanding of the starting point for IT and customer processes.
  • Identify what is and is not working to help structure target state. 

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Thorough and structured review and assessment of your current IT and customer processes.
  • Evaluation of the pain points associated with those processes.

Activities: Outputs:
3.1 Map current IT and customer processes
  • Current process flow diagram
3.2 Identify process pain points and drill down on root causes
  • List of process pain points and root causes

Module 4: Select Target IT and Customer Processes

The Purpose

  • Gain an understanding of the starting point for IT and customer processes.
  • Identify what is and is not working to help structure target state.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Clear idea of what IT and customer processes look like in a target state.
  • An assessment of feedback mechanisms and their different use cases.

Activities: Outputs:
4.1 Examination of the last project completed and whether or not feedback mechanisms could have alleviated pain
  • List of pain points that feedback mechanisms could have eliminated in the last project
4.2 Discuss feasibility and use cases of different feedback mechanisms
  • Idea of which feedback mechanism is best suited to your unique needs
4.3 Draft target state process flows
  • Target process flow diagram

Module 5: Determine Process Mofications

The Purpose

  • Determine what initiatives are necessary to close the gaps between the current and target state process flows.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Understanding of which initiatives to implement, which to disregard, and which to save for a later implementation date.
  • Ability to begin thinking about the initiatives that are necessary to complete first and being to move forward with preparing for them.

Activities: Outputs:
5.1 Brainstorm initiatives to close gaps between the current and target state
  • List of gaps that exist between current and target state
5.2 Prioritize initiatives by importance
  • List of initiatives necessary to close gaps
5.3 Create timeline of initiatives
  • Prioritization and timeline of initiatives

Module 6: Refine Organizational Design

The Purpose

  • Organizational design should reflect a smooth flow of customer information to match newly designed processes.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Recognize the importance of designing an organization that fosters collaboration with the customer.
  • Conduct a thorough examination of the options for embedding IT in the business.
  • Define key organizational design objectives and outline organizational design initiatives.

Activities: Outputs:
6.1 Establish culture
  • Checklist to assess culture
6.2 Define key objectives
  • List of key objectives
6.3 Embed IT in the business
  • Assessment of options for embedding IT in the business
6.4 Tailor model to fit organization
  • List of questions to consider when right-sizing to fit the organization
6.5 Outline organizational design initiatives
  • List of organizational design initiatives

Module 7: Motivate IT Staff

The Purpose

  • Given that the target processes for many IT staff have now changed, it is essential that the methods in which they are measured and motivated reflect this.
  • Motivate IT staff beyond building a system that works to one that is truly innovative.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Understand the importance of updating IT staff motivation to fit with new processes.
  • Examine how IT staff are currently measured and motivated.
  • Determine desired behaviors and new metrics and motivation strategies to match.

Activities: Outputs:
7.1 Examine IT’s current metrics
  • Inventory of IT’s current metrics
7.2 Identify new metrics based on desired behaviors
  • Outline of desired behaviors in IT and associated new metrics or values
7.3 Brainstorm and tie motivators to new metrics
  • List of motivators by employee groups and motivation strategies
7.4 Determine gaps and draft initiatives to address gaps
  • Draft of gaps and initiatives to address gaps

Module 8: Communicate Effectively

The Purpose

  • Having a shared vision is important, but stakeholders will want to know what this project means to them.
  • When preparing messages for each group identify the impact this change will have on their role.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Define the project vision and identify the communication plan for each stakeholder group at a high level.
  • Recognize what should be included in the initial presentation to stakeholders.

Activities: Outputs:
8.1 Define the vision
  • Outline of the vision
8.2 Create communication plan
  • Communication plan
8.3 Develop the stakeholder presentation
  • Stakeholder presentation

Module 9: Train IT Staff

The Purpose

  • Experiential training is an excellent way to “break the mold” with your training methods and provide IT staff with the opportunity to interact with the customer and to better understand their needs.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Recognition of the methods of experiential training and their feasibility in the organization.
  • Draft a proposed training plan including activities, timeline, and other key components.

Activities: Outputs:
9.1 Determine experiential training
  • Assessment of appropriateness for experiential training methods
9.2 Build a training plan
  • Training plan
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