CX: Is understanding customers a challenge for technicians?

Does a phenomenon called Conway’s Law create a gap between what software professionals think their customers experience and what they actually experience? As companies rely more than ever on their IT teams to deliver superior customer experience (CX), IT professionals are forced to look for ways to shake things up.

This could be their biggest challenge for the coming year.

“Conway’s Law assumes that products reflect the organizational structure of the companies that make them,” said Michael Bushong, vice president of the cloud data center group at Juniper Networks.

“Teams create their own components, and when they have to interact with other teams, products will have interfaces. This has a strong impact on the user experience, but most companies don’t associate fundamental principles like business structure with the end user experience. »

Customer experience is a strategic priority

It is critical for IT teams to get closer to their customers. Research by Rackspace confirms that application-centric customer experiences are the top strategic priority for executives (48 percent cited this), not IT security, compliance, or even IT strategy. At the same time, current IT activities tend to focus more on improving automation efficiency (63%) and IoT and cloud initiatives (51%) compared to IT-related initiatives. 44%) and customer interaction (30%).

If executives and their IT teams understand all too well that CX should be at the forefront of software design and development, this is easier said than done. “The desire is there, but the main obstacles we see are the lack of knowledge and funding,” says Matt Stoica, NewRocket CEO. “Many tech professionals lack the knowledge and skills to create better experiences. They want to work with professionals who can help them, but often budget constraints prevent effective communication. »

This work orientation implies the need for flexible design and development. Half of the respondents in the Rackspace survey say it sometimes takes weeks to reach consensus before implementing technology changes, such as rolling out new applications or launching a transformation project. Other respondents indicate that it can take months (42%) or even a year or more (8%) to become a member.

For many tech professionals, gaining a complete understanding of the customer experience that their software provides can be a daunting task. “Most of the time, product developers don’t use their own products every day, which creates a gap between the intended customer experience and the actual end user experience,” explains Michael Bushong. “It leaves gaps between what you want and what you get.”

Ability to listen to customers

To get closer to what customers are looking for and experiencing at their end of the software development chain, business leaders and IT managers need to open up communications much more widely, getting managers out of their offices and IT out of their data centers. “Talk to customers to get a better idea,” says Matt Stoica. “We often make too many assumptions about a decision. Clearly define expected operational outcomes and usability. Illustrate the gap between the current state and these results. This discrepancy must be demonstrated quantitatively as well as through customer feedback. »

After all, “the most knowledgeable person in the room often wins when there are tough decisions to make,” says Radhakrishnan Rajagopalan, head of global technology services at LTIMindtree. “Technology professionals such as CIOs, IT managers, developers and data stewards need to get to know the business side as much as possible to gain insight into how to meet business needs and customer challenges, as well as areas for improvement. It would also be a good idea for technology managers to meet directly with clients and get direct feedback to increase their knowledge of the business. This information and knowledge will help them overcome inertia. A first-person perspective on customers and compelling data about how certain customer needs are not being met can help overcome resistance. »

Understanding the customer experience means “following the customer,” advises Michael Bushong. “The saying ‘walk a mile in my shoes’ may be the most effective way to develop empathy. The problem, he continues, is that “the hardware in our systems makes things difficult. While data allows for more accurate conclusions, understanding the data and the customer experience are not always the same. We need data to provide useful information, but we also need to spend time observing how our customers interact with our products, including our websites and documentation. When we rely solely on the data we collect, we create division, and division is a silent killer. In the consumer realm, the most successful brands interact with their customers. In the field of technology? Not really. »

There are a lot of so-called social skills “that will help tech professionals expand their impact on the business,” says Radhakrishnan Rajagopalan. “The most important skill for a technologist is business process design. In many organizations, business processes are inefficient and fail. This slows down innovation and ultimately affects the quality of products and services. IT professionals can meet this challenge by analyzing business processes and finding areas for improvement. Agile software development methodologies are a good example. Cross-functional teams work together in shorter sprints using continuous and incremental feedback and retrospectives to optimize features based on customer needs. Agile methodologies, when applied effectively, can help an organization bring its products to market faster and more efficiently. The best technology and skills may not produce great results without the above considerations. »

Source: .com

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