Why Unlocking Data is Setting CIOs Up for Success

Whilst companies used to build one to three-year transformation plans, today technological advancements and customer expectations are changing much faster. Everything companies do have to be driven by flexibility, agility and customer-centricity. Connecting with and serving customers, building the right data architecture, and embedding an open data culture throughout the organisation are all part of digital transformation. It also entails training its workforce to effectively and transparently share and leverage data.

In many cases, it is not technology that is holding companies back. Rather, this is caused by the ways in which companies have set up their systems to handle data. According to MuleSoft’s 2020 Connectivity Benchmark Report, 85% of organisations admit that integration challenges stall their digital transformation efforts. Disparate systems create siloed insights with negative knock-on effects on customer experiences.

CIOs, previously seen as too expensive and service-oriented, are today tasked with reconceptualising their organisation entirely. By aligning the business and its objectives with integrated data architectures, and through rapid deployment of cloud-based systems, they can help generate business results in months rather than years. This explains why in the digital economy we will see more CEOs with a digital background, and more CIOs becoming CEOs.

Setting companies and customers up for success

When the COVID-19 pandemic emerged, many businesses were not as streamlined and resilient as they once thought. Companies that entered the crisis with a compelling digital customer experience have benefitted at the expense of those which did not. The growth of Amazon’s market share over retail is just one example of the pandemic’s acceleration effect.

Rather than think vertically, in terms of sales and brand recognition, companies increasingly need to know about their interactions with customers. That includes how they interact with them, in what ways, and how they can put the customer at the centre of everything that they do. Bringing key customer information together, for instance, enables sales teams to request meetings and communicate key customer information, and setting customers up for success faster.

Reimagining the ways they do business

Whereas traditionally data has helped companies to be more efficient, today it is entirely reimagining the ways they do business and make timely decisions, helping them find new ways of dealing with their suppliers, employees and wider stakeholders.

Take employee onboarding processes for instance. What can be a confusing time for new hires is made more challenging by keeping employee data in separate silos. Having a 360-degree view of employee data will free managers up to welcome and build relationships, and ultimately provide a greater hiring experience.

Data is also transforming the employee help desk experience. Where previously employees haven’t been able to find the information they needed on their intranet and IT case volumes have become overwhelming, by consolidating and migrating data from older systems, companies can set up self-service and improved help-desk functionality, improving issue resolution timeframes and increasing workforce productivity.

Digital transformation can be a difficult shift, but the power of weaving data into the fabric of businesses is clear. More and more, having a complete view of an organisation and its customers is essential to embedding resilience into businesses, helping to create new revenue streams, and ultimately maintaining relevance in the new economy.

By Robin Fisher, SVP of Emerging Markets at Salesforce
Edited by Jenna Delport
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