Thinking IT is solely an internal-facing department is like looking at one side of the moon and assuming it’s flat. Spin it around, and you’ll see IT underpins the entire customer experience.
IT is the heartbeat of customer experience management because you and your team are the gatekeepers of all data flowing between your company and its customers. You can influence the business in several innovative ways.
To illustrate how, let’s take a look at three technologies that are wildly different but impact the customer’s experience in some way: predictive analysis, print security solutions, and server maintenance.
1. Harness the power of predictive analytics
IT is the curator of a company’s raw data, and predictive analytics is about recognizing data patterns to project probability. Through predictive analysis—predicting future outcomes based on historical data—companies can set strategies around pricing and inventory management (think: airlines and hotels). Other industries are also sharpening their abilities to predict:
- Specific products customers will purchase and any cross-selling opportunities
- Sales volumes for the next quarter
- The amount of business customers are expected to do with them over time
- Where ads will gain the best penetration in the marketplace
You may be skeptical about what sounds like a crystal-ball approach, but predictive analytics has already trumpeted some impressive results. Innovation Enterprise points to Amazon’s record in “Top 5 Analytics Success Stories.” Amazon’s “Customers who bought this . . . ” feature, which was revolutionary at the time, pales in comparison to what Amazon is doing today. The company has figured out how to tap into wide-ranging data points far more indicative of what genuinely interests a customer.
How can you add value when it comes to predictive analytics and the customer experience? Become a stakeholder in your company’s analytics strategy from the outset so your knowledge of the company’s databases and systems can help the company set realistic expectations of what can be accomplished.
2. Rethink your printer security solutions
Cybercriminals cost companies millions of dollars every year. Security breaches undermine a customer’s confidence and damage the brand, and unprotected printers could be a hacker’s favourite target. One high school student in the United Kingdom, interested in security research, proved the point by forcing thousands of publicly exposed printers to spew out rogue messages.
A recent IDC security whitepaper estimates the rate of malware infection for printers to be as high as 64 percent. This type of statistic establishes print security as a golden opportunity for you to add real value to your company. You can start off by completing a secure print analysis to understand your printers’ vulnerabilities and then invest in printers with embedded security features that can:
- Detect and stop attacks within memory or outbound requests and force a reboot to initiate repairs
- Check and fix device security settings in a reboot
- Catch and prevent the execution of malicious code and self-heal the BIOS
- Ensure only authentic code is loaded into memory
- Reboot and notify IT if compromised
For advice on the best ways to protect your print environment, you can partner with an expert.
3. Ramp up your server maintenance
Servers are the stronghold for all information flowing in and out of your office—usernames, passwords, compliance records, customer and financial data, and everything else—and you’re responsible for keeping them in peak condition. Here, too, be vigilant about security. Like printers, servers provide access points into your network, and you can be sure hackers are testing their strength at every opportunity.
Some simple security measures for your own team include:
- Establishing strong passwords
- Eliminating redundant codes and applications
- Ensuring the safety of incoming files
- Locking out accounts after unsuccessful login attempts
- Installing patches
When it comes to complex server networks, you may find it cost-efficient to turn to a partner for across-the-board improvements in system availability to enhance and support your business applications. Look for experienced server providers who can improve system performance and efficiency across your distributed IT infrastructure, reduce overall IT costs, and increase your competitive advantage.
The data you oversee can have a significant impact on the customer experience. Step into the customer experience management ring and don’t hold back. Let your company know it can count on your expertise for predictive analytics, security solutions, and server maintenance. As an IT innovator, you can make a significant difference to your company’s bottom line.