8 months Blog

A CIO Perspective on Customer-centric Transformation

Thoughts for Jonathan Vardon ahead of our CIO Roundtable

In just over a week we’ll be hosting our Manchester CIO Roundtable – focused on ‘Customer-centric Transformation’ and how successful digital delivery can positively impact CX, UX and the gains that come along with them – whether that is new revenue streams, greater efficiencies, a more empowered and collaborative workforce, or a mixture of all three

The secret of a successful roundtable discussion is having great experience around the table and interesting stories to share. At their best these events should allow you to validate your thinking, change your outlook and usher in new perspectives.

We’re proud to be welcoming senior IT leaders from Freshfields, Royal London, Worldline, Think Money, Seadrill, KPMG and others.

One of our delegates on the 28th is Jonathan Vardon, ex-CIO of Provident Financial – a leader with many years of experience spanning multiple industry sectors. In the following sections he gives his perspective on the virtues of true customer-centricity and the role of the CIO as a catalyst for this type of transformation.

“At its heart, every business' survival is predicated on meeting the needs of the consumers they are there to service, yet time and time again, organisations can lose sight of ensuring they delight and continue to delight these very people.  We often hear about the customer being at 'the heart of the organisation', but unlike the likes of Zappos and Amazon (who's vision is: "to be earth's most customer-centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online"), many can get distracted by short-term shareholder returns, politics, organisational fiefdoms and regulatory pressures.  This is against a backdrop of customers becoming much more selective and increasingly willing to go elsewhere for their needs.  Recent research by Deloitte found that customer-centric companies were 60% more profitable compared to companies not focused on the customer.  Organisations who wish to be customer-centric must ensure that this vision starts at the very top, aligning KPIs, communications and where necessary, departments, to avoid siloed engagement through different channels or teams”.

“During my time as CIO in both Retail and Financial Services, I have seen numerous approach to building and enhancing the relationship with the customer, along with the benefits (and challenges) this can bring.  I have also been fortunate enough to be part of the most powerful customer-centric intervention I've seen during my 20+ years in industry.  One where the depth of immersion with an organisation's customers goes beyond what I've seen elsewhere, identifying not just the frustrations, but also the context within which customers are engaging with the brand, resulting in incredible clarity of recommended improvements that could deliver not just a substantial increase in revenue and profitability, but also delight the consumer, creating not just loyalty, but brand ambassadors. 

“At the forthcoming round-table, I'll share with you my experiences, both good and bad, and look forward to hearing how others have achieved, or are in the process of achieving, true customer-centricity in their organisation”.

If you’d like to learn more about our series of CIO Spotlights you can read about the details of our upcoming events, as well as previous spotlights here. We’ll also be sharing some of the key takeaways after the event – get in touch if you’d like to receive a copy or keep an eye out for more details on our website.


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