The Consumerization of IT Helps Level the SMB Playing Field Across the World, IDC Says
Increased adoption and personal use of advanced technology is paying dividends for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) around the world as the consumerization of IT continues to expand, especially in developing countries. Survey research from International Data Corporation (IDC) found that SMBs in developing countries are much more likely to encourage the use of worker-owned technology, allowing employee smartphones, netbooks, and media tablets to be connected to company networks to run a host of different business applications.
Additionally, SMBs in developed countries (e.g., the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan) typically indicate higher levels of advanced technology use, from notebook PC to wireless networks, than do similarly sized firms in developing countries (e.g., China, Brazil). However, the gap closes quickly when portable computing/communications products are added to the mix. SMBs in developing countries are keeping pace with their more developed counterparts when it comes to providing employees with smartphones, netbooks/mini notebooks, and media tablets. In some cases, they are actually more likely to provide these products to their staff.
Additional findings from IDC's research include the following:
Independent of region, medium-sized firms are more likely to provide employees with advanced mobile devices than are small businesses (SBs).
China SMBs are providing company-owned smartphones to employees most often.
In developed countries, 33.7% of SBs and 46.7% of MBs indicated they provide access to the business network for employee-owned smartphones.
One in Three Consumers Consider Highly Trained Employees the Most Important Factor
Empathica Inc., a provider of Customer Experience Management (CEM) solutions, announced that its Consumer Insights Panel survey of 5,000 U.S. and Canadian consumers found that nearly a third of consumers consider highly knowledgeable and well-trained employees as the most important element of their luxury purchase experience.
Survey results also showed that consumers are very willing to walk out of a luxury retail store if they are not receiving the one-on-one attention they need. In fact, three out of four consumers said they buy either nothing -- or less than what they would normally purchase -- if there are not enough employees in the store to assist them.
Despite the importance of individual attention at luxury retailer stores, many consumers think todayís brands arenít delivering. Only 38% of consumers said they receive better customer service in luxury retail than in non-luxury retail. On the other hand, if employees are eager to serve customers, a full 80% of survey respondents said it would have a positive impact on their perception of the brand and affect their future business with the store.
Top Luxury Service Elements that Consumers Value, From Most Important to Least Important:
The first 90 days are the most critical for new CIOs.
The success of the CIO is based on results. Too often new CIOs try to do too much before they know enough. According to the IT Productivity Center, six things that a new CIO should do are:
Find an Internal Ally - It is crucial to quickly get to know the new company. But since no one can be everywhere at once, it's good to have an observant adviser within the company.
Find someone in the company to "be your counselor, letting you know if the troops need more attention or if they're confused." An ally does not have to be a peer or a direct report; it can be junior colleague who is attuned to the workforce and unafraid to share their observations. Often people who needed help rarely came directly to you and ask for help.
Hire a Strong Ally - Hire someone who know how you work and what your strengths and weakness are. They can be a sounding board and at the same time another ally who is totally loyal to you.
Get Things under Control - A CIO who wants to position himself as a strategic partner to executive management should avoid getting bogged down in detail tasks. A new CIO should establish a strong leadership persona, whether that means adding positions, hiring people, or reorganizing. The new company needs the new CIO to have a team and processes in place that support the new CIO's success. Thatís not going to happen in 90 days, but the CIO needs to have the commitment in place to support them going forward.
Focus on the Right Issues - CIOs want to control costs and processes, and what better way to do that than tightening the purse strings or project initiatives of the IT department. CIOs often think they've got to set an example and that is often the wrong issue to focus on. Doing something solely to be a model for the company can be a mistake because it may send the wrong message. And more than anything, a new CIO needs to be viewed as a team player.
Be a Collaborator - When it comes to strategy, it's easiest to forge ahead if executives across the company are on board. Particularly for a new CIO, it's important to vet plans with the right people, whether launching an IT transformation or introducing a new initiative. Keep them updated on where things stand so that they're hearing how the project is advancing. That way you're constantly winning buy-in for the next move.
A new CIO should also look for informal support and feedback on how to make projects more efficient and less disruptive to the business. Many of the things the CIO do have a big impact on the other business functions. It's critical for the CIO to gather input and make sure that he is doing what he can to make it as easy as possible.
Listen - A new CIO should spend lots of time listening. Many CIO spend too much time talking and not enough time taking notes on what they hear. When you're new, you find so much information and get so many ideas, but it's not wise to act on those ideas immediately. Rather, the first 90 days are an opportunity to determine which strategies, people, and processes are healthy and which need improvement.
Survey Shows Flat IT Budgets in 2012, but IT Organizations Must Deliver on Multiple Priorities
IT organizations will have to deliver on multiple priorities without an increase in their IT budget, as CIO IT budgets are expected to be flat, increasing just 0.5 percent, with declining IT budgets in North America and Europe, according to a global survey of CIOs by Gartner, Inc.'s Executive Programs.
The worldwide CIO survey was conducted in the fourth quarter of 2011, and it included 2,335 CIOs, representing more than $321 billion in CIO IT budgets and covering 37 industries in 45 countries.
CIO's increasingly see technologies such as analytics/business intelligence, mobility, cloud and social in combination rather than isolation to address business priorities. Changing the customer experience requires changing the way the company interacts externally rather than operates internally.
Analytics/business intelligence was the top-ranked technology for 2012 as CIOs are combining analytics with other technologies to create new capabilities. For example, analytics plus supply chain for process management and improvement, analytics plus mobility for field sales and operations, and analytics plus social for customer engagement and acquisition.
Sixty-one percent of enterprises responding to the survey say they will be improving their mobile capability over the next three years. The majority have a mobility strategy that calls for becoming a market leader in their industry -- so there will be significant competition as everyone seeks to be "above average" in its industry.
Overall, CIOs rank growth as their top priority -- despite tough economic conditions and future uncertainties. They are particularly attentive to attracting and retaining customers and to creating products and services.
Meeting business expectations for increased growth, reduced cost or a transformed customer experience normally involves a significant increase in IT resources. Forty-six percent of CIOs reported that their CIO IT budget would increase from 2011 to 2012 in terms of actual spending. The average firm in this year's survey will see a modest budget increase of between 2 and 3 percent.
On a global weighted average basis, CIO IT budgets are anticipated to be essentially flat for 2012. These investments are strongest among enterprises in Latin America (with a 12.7 percent IT budget increase) and the Asia/Pacific region (with a 3.4 percent increase), while investments are weakest among the largest enterprises in North America (decreasing 0.6 percent) and Europe (down 0.7 percent). Larger organizations, those with IT budgets more than $500 million, have continued to cut their IT expenditures, offsetting modest growth in the rest of the survey population.
Technology is playing an increasing role in enterprise growth, innovation and operational performance while technology's definition now incorporates new combinations of traditional IT systems, consumer devices and their respective services.
Research Shows 86% of U.S. Adults will Pay More for a Better Customer Experience
The Annual Customer Experience Impact (CEI) Report, conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of RightNow among 2,291 U.S. adults, once again shows that delivering exceptional customer experiences is essential for any organization that wants to grow and sustain competitive differentiation in todayís market.
The 2011 CEI Report explores the relationship between consumers and brands. The data reveals that consumers call the shots and want personal and engaging experiences that develop into meaningful relationships with brands. Highlights from the report include:
86 percent of U.S. adults will pay more for a better customer experience.
89 percent of U.S. adults whoíve ever stopped doing business with an organization due to a poor customer experience began doing business with a competitor.
When asked specifically how companies can better engage with consumers to spend more, 54 percent said to improve the overall customer experience.
The CEI Report also tracked the impact social media has had on consumers, finding that:
After a poor customer experience, more than 25 percent (26%) of U.S. adults expressed frustration by posting a negative comment on a social networking site (e.g., Facebook, Twitter message boards, forums).
79 percent of those who shared complaints about poor customer experience online had their complaints ignored (i.e., received no response to their post(s) from the company/organization).
57 percent of those surveyed who received a response had positive reactions to the same company: 46 percent of those surveyed were pleased and 22 percent of those surveyed posted a positive comment about the organization.
Positive engagements create longstanding, loyal relationships; and, as the CEI report uncovered, consumers are willing to pay for it. To maximize this opportunity, brands today need to implement comprehensive, cross channel customer experience programs to meet the ever-evolving needs of the modern consumer.