Innovation and the IT Group

This post sponsored by the Enterprise CIO Forum and HP.

picture1I just ran across Martin Davis’ article titled Who is IT’s Most Important Customer? What role does this play in Innovation? Its a good discussion starter…jump over and read it.

Martin starts off by asking a lot of question…namely:

Who should IT focus on as it’s customer? The internal customer within a business unit? An external business the company sells to? Or the end consumer of your product or service? Is this a question of governance, focus or requirements? What does this have to do with innovation?

Excellent questions…and none of these questions are a surprise to anyone in IT…they are asked daily (or should be).

Is there a “most important” customer of IT?  If so, who is it?  Is it the business or is it the businesses’ customers?

There are three main “customers” from my experience…the end-consumer, the organization and the organization’s partners. Identifying these three main customers is the easy part. Servicing them is the hard part….and servicing all customers well is extremely tough.

In order to meet the needs of all of these customers, the IT Group must go behind the basics of what these and look for ways to help all customers regardless of which category they land in.   Martin writes:

Only by truly understanding the needs of all customers involved will IT be able to identify opportunities and game changers that will lead to new innovations and drive new revenue streams into the business.

True. But difficult to do…can you truly understand the needs of your partners and or end-consumers?   That question aside, there’s a ton of value to trying to understand all your customers.

Your internal customers are going to have different needs than external…how will you deal with these differences?

The point of Martin’s article is to start a discussion around Innovation and the IT group.   Only by looking past the customer ‘needs’ and finding their ‘wants’ and finding ways to fill both their needs and wants will IT drive  efficiencies,  innovation and revenue.

Easier said than do though…right?

This post sponsored by the Enterprise CIO Forum and HP.

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