IT has disrupted many industries and job functions and will continue to do so at a faster pace in today’s hyper-connected world. Even marketers are not spared. In their book Storyscaping: Stop Creating Ads, Start Creating Worlds, Gaston Legorburu and Darren McColl share that storytelling, or story-based differentiation, is no longer the best marketing approach in the digital space. Instead, they advocate “storyscaping,” which is a story system built on engaging customers based on elements of value, story and experience, and focusing on becoming part of customers’ worlds.
Likewise, IT professionals need to see the forest for the trees; not just living within their multi-hyphenated world but offer value, story and experience to their users. Otherwise, businesses are more likely to view enterprise IT as a cost center and not an area of investment. Unfortunately, enterprise IT often shies away from empowering business users and giving them a more immersive user experience in fear of losing control and visibility. They also fail to articulate and convince their business users how and why IT investments and policies are adding value to the organization. The first sign of chaos is when business users start bypassing IT and go hunting for IT services outside the organization.
How then can enterprise IT find order amidst the chaos that arises from a disengaged organization?
#1: Transparency is Key
Borrowing from one of Dilbert’s sarcastic one-liners, IT users would assume that IT accomplishments are “suspiciously hard to verify.” Benefits and policies made to new IT investments need to be defined and made relevant to the users. Otherwise, users will not connect with the story and play an active role in it.
#2: Focus on Adding Value
By understanding and evaluating users’ desires and needs, enterprise IT has taken the initial steps to create a differentiated experience and co-participate in the business’s success. Take Data Protection as-a-Service for example. It gives business users the convenience and visibility of backups and recovery. This is an immersive user experience that enterprise IT could add and capture value for their users. The business outcome is a more agile and productive work force, which in turn, offers a differentiated experience for customers.
#3: Drive Technology-inspired Stories
As a Star Wars fan, I am captivated by the futuristic world of lightsabers, robots, and spaceships. The movie and storyline would not be as captivating if not for the creative and imaginative technologies. Enterprise IT can be the director of technology-inspired stories behind the success of the business if IT and business strategies are aligned in connecting customers through “storyscaping.” We are not too far from it with today’s business analytics technologies in predicting customer buying behavior that results in creating a better buying experience.
Business Professor Vijay Sethi of Nanyang Technological University, an expert on strategic IT and e-business, advocates the shift in mindset from being a “selfish node” in the network to one that is open and contributing to the good of the organization. As the saying goes, “every great story has to start somewhere.” I believe enterprise IT can step up to be the catalyst for transforming the organization in embracing a customer-centric culture.”