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The secret to IT success—delight your customers so they come back for more



By Tony Price, World Wide Lead for Strategy and Transformation Consulting, HP Software Professional Services


Don’t you find that we all have a tendency to overcomplicate things? Because we have so much complexity in our modern world of high technology, it’s easy to lose sight of IT’s end goal— to delight customers so they come back for more! Just think about IT today: we face a mass of things like legacy IT, digitization, security, mobility, Big Data, analytics, cloud, service integration and management (SIAM), the Internet of things, BYOD, BYOS, robotics…just to name a few. Though if exploited correctly these things can have massive benefits, it’s easy to see how organizations can become so engrossed in any one area that they forget their ultimate aim.


The situation is exacerbated by very IT-literate customers who become enticed by technological advances and press IT organizations to implement these. IT then becomes distracted by accommodating these customer requests for new technology, and turns its focus away from performing its most basic and critical activities really well. As I’ve repeatedly seen, continuing along this path is a recipe for disaster, as costs will escalate, customer satisfaction will decline, and IT will fail to deliver what the business requires.


On the other hand, I’ve observed that companies that focus on improving the customer experience and the associated customer satisfaction index thrive. They also have significantly happier staff. Everyone likes to feel they are doing a good job; when they receive recognition, they typically strive to do an even better job.


What do IT customers want?

So how do you satisfy customers? A back-to-basics approach can really help. In my work for HP Software Professional Services with a number of large global organizations over the past 18 months, I’ve had the opportunity to drill down into what IT customers want. It can be summarized as:


  • I want something new that’s not currently in your catalog, as my business is changing direction and I need you to be able to provide XYZ
  • I am looking for new features on a current offering
  • I want something from your catalog
  • I have something broken and I want it fixed (though I have to say I don’t think customers really want this even though they ask for it; i.e., they would rather nothing breaks in the first place)

By focusing on the above needs, you will be giving your customers what they want. This will make them more satisfied and cause them to request more services from IT, as well as make them less likely to provision services such as cloud on their own. You can then can optimize the delivery mechanism, so that customers really do “love” the experience of interacting with IT.


It’s all about the IT value chain

The Open Group’s IT4IT Reference Architecture was deliberately created using a value-based approach; it defines the IT value chain. By applying back-to-basics thinking, you can see how well the IT value chain maps to customer satisfaction:

  • Strategy to portfolio: I want something new that’s not currently in your catalog, as my business is changing direction and I need you to be able to provide XYZ
  • Requirement to deploy: I am looking for new features on a current offering
  • Request to fulfill: I want something from your catalog
  • Detect to correct: I have something broken and I want it fixed


What really excites me about this way of thinking is we can bring the value chains to life while focusing on what the customer really wants.


We can then use the IT4IT Reference Architecture to map any of the technological advances and/or challenges and ensure they add even more value to the chain. (And also make sure they do not break the value chain.) For me this is a key benefit of the IT4IT Reference Architecture—at last we have an operational model for IT that enables IT to run as a business.


When you think about it this type of approach has been around for years in manufacturing. It’s all about identifying and eliminating waste, such as a lack of automation, integration, adoption, and/or collaboration over key functions. And of course when we identify and remove waste we can improve the quality, increase the velocity, reduce costs, and make customers even happier.


So now IT leaders can avoid the pitfalls of focusing on a specific element of trendy technology. In fact the challenges of being a service broker, cloud services provider, and hybrid developer (i.e., the essential roles organizations have to play), can all be mapped to this architecture. (If you don’t believe me why not see for yourself, as we have done this within HP and are using it with clients.) And because this architecture is based on the IT value chain and supporting value stream, IT will always be focused on delivering value…a great way to make customers even happier!


To learn more about how IT can improve the customer experience, read this Frost & Sullivan white paper: The New IT: Managing and delivering services in a multi-vendor environment.  


TonyPrice.jpg(Tony Price has 35 years of IT experience, originally starting his career in mainframe technologies and data center operations. Tony was also an author/contributor to the ITIL® publications and has extensive experience in IT Service Management. He has personally delivered several global IT transformation projects and has a passion for delivering business outcomes.)


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About the Author


Tom Shave

I've always found that "Keeping it Simple" keeps things efficient, repeatable, easy to manage and improves user satisfaction and ability to perform.


IT4IT boils down the the essential needs of an IT organisation:


The need to look to the future (S2P)

The need to improve and streamline what we use (R2D)

The need to access and use appropriate tools (R2F)

The need to fix things that break (D2C)


The simpler and easier it is to deliver those needs, the more satisfied and engaged the users are likely to be.

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