Have you ever had to call a tech-support line, whether it was to sort out a smart-phone issue or because your company web site just crashed? If yes, then I’m sure you can relate to the frustration this call can induce. You try to explain your problem in your best tech-savvy way i.e. “When I click ‘A’ it doesn’t connect to ‘B’… how do I fix this?” You then quickly (or not so quickly) receive a reply full of technical jargon i.e. “Oh, your interface must not be adapted to the new 2.7834 server. You’ll have to reset and reconfigure…” Really, they might as well be speaking in Mandarin Chinese.
This is also the feeling that many customers of financial institutions get when trying to understand data. When customers have difficulty understanding data that is presented to them and implore for further explanations they are hard pressed to get a straight forward answer. In this case, financial institutions usually place blame on the IT department for not providing quality data or they claim the data has been compromised due to a lack of technological progress. Chief Information Officers (CIO’s), however, are beginning to see that data needs to become a business issue first and foremost because data can be used as a great resource to improve customer relations and sales, as Mark Record the CIO of Capco recently pointed out in an interview.
“Governing data jointly between IT and the business and having clear ownership of data is a key first step in transforming how data is used to deliver excellence in customer service and sales,” said Record. Transparency is not the only key in this instance. The IT department can provide all the data in the world, but customers will remain in the dark until the CIO makes it easily accessible and easily relatable to customers. Record, along with many other CIOs, believes that 2011 is the year they themselves need to step up to the plate and be the ones that make data available and understandable to customers. This will build upon customer relations and put faith back into many financial institutions that may be lacking in this department otherwise.
The CIO may face other challenges this year including mobile banking, data security and creating service models that will cut down costs, but they must take these challenges one step at a time. Connecting with the customers first will make the rest of the challenges they face this year a little more bearable.