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Firms looking to IT to boost customer experience, KPMG finds

Oct 08
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Firms looking to IT to boost customer experience...

The role of the modern-day chief information officer (CIO) involves more than technical considerations such as optimising IT performance and improving operational efficiency, KPMG research has suggested.

In the coming years, consultants working with companies of various sizes are likely to see CIOs placing a greater emphasis on customer experience.

The drive for better experience

In a survey of 1,200 CIOs with UK businesses, six out of ten respondents said managers within their organisation were looking for ways to utilise IT to enhance customer experience.

A similar proportion (62 per cent) cited improving customer experience as their primary goal when it comes to prioritising digital technology initiatives, ahead of attracting new business and deriving more revenue from existing customers (both 57 per cent).

KPMG noted that these findings align with the recent trend of customer centricity being viewed as a key priority and value driver for organisations.

Lisa Heneghan, the firm's head of digital transformation in the UK, said companies that put the customer "at the heart of everything" are benefiting from stronger growth and profitability.

"This is requiring CIOs to think in a different way and understand how the IT function can also pivot to enable a more integrated customer experience," she added.

Where will CIOs focus their investment?

Nearly half (45 per cent) of the CIOs responding to the survey said IT spend is likely to increase over the coming year.

Artificial intelligence (AI) emerged as the biggest focus of investment, followed by on-demand marketplace platforms, the Internet of Things and robotic process automation (RPA).

Ms Heneghan pointed out that the government's desire for the UK to be a world leader in AI "seems to be developing".

Virtual reality and blockchain technology are two fields of innovation that have attracted a lot of attention recently, but CIOs appear unconvinced about their current business value, with only eight per cent planning to invest in these areas.

Another much-discussed topic is automation, which is having an increasing impact on how organisations operate and how employees work.

The CIO survey highlighted IT (24 per cent), customer support (19 per cent) and finance (14 per cent) as the business areas that have seen the most automation so far.

Ms Heneghan said: "Technology is allowing businesses to automate many functions within IT and customer support.

"However, companies are still dependent on experts to oversee technical elements of business like risk and law. There is still some time yet before we will see wholescale changes to the workforce influenced by technology."

In a report published earlier this year, Capgemini's Digital Transformation Institute predicted the financial services industry could boost global revenues by $512 billion (£392.7 billion) by 2020 through intelligent automation.

This is defined as the combination of robotic process automation, artificial intelligence and business process optimisation, "applied cohesively to achieve business objectives".

The study suggested that AI-enhanced RPA could enable businesses to achieve cost savings of up to 50 per cent.

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Image: iStock/NiroDesign

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