IT success means balancing these competing objectives

RADIO RECAP Allstream’s director of field solutions marketing stops by 570News to talk about what customers should expect from service providers

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Mark Ibbotson sees IT departments getting squeezed from both sides, and he’s hoping to offer some relief.

Allstream’s director of field sales solutions and marketing was the guest this past Sunday on The Business to Business Show, which is produced by 570 News Talk Radio based in Kitchener-Waterloo. In a discussion about the common challenges facing technology professionals in 2012, Ibbotson told the show’s hosts he sees major changes in the technology requirements at Canadian organizations. He cited a study from Microsoft that indicated the average employee is using six or more communication tools, including smartphones, tablets and various pieces of unified communications products.

That’s one issue, but coupled with that, Ibbotson said, is the pressure to prove to senior leadership teams that all these devices, the software and supporting network infrastructure is actually getting more work out of people.

“We feel they’re competing objectives,” he said. “(IT departments are) being asked to improve the performance and reliability of the infrastructure of their business, and now they’re being measured against organizational productivity – how does the tech they’re installing driving that?”

Ibbotson said these forces are starting to make enterprises and mid-market firms reevaluate what they need from technology providers, particularly in areas around ongoing support and providing useful advice. “Really it’s not only in the technology we’re providing but the customer experience. This industry is not known for customer service,” he said.

The best ways to measure customer service, he said, include the quality of the delivery, the billing, the access to support and service. Customers should expect a guaranteed due date, he said, as well as what he called a “first-bill walk-though” after every project.

“It’s important to show that the service (that’s been) designed for you, and that you contracted to, and the first bill, are all accurate,” he said. So is having a single point of contact at a vendor for resolving service issues.

To listen to the entire podcast of the Business to Business Show episode, click here.

Next step: Download the free white paper: ‘Three Ways IT Can Drive Innovation in Customer Service.’

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