What can consumer brands teach ITSM about smart IT?

Big brands are performing wonders with technology and in this article, we look at how these successes can be replicated by any IT professional or department without the luxury of mega budgets.

There are many fantastic examples of consumer brands pioneering the use of smart IT.  Look at what Apple has achieved by digitalising music, paving the way for rival services such as Spotify (and arguably video streaming services such as Netflix).  Airbnb has turned an established service delivery model on its head and in a short space of time, become the biggest provider of accommodation in the world.

Amazon is perhaps the best example of utilising smart IT; constantly tweaking, improving and streamlining the shopping process in such a profound way that high street retailers may never be able to counter.

Uber is a great example of how smart IT can transform a service which wasn’t previously associated with computing technology.  Now Facebook is getting in on the act, announcing that 700 million of its Messenger users will be able to use the instant messaging service to hail Uber cabs. The integration is such that Facebook users will not be required to leave the site or even install an app, giving Facebook a value-add service and Uber a new channel to market.

But how can smaller IT operations compete with the megabucks brands?
What is the common thread uniting these businesses and their application of smart IT? Clearly, each of the businesses in question has excellent IT skills and resources at their disposal.  But none of them would have succeeded without an attitude and approach. 

Without exception, these examples of smart IT started because someone was passionate about using technology to fix something which no one else realised was broken.  Music, shopping, booking a hotel, hailing a cab were all managed by mechanisms which seemed perfectly suitable.  Only when we see these services delivered differently do we see that these models were sometimes flawed.

Yes, IT departments within smaller businesses will never be able to compete with the spending and might of these consumer brands.  But they can look at any business process and apply their technical knowledge trying to make it work more effectively. 

The ideas of smart IT and digital transformation may seem daunting to IT professional who assume that they are being instructed to perform miracles. But if we start small, get some quick wins by harnessing technology to fix long-standing process bottlenecks and helping people use technology effectively within the business, the concept of smart IT will quickly make sense and begin to pay dividends.

Smart IT will soon make offshore outsourcing model “obsolete”.

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Simon Kent
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