The CIO then called for discussion on these characteristics. Several managers were defensive at first, but the CIO was able to draw out a general acknowledgment that by really owning our service organization, we could begin to address each of these undesirable traits.
That was my cue to move on to the characteristics of an IT service organization with a mature CRM program in place:
1. It has a service directory that's written in client terms and is available both as a hard copy and online.
2. It makes integrated bids on projects, with each IT service aspect represented as needed, and all coordinated through an account relationship management function.
3. It reviews service-level commitments for continuous improvement opportunities.
4. It proactively deals with client issues.
5. It has a formal marketing plan for each business and function it supports.
6. It routinely communicates with clients in multiple ways, touting accomplishments, heralding direction, highlighting client success and soliciting feedback.
7. Its intra-service coordination is seamless, and performance is consistently excellent.
8. Each IT service line of business is benchmarked annually to show performance and cost differentials compared with external alternatives.
9. Clients routinely ask for IT's advice on using recently developed technologies to avoid cost, improve their client services and increase their revenue.
10. Clients clearly appreciate IT's value and its services to them and see it as a powerful ally and involved partner in achieving their business goals.
Which one should we be?
Now the managers had two sharply differentiated organizational profiles to consider. What, the CIO wanted to know, were the pros and cons of each? The single advantage of staying as we were was simply that it was the easiest option ? in the short term. The cons were that clients went without information and were unhappy, that employees were frustrated, that clients felt that outsourcing would be preferable and that, despite knowing about our problems, we had done nothing about them.