The Battle for Business: Weaponise your IT for competitive advantage

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By Keith Tilley, EVP, global sales & customer services management,
Sungard Availability Services

Keith Tilley, Sungard Availability Services, looks at how IT can help win the customer war.

  • Let your IT be your weapon for competitive advantage
  • Let your business outcomes define your cloud and IT strategy… not the other way around
  • Let your CIO take control and master your complex IT environment for business success

With customer loyalty waning, the fight for every pound has become more critical than ever before – with every sale representing a small but vital victory for your business and a crushing defeat for your competition.

Advances in technology mean the modern-day customer now expects instant gratification; and businesses which can’t deliver are set to lose out. A well-considered battle plan is essential, ensuring you are using every weapon at your disposal, especially IT.

And like any good army, it is essential the foot soldiers are equipped with the right armaments, meaning organisations must work to ensure that employees have access to the IT tools that can help answer their immediate, and future, business needs.

Cloud is a crucial part of any battle strategy, but don’t be fooled by the hype: there is no right or wrong cloud system. Instead there is only a right or wrong approach to using it. Companies must first assess the business outcomes they’re trying to drive before tailoring their IT, ensuring their data is available and resilient enough to meet customer needs. IT investment should be dictated by the business strategy, not the other way round.

Each sale isn’t just a skirmish, but part of a full blown war – one that requires the flexibility and agility to react to changing market conditions. The CIO – with the support of their board level colleagues – must take control of their organisation’s IT environment, ensuring it is fit for purpose and able to handle the complex demands of customers, employees and other stakeholders.

Having a cloud or managed services partner can be part of this process. Third parties can free up the CIO to make strategic decisions – whether that’s moving into new markets or opening up new online sales channels – rather than being side-tracked by maintenance issues. Organisations can then look to find new, innovative ways of engaging with their customers and markets to offer an improved, more relevant experience

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