The Technology Wavefront
How can you make your customers love you? Great customer service is one example. But often a company's own structure gets in the way of even the best intentions. Today, most everything we do in an organization relies on technology. The shortest path to happiness (for a customer) is an interaction that runs from the customer, to the company, and then straight back, with the desired result in hand. But often times, a customer request, whether its an individual (B-C) or a business (B-B) gets sucked into the black hole of technology.
Here is a common scenario: a customer makes a request or suggestion to the business. The business user sees this is a good idea, and that it would benefit other customers. The business user then asks It for a "simple" change (I put "simple" in quotes because we all know that what may seem simple to a layperson is not always so simple to the person doing it - just ask your plumber). But let's say for the sake of argument that it is a really simple change, such as changing a page layout slightly so that it flows more intuitively. The response from IT goes something like this: "We need to assign a project manager. And a business analyst. Then a developer. Then we can scope the request. Then it can be prioritized. And then we can schedule it for deployment. In 6 months. Oh, and who's budget is this coming out of?" The "simple" request has now become trapped deep in the bowls of the organization.
By pushing the technology boundary out to the business area, many "simple" requests can be handled directly in the business itself. If the person in the business can make the admin change herself, that avoids a lot of lost time and also minimizes the "lost in translation" issue between business and IT. It should not be some mysterious place with a mystical language - it is something that EVERYONE in the company should be fluent with. Look at kids these days and how technically savvy they are. I expect that anyone under the age of 50 should have the same level of technical acumen. After all, we grew up with computers. They've been part of daily life for decades.
How do we push that boundary to the business? Staff them with admins who can make changes. Make everyone in the business units understand that THEY are change agents, and can request a change/improvement/enhancement on a customer's behalf. You still need to follow guidelines and standards, and It will still be responsible for deployments and complex projects that are tech-heavy, but it is much better to create changes in 6 days rather than 6 months.