The world of IT is going through some major changes right now, making way for new innovative mindsets. Wendy Pfeiffer, CIO of Nutanix, notes the rise of Business Technology as the new IT paradigm. She asserts that in today’s IT landscape, CIOs are required to adopt a more strategic mindset in order to achieve goals and make a dynamic impact on customer success.  

Experience, whether internally with employees or externally with customers, is a vital component in a company’s success. Improving your employees’ experience directly affects their productivity and efficiency to complete tasks, thus influencing your company’s ability to better serve the customer. In turn, customer experience impacts customer retention and loyalty, and plays an integral part in a company’s revenue process.  

CIOs are now driving success through innovation and efficiency – as 75% of customers expect companies to use new technologies to create better experiences, with another 84% saying their experience is just as important as a company’s products or services and threatening to leave the company if that experience wasn’t up to par. CIOs have noticed and are taking action by considering the impact experience has on revenue (both by bringing external customers in and keeping internal customers – staff – happy and productive). Here are five examples of CIOs who have revolutionized experiences and turned data into revenue in the past two years (in no particular order).

1. Wendy Pfeiffer of Nutanix

After nearly two years as the CIO of GoPro and three years as the CIO of Nutanix, Pfeiffer is not new to the Business Technology scene. In her current role at Nutanix, she determines ways to interpret enterprise data, systems, and processes like consumer technology – in that it is just as intuitive, easy to use and visually stimulating as the products you’d use at home. In preparing for the role, Pfeiffer recognized that by 2025, nearly two-thirds of the workforce will comprise Millennials or Gen Z. A consumer-like experience, therefore, is necessary for this target group and internal teams, in turn, will demand a higher experience. By introducing technologies like automation and machine learning and taking this new employee experience into account, as well as their need for convenience, Pfeiffer was able to accelerate all IT tasks at Nutanix by 30%, creating more headroom and capacity to do higher-level tasks.  

One of the ways she did this was by automating the provisioning of virtual machines (VMs), which Nutanix engineers use for work everyday, using Slack as the interface. The engineer can now request a VM in Slack (one of their most commonly used tools), which prompts their automation platform Workato to automatically create a ticket in ServiceNow, their ITSM vendor. Once this is done, the requester is identified and Workato looks up their current VM usage in Nutanix. If the requester is asking for a standard VM and they have a good VM history, Workato automatically approves the request and sends it to them in Slack with instructions on how to retrieve it. This significantly reduces time spent on context switching and eradicates the manual approval process. She also measures Net Promoter Score (NPS) for every interaction (both internal and external) and First Response Time (FRT) for when customers contact support. If there are areas where both NPS and FRT are low, she considers them great opportunities for automation and modernization.

As Nutanix is an enterprise-grade software company that helps customers manage hybrid cloud environments ably, with clients ranging from the American Red Cross and BART to Texas A&M and NASDAQ itself, it’s important that Nutanix empowers its employees to work as efficiently as possible to deliver on the company’s mission.

2. Prakash Kota of Autodesk

After stepping into the CIO role at Autodesk in early 2018, Kota’s goal was to completely digitize the company, mitigating friction wherever possible for customers, employees and partners. Previously at Autodesk, it would take about 3-4 months for employees to set up and become productive with the programs and workflows they needed. 

Kota’s solution was to allow employees to evaluate alternative applications for their use and have greater visibility. He initiated Help Hub, a self-serve portal that allows employees to send in HR, procurement and IT requests. The portal, which uses machine learning, then displays recommendations based on the employee’s persona and previous use. Help Hub relies on ML to continuously improve based on queries and feedback. With each app/solution, Kota measures the total addressable market (TAM) versus the total serviceable market (TSM) to ensure that investment in an area is paying off and learn how to bridge the gap between the part of the market that is actually reached (TSM) and the available opportunity for a product or service (TAM). For him, it’s not about making staff use certain tools – it’s about ensuring they’re productive and aren’t frustrated or unmotivated by what it takes to do their jobs well.

“If…whatever we offer does not provide value and [employees] have found other tools, then let’s let them use those products,” Kota said. The goal is to increase productivity, he added, and if other apps meet their preferences and allow them to perform work just as well, if not better, then Autodesk will continue to invest. This creates less friction for the employee, which creates less friction for the customers they serve.

3. Juan Perez of UPS

As the Chief Information and Engineering Officer of UPS, Perez is responsible for plant, industrial and automotive engineering at the organization as well as managing its overall tech strategy. With his many responsibilities, Perez decided to adopt a strategy that is both operationally- and consumer-focused. UPS’s external demands grew alongside its worldwide eCommerce presence. As a result, Perez developed the revenue-generating Global Smart Logistics Network, a delivery and logistics solution that is customer-facing. Its UPS My Choice program allows customers to oversee the time and location of deliveries themselves if they’re not at home to receive them, as well as an opportunity to put a signature on file, upgrade a package from UPS SurePost to Ground delivery (for example), and receive an estimated delivery window prior to the date of delivery if you sign up for an account.  

In order to roll out UPS My Choice, Perez had to collaborate with IT, business and marketing teams. Because the program provides real-time updates on deliveries, Perez had to invest in robust data analytics. The program, which is available in 113 countries, empowers the consumer to do more and makes a significant impact on the company’s revenue and growth. UPS My Choice, as well as its Returns Manager tool that allows eCommerce customers to customize return shipments, and integrations with UPS, added to the company’s 7.5% YOY growth by driving customer loyalty and volume.

4. Ted Colbert of Boeing

Focusing on internal experience can lead to a great increase in your revenue stream. Ted Colbert, CIO and SVP of Information and Analytics at Boeing, wanted to conduct some major internal changes at his company including: increasing financial performance, improving collaboration, delivering more planes, providing margin expansion, and increasing productivity. To do this, Colbert initiated the Digital Flight Deck, a program that uses a cluster of digital and analytics tools to create an “end-to-end digital twin of the business.”  

To create Digital Flight Deck, Colbert and his team identified key models of the value chain that could be combined (including sales and marketing analytics, global fleet analytics, supply chain and supplier cost analytics, manufacturing and quality analytics, and finance analytics), set up the hardware infrastructure, identified the software platform, and implemented digital capability for their value streams. The Digital Flight Deck incorporates data to essentially build higher-level business scenarios, allowing Boeing to make better decisions on rate increase for their 737 and 787 airplanes. The completely digitized simulator saves hundreds of workers months of time allocated to data collection and analysis.  Furthermore, the data analysis of rate increases from the simulator can result in billions of dollars of revenue for Boeing.

5. Pawan Verma of Foot Locker

In an expansive role, the Global CIO and CTO of Foot Locker, Pawan Verma, has many responsibilities including overseeing: global technology, customer experience, data and digital marketing, and supply chain. Verma considers Footlocker not as a retail company, but as a business focused on engagement and experiences. Foot Locker’s wide range of products also invites various forms of engagement with its audiences. Verma wanted to revamp the customer journey by listening to their needs and incorporating both physical and digital changes to their experiences. 

Verma dove into the project by collecting data on points of sale across multiple platforms through the consumer’s entire lifecycle, engagement and loyalty. With this data, Verma and his team utilized ML and AI to augment the customer journey with a customized platform (meaning it changes as their journey changes). Additionally, Verman stressed the importance of alignment between business and IT and being able to match goals in order to put your hypotheses to action. By revitalizing the customer journey and looking at the company as more than a shoe brand, Verma and his team have helped increase engagement, loyalty and revenue, creating a bird’s-eye view across a vast portion of digital conversations and creating visibility into the cradle-to-grave processes and how they impact the brand.

How Today’s CIOs Successfully Manage Customer and Employee Experience (And Turn It Into Revenue)

These five CIOs are paving the way for richer engagement with customers and employees. With their BT mindsets and thoughts about the services they can bring to people through technology, these CIOs are able to connect their business and technology goals to bring efficient experiences for those who interact with their product. Data analysis of processes, transactions, engagement and manual tasks all provide crucial information for actionable insights (which often lead to automation). Focusing on the experience of both internal and external stakeholders makes for happier end users, which in turn increases productivity, loyalty and growth.

Interested in learning more from CIOs and their innovative processes? Sign up for our new CIO newsletter, The Modern CIO, here >

Mary Hodges
About Mary Hodges

Mary previously worked in IT recruiting and is thrilled to bring her community building skills to the business systems community.