CIO 2010 agenda: Customers and staff

Historically, the single biggest cost for most organisations has been customer...

Historically, the single biggest cost for most organisations has been customer acquisition. Yet today we have web-centric businesses such as Facebook and Google which seem to attract new customers and users by the millions at a cost so low as to be unthinkable for the likes of "bricks and mortar" firms such as banks and retailers.

For any business, technology - particularly the internet - offers a route to dramatically reducing the cost of customer acquisition, and equally of increasing the loyalty of those clients.

Why can't I use my iPhone?

The process of using technology to improve customer engagement is being mirrored with employees. The so-called "consumerisation" of technology means that we are not far from the point - in some firms we may already be there - at which business users know as much about their technology as the people manning the first-line helpdesk.

Users will expect the ease of use of an eBay, the flexibility and functionality of an iPhone, and the simplicity of a Google in their business applications and devices. This is already presenting a whole new set of challenges for CIOs.

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