We spend a lot of time talking about what business customers want and need — both from telecom and IT technology and from their trusted advisers. At the best of times, these conversations are based on impersonal demand-side data; at the worst outdated thinking. What was true five years ago may not be true today. What may be true for one may not be true for another. The modern business' relationship with technology has become more complex and more strategic. It's not just an line item expense, but a business enabler.
Indeed, Gartner's fourth quarter survey of global CIOs reveals their top business priorities includes entries like "increasing enterprise growth," "attracting and retaining new customers" and "attracting and retaining the workforce."
Whether the "IT department" is the business owner or a team of full-time professionals, its objectives are changing dramatically with the introduction of disruptive digital technologies like cloud, mobility and social media. The corporate view and use of these and other technologies is changing and in many cases becoming integral to the delivery of its core services.
To find out more about how companies — large and small — are confronting the challenges of a new era, Channel Partners spoke to seven technology decision makers about their technology priorities and pain points as well as how technology is creating business value for their companies and what they expect from their trusted advisers.
Tina McLaughlin, Director of End-User Services, Sands Corp.
Tina McLaughlin is a perfect example of a technology decision maker whose objectives are focused on business enablement. "Our primary goal is improving guest satisfaction and my team is a big part of that," said McLaughlin, who is director of end-user services at The Venetian and The Palazzo hotels in Las Vegas. Among McLaughlin's 2013 technology initiatives are transforming the call center and customer loyalty programs, for example.
Previously, the company tackled improvements to its guest experience with valet services by implementing an automated system that provides an up-to-date listing of vehicles waiting to be retrieved, identifies how many transactions occurred on an hourly basis, and tracks occupancy and repeat guests. "The process prior to implementing a solution was manual, and our statistics were not reliable," she said noting that the automated system has provided visibility into accurate metrics from which the company can set goals for improvements. "We have improved our guest wait times and we have improved our valet agent productivity to conduct extra transactions during their shifts," she said.
McLaughlin has the added challenge of making technology changes in a 24/7 service environment. "Our business partners and our guests expect little to no disruption in their services at all hours of the day," she said.
She counts on several technology advisers to help her avoid missteps and share industry best practices. "Our expectations for a technology partner are to understand our culture [and] our business goals, to be a customer advocate and to always keep our guest experience in mind," she said.