89% say Customer Satisfaction is Leading Priority
Unisys Research Shows Customer Satisfaction as Top Business Priority Driving Corporate Investment in Real-Time IT Infrastructure
Results show culture shift in executive ranks, with new focus on directly aligning business and IT to meet increasingly intensive customer needs
Recent research released by Unisys indicates that business and IT executives in large organisations realise the future depends on customer satisfaction.
Increasingly, they’re driven to make investments in an IT infrastructure that yields personalised service to customers in real-time – a potentially crucial differentiator in a mass market served by more channels and competitors than ever before.
Eighty-nine per cent of respondents to the Unisys survey cited customer satisfaction as their leading business priority in deploying real-time infrastructure – intelligent IT infrastructure driven directly by business rules and able to allocate computing power dynamically with minimal or no human intervention. The survey polled nearly 350 business and IT executives at leading companies in the US and Europe about their views on the importance and potential benefits of real-time infrastructure.
Sixty-three per cent of respondents cited customer satisfaction as “extremely important” in their IT infrastructure investment and deployment decisions (with the other 26 per cent characterising it as “important”), far outstripping revenue growth, cost reduction and efficiency/productivity (45 per cent, 41 per cent and 40 per cent, respectively). The last three factors have conventionally been cited by other IT market research as the primary drivers of investment in technology and services, from IT infrastructure to outsourcing.
“The current notion of real-time infrastructure, as described by industry analysts and IT suppliers, describes infrastructure capabilities but fails to address the dynamic alignment of business process with IT services,” according to David Ireland, general manager, Systems & Technology, Unisys Australia-New Zealand.
“This research shows that customers globally are demanding intelligent IT infrastructure that can adapt to changing demands in real-time. The speed of satisfaction will determine competitive advantage and lead to revenue growth. If an organisation is to retain and grow its client base, it needs an intelligent infrastructure, one that goes beyond the traditional RTI capability. They need business visibility and agility, and they can only get this by aligning business strategy and IT. And you need RTI to do this day-to-day,” continued Mr Ireland.
Culture Shift in Executive Ranks to Keep Driving Infrastructure Demand
“Unisys believes that customer satisfaction as the end goal of IT investments to build real-time infrastructure signals the beginning of a major culture change among senior business and IT executives,” says Sunil Misra, managing partner, Real-Time Infrastructure Solutions, Unisys. “They’re beginning to realise the value of technology as an enabler for critical business activities, not just as a means to facilitate operations or save money. Unisys predicts that senior executives’ appreciation will continue to evolve into demand for real-time infrastructure in which business rules dynamically dictate how, where and when IT responds to specific customer demands.”
Real-time infrastructure includes both enterprise computing facilities, such as mainframes, servers and intelligent storage devices, and software that directs those components’ activities in support of critical business processes. It embeds business policy information – from strategic objectives and key performance and risk indicators to service delivery rules and effectiveness measurements – into a rules-based software engine that acts as a “manager of managers,” directing how the IT infrastructure responds dynamically to critical business process requirements.
For example, a mobile phone company must meet strict performance metrics for key business processes with customer service impact, such as assigning telephone numbers to newly purchased units. A real-time infrastructure could sense a sudden spike in simultaneous requests for provisioning – driven, for example, by customer responses to a promotional campaign for a new model – avert a slowdown in system response and enable the business to continue meeting the service level required for the critical provisioning requirement.
Predictions: Business Alignment and Security Will Be Key Factors in Investments
The research findings indicate an acceleration of the adoption rate for real-time infrastructure over the near term as executives become more attuned to the necessary alignment of IT and business priorities. Fifty-nine per cent of survey respondents expected real-time infrastructure projects to be either in early deployment (26 per cent) or in proof-of-concept (33 per cent) in 2006. An additional 28 per cent were in planning stages.
In addition, dynamic monitoring of key business activities and processes will be among the first areas of focus as companies begin deploying real-time infrastructure. Unisys found that 64 per cent of responding executives considered business event monitoring a critical or significant motivator.
Overcoming Inhibitors to Real-Time Infrastructure
Although respondents cited a growing number of planned real-time infrastructure projects, 60 per cent expressed reservations about the cost of full-scale implementation and 47 per cent cited readiness of their current legacy IT systems as inhibitors to enterprise-wide adoption.
“Enterprises will see greater benefit at lower cost if they take an incremental approach to investing in and deploying real-time infrastructure,” says Ireland. “If they implement new technology employing open standards, they’ll enable greater interoperability with existing legacy systems, reducing the upfront outlay and continuing to capitalise on investments that they have already made over time. Those enterprises will be the ones that win the customer-satisfaction and business growth sweepstakes.”
Unisys Real-Time Infrastructure Solutions: Visibility for Business Advantage
Unisys Real-Time Infrastructure Solutions enable clients to deploy an IT infrastructure that directly supports strategic business processes and delivers the benefits of secure business operations: breakthrough performance in customer service and satisfaction, greater agility in IT management with minimised risks and higher availability, enhanced operational efficiency and improved cost control. Visit the Unisys web site for more detail on Unisys Real-Time Infrastructure Solutions.
The Unisys approach with Real-Time Infrastructure Solutions permits integration of new, advanced components with clients’ existing IT infrastructures – not the “rip and replace” strategy touted by many competitors. This helps create a “manager of managers” environment, with a single rules-based Business Activity Monitoring engine coordinating the activities of the management components in each legacy or new-generation system within the infrastructure.
Unisys Real-Time Infrastructure Solutions can help clients realise the benefits of secure business operations because they are based on Unisys 3D Visible Enterprise (3D-VE) approach, which helps enterprise executives see and then act on the cause-effect relationships among business strategy, processes and IT requirements throughout the entire enterprise. That affords them unprecedented visibility into the impacts and costs that can block effective execution. Unisys 3D-VE approach enables organisations to see the effects of business decisions even before making them.
About the Research
Unisys commissioned strategic research and advisory firm Saugatuck Technology to implement a web-based survey that attracted 346 qualified responses, predominantly from companies of 10,000 or more employees. Half the respondents had IT responsibilities in their organisations, and half had business responsibilities. All participants had titles of director or higher. Three hundred respondents were from U.S.-based companies, with the remainder from Europe. In addition, Saugatuck Technology supplemented the web-based questionnaire with a sample of in-depth phone interviews to obtain more insight into the survey results.
Unisys is a worldwide technology services and solutions company. Our consultants apply Unisys expertise in consulting, systems integration, outsourcing, infrastructure, and server technology to help our clients achieve secure business operations. We build more secure organisations by creating visibility into clients’ business operations. Leveraging Unisys 3D Visible Enterprise, we make visible the impact of their decisions – ahead of investments, opportunities and risks. For more information, visit www.unisys.com.