Three Potential XM Roles for CIOs

I recently hosted a webinar “Experience Management in Uncertain Times: Tips for the CIO.” We had a great panel discussion with Michael Golz, Chief Information Officer of SAP Americas along with Tim Greulich, Managing Director, XM Practice Leader and Kashif Rahamatullah, Principal from Deloitte.

The discussion centered around how IT leaders can and should think about Experience Management (XM), especially given all of the recent COVID-driven changes to customers and employees. I won’t try and recap the entire discussion (you should watch the webinar), but here are some of my top of mind thoughts from the session.

Four Ps for CIOs to Think About

We started by talking about the recent environment and then went on to discuss the role of the CIO as a transformational leader. I capture some of the key elements of our discussion in these “Four Ps” that CIOs and IT leaders need to think about:

  • Pulse: They need to get a handle on significant changes to their employees (with many of them working from home and needing increasing levels of IT support), and customers (who are changing their demands which are shifting project priorities). Rather than waiting for problems to occur, they need to find ways to proactively gather and respond to feedback from many people.
  • Pivot: They need to make changes faster than normal, since quarterly decision cycles don’t support this type of fast-changing environment. This requires examining and sharing insights much more frequently than they’ve been doing in the past.
  • Personalize: The need to use the data they have to provide more personalized experiences to different segments of their stakeholders. This requires a better handle on what people are thinking and feeling, which we refer to as experience data (X-data).
  • Protect: They need to get control of the growing use of XM-related tools that people are using across their organization to collect X-data. This distributed data collection increases risk, as the data can include PII which may not be GDPR compliant. It also decreases the usefulness of the data since groups aren’t able to share, and increases costs as each group pays separate licenses and builds un-leverageable skills.

Three Capabilities Enabled by XM

I discussed a bit about the capabilities of XM, and why it’s an even more important capability during periods of rapid change. That’s because XM is all about sensing and responding to signals about what people are thinking and feeling, the X-data. As organizations build more mature XM programs, they are better able to:

  • Continuously Learn. XM helps organizations more effectively sense and interpret what’s going on all around them, collecting and analyzing signals from the actions and feedback of employees, partners, vendors, customers, and even competitors.
  • Propagate Insights. XM helps organizations put actionable intelligence in the hands of people across their ecosystem who can use it, creating seamless access to the right information in the right form at the right time.
  • Rapidly Adapt. XM helps organizations act on the insights they’ve uncovered at an increasingly faster pace, finding ways to create new experiences and renovate existing ones.

Three Potential XM Roles for CIOs

What would a CIO do if they walked into a company and all of the core financial or HR data existed in individual spreadsheets across the organization? They’d immediately start plans for an enterprise application to manage the data and to establish common processes and controls. Well, that’s the current environment with X-data; it’s everywhere, growing, and uncontrolled. Given this environment, we discussed three types of roles that a CIO could take on when it comes to XM:

  • Ignorer: They can choose to stay on the sidelines with XM. As a result, they run the risk of a proliferation of XM technologies, under-protected PII, and growing inefficiencies across the organization. 
  • Platformer: They can see their role as providing an XM platform to consolidate the technology overhead and build more scalable capabilities across their organization. As an initial step, they can inventory all of the technology and X-data being used across the organization. The most successful platformers will establish an enterprise-wide XM platform that holds the single source of truth for all of the company’s X-data. 
  • Transformer: They can recognize that the capabilities of XM will alter how organizations compete, and decide to lead the infusion of XM across their organization. As a start, they can use XM within their IT organization to engage their employees and better serve their internal customers. The more forward-thinking transformers will take a leading role in pushing the entire organization to adopt XM.

The bottom line: CIOs need to play a key role in XM (and watch the webinar)

Written by 

I'm an experience (XM) management catalyst; helping organizations improve results by engaging the hearts and minds of their employees, customers, and partners. I enjoy researching and speaking about leading-edge XM topics. I lead the Qualtrics XM Institute, which is the world's best job. We're igniting a global community of XM Professionals who are inspired and empowered to radically improve the human experience. To achieve this goal, my team focuses on thought leadership, training, and community building. My work is driven by a set of fundamental beliefs: 1) Everything starts and ends with human beings, so you need to understand how people think, feel, and behave; 2) XM is a discipline that needs to be woven throughout an organization's entire operating fabric; and 3) Building the XM discipline requires a combination of culture, competency, and technology.

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