CIOs must put the customer first

2014 has to be the year of the customer, or else CIOs will soon become extinct, warns Mark Samuels.

This leads us to the final reason why a focus on CIO and business integration is a misnomer: to most CIOs, "the business" should no longer be their main concern. Some IT leaders feel their priority is day-to-day operational IT concerns. But smart CIOs recognise their relevancy lies elsewhere.

The most successful businesses in the digital age pay constant attention to their customers' demands. They take an open and agile approach, tailoring products and services to the needs of an individual client.

Engaged customers use technology as their communication channel. And engaged executives listen to such channels, spreading key management information to the rest of the business. The CIO, as the master of all things informational, should hold the key to translating customer demands.

But many CIOs have a long way to go, as demonstrated by the fact that some observers still think IT leaders must pay attention to business integration. For successful CIOs, 2014 must be the year the customer comes first.

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