Verizon Business Markets CIO: We Have to Humanize Technology

The CIO of Verizon Business Markets, which is Verizon's small business segment says that "We have to humanize technology."...
Verizon Business Markets CIO: We Have to Humanize Technology
Written by Rich Ord
  • The CIO of Verizon Business Markets, which is Verizon’s small business segment, says that “We have to humanize technology.” What Rajeev Chandrasekharan is talking about is Verizon’s push internally to modernize the customer experience and to make it less frustrating.

    The Verizon Business Markets CIO says that they are modernizing and becoming more customer-centric with the help of Salesforce CRM and other tools. Their goal is to ensure that the customer’s concerns and information follow the customer, regardless of who at Verizon the customer is speaking with.

    Rajeev Chandrasekharan, CIO of Verizon Business Markets, recently discussed how they are reimagining the customer experience at the Dreamforce conference in San Francisco:

    The Three Pillars for Industry Transformation

    Our industry is seeing a lot of need for transformation and if you really look at it there are three different pillars. One is we’re engineered for scale and not for speed to market. We do something well and we are big and now that whole equation is changing with needing to get to the market quickly with products. The second aspect is we’ve been around for a while and use different kinds of technologies and we need to refresh them so we need to start using some of the cooler capabilities that exist.

    Lastly, there’s a lot of pressure on us with all the other industries, the digital unicorns, trying to provide this amazing customer experience and it’s not good enough now just to provide service or be a commodity. The intersection of those three needs is creating a need for a huge digital transformation.

    My role here in Verizon Business Markets is while we launch new products try to build digital business and try to leverage all of this technology and customer experience while we penetrate newer customer segments.

    Verizon Business Markets in the Midst of a Digital Transformation

    Generally, when you do a digital transformation there’s a lot of work and a lot of investment and the question companies always have is how much is it worth to go change everything that I’ve done? Luckily for us since we have multiple business units we pick the small business unit and said we see a tremendous potential here for new products and for penetration of the market so the investment is well justified. So go, do not compromise on things, drive this digital mobile first omnichannel thinking to the extreme and build something that’s like a beacon for all the other business units to follow.

    We’ve taken this to a place where revenue is going to be generated and when you have a promise of being able to grow the top-line it’s easy to justify all the work that goes into it. The other aspect is we’ve got a lot of buy-in from the top on trying to do things differently, so we’ve tried to put together a few rules of how we want to operate. We call them the big rules. Then build on that, where we’re trying to make sure the whole organization is saying, don’t fall into the trap of doing things the old way and make sure we focus on these big rules. Culturally and then opportunity wise Verizon Business Markets, the small business segment, becomes a fantastic place to try out this concept and we’re going all-out.

    This is a Customer-Centric Digital Transformation

    This is a customer-centric digital transformation. We started with the customer, we looked at the product research, we looked at the capabilities and then we decided what platform we wanted and what processes we can change. We also challenged ourselves by saying that we need to break our own rules and do something different. For example, if you’re going to get into a house differently and you can’t get to through the window, you can’t build another door, you can’t break in and you have got to use the key, then different about it? We challenge ourselves to break those rules.

    That customer in mindset is what we are struggling with and that’s the one thing I would say that we didn’t have, the digital native aspect, the customer-centric aspect as much. We have that in our service, in our network, and in our products, we have amazing stuff. When we top it off with this we’re going to be in a good place.

    We Have to Humanize Technology

    I think we have amazing products and services so innovation is constantly going to happen there. The two things that I see is operations are going to become digital with artificial intelligence and those sort of new age technologies, which is very important for you to be competitive in the marketplace or you’re not going to survive against your competition. Then, the most important thing is the way you go to deliver capabilities to a customer.

    We have to humanize technology. The customer is basically saying what do you think, what do you say, what do you do, and we then turn it into some garble technology talk. We need to operate as a digital entity and make the customer feel like we as a company are doing one-on-one personal services for you in think, say, and do.

    We’re giving you intelligent recommendations, executing your orders, and we are communicating with you effectively. That is going to almost take you back to the olden days of manual stuff which were one-on-one but without the human and instead with technology. That is the sweet spot for us going forward.

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