Putting the "Information" Back into Information Technology

Sam Jebeli-Javan, VP of Global Consumer Technology, Citi

Putting the "Information" Back into Information Technology

What does I.T. really mean? In this presentation, Sam Jebeli-Javan discusses the concept that information -- specifically, client-oriented information -- should be the focus of any enterprise. He shares what truly links all successful companies is an unrelenting curiosity and maniacal focus on the needs of the clients. Those companies that consistently rise above others are the ones that methodically invest in and innovate on information. How are you doing that in your company? Are you doing enough? Can you do too much?

Watch the video now:

Following are a few highlights from Sam's XD talk:

So that's why it's called "Emphasizing the I in IT," because people say information technology. And when you say what IT is, people talk about who's setting the computers, fixing the printer, setting up infrastructure. There's very little emphasis on what that "I" used to be, which was, We will figure out a way to actually appreciate and evolve with the information that we have at our computers about our surroundings, about the economy, about anything, to make that part of our business model and enrich it and evolve it.

When we talk about agile, data analytics, artificial intelligence, and the lean startup mentality, learning, and machine learning, it all is about better understanding of information. But none of this can happen on its own.

Information, specifically client-oriented information, should be the focus of any enterprise.

Processing massive amounts of data is now available to those that have the imagination, empathy, and dedication to use it. In other words, you've got the processing power now. That is done. That's not a differentiator for anybody. A little startup can access the Amazon cloud. Someone else can install Microsoft Excel and start getting their business case built. There isn't a differentiator in having amazing tech first.

The tech has to be applied to a problem, and how you measure that problem and the discipline you use around that problem and how you keep evolving that takes imagination, because you should be able to think broadly and conceptually about things and then do them, and then measure them and understand them.

You need empathy. What is it you're fixing for your customer? What was the problem? Did you identify the properly in the first place? Get in their head.

And dedication, because it's not going to be an easy fix. It's not going to be something you do in even 12 months or whatever. It's going to be iteratively monthly, monthly changes. Maybe even faster if you get good at it.

Have a process to understand the needs of your clients, current and potential ... Deepen that relationship. Understand them, and focus on them. Don't be like, "We've got you through the door. You're not a problem anymore. We're going to market to the next guys." If you deepen that relationship, you're going to have a better understanding of those people and actually build on greatness in what you have.

That's a lot of the mentality I see in the IT sort of approach to things where the T is the dominant thing. We could be using the old thing and patching it, and it's working, and it's not breaking down, and people are like, "But that's old. One day, it will break." But okay, let's measure that one day. Let's assess the risks. Let's understand what it is and figure out what parts of that can stay the way they are. That way you are getting the most out of your investments, and you're not always chasing your tail on the depreciation of what you've put in.

If it's working, figure out what's working and then build on that, because it's about your customer, not about your technology.

Being agile means having a true north based on a measurable customer need and solid information. Because your information is as good as it is today. It's going to have to get better all the time and more accurate.

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About XD Leadership Alliance

The mission of the XD Leadership Alliance is to recognize and connect industry thought leaders in the fields of design, technology, research, product and marketing. As customer experience continues to be the top driver of digital transformation for organizations, experience-driven (XD) businesses are leading the way in increasing market share and delivering greater ROI. The new ideas and collaborative efforts of the XD Leadership Alliance are aimed at keeping us at the forefront of this vital economic initiative.

For more information and to get involved, visit the XD Leadership Alliance now at experiencedriven.com.