My fiancé and I started house hunting about 2 months ago. Technology has dramatically changed the way you search for and purchase a house. I’m searching the app at unhealthy levels trying to find the newest listings faster than my real estate agent can. We are able to sign and deliver an offer letter right from our smartphones. It’s so smooth and easy—is buying a house really this painless?

Then the negotiations begin. Even with all the developments and investments in the best technology, there are always unforeseen roadblocks that can keep you from closing the deal. The seller wants a letter of financing approval before giving a counter offer? The seller doesn’t want to compensate for the lack of hurricane shutters? Big deal in south Florida…

As we’ve worked with IT teams over the past two years, we’ve seen that the biggest obstacles that put projects in jeopardy are not technology-related—they are people-related. We’ve partnered with several organizations to help them shift to a customer-centric mindset and change the way they solve problems, develop solutions, and deliver experiences. It is critical to put people—technology end users—at the center of the table.

I understand the technology. I have a whole team that can implement Citrix. What I need help with is the people part. — Citrix Customer

In past blog posts, we’ve discussed customer-centricity trends and given you some tools to get started. In the true spirit of customer experience, though, you won’t be fully prepared without uncovering the potential roadblocks that could stop you from reaching your goals and, then, developing a plan to address them before they become huge, project-delaying, adoption-halting issues.

“OK, fine,” you might be saying, “but how do we DO that?!”

Now that the suspense is killing you, here are the top 5 challenges we’ve seen IT teams face when shifting to a customer-centric mindset:

1. Connecting to end users

IT is often asked to solve problems for people they feel like they don’t really have access to. This results in low adoption and increased frustrations around new technology rollouts, which requires IT to go back to the drawing board. It’s difficult to be customer-centric without involving your customers—the end users—in the solution process. Go talk to them; understand how they use technology.

2. Successful change management

Many organizations have a formal change management process. But there is a big difference between following the process and winning over the hearts and minds of the people you are creating change for. When you implement a new technology or a different way of working, consider building your coalition and getting in front of end users before starting the process, so you can increase your project’s chances of success.

3. Gaining executive buy-in

Executives struggle with competing priorities and many have investors and shareholders to answer to, so convincing them to make an organizational shift without years of data to prove business impact can seem like an impossible summit to reach. Start small, create a minimal viable product, and test your plan with end users to gain evidence of success before going to ask buy-in and investment.

4. Busting silos

Creating change or making any kind of team or organizational shift takes open, transparent and consistent communication. If you work in a world of tall silos and political hurdles, you are not alone. Customer-centricity is the ultimate silo-buster. When you put the end user’s pain in the center of the room, it doesn’t matter what individual priorities are—you’re all centered around and solving for the same pain.

5. Changing the perception of IT

IT is commonly thought of as a “keeping the lights on” organization. They just make technology work and whenever something goes wrong, it’s always IT’s fault. You want to be recognized as innovative and to partner with the business to help them reach their desired outcomes. Focus on the end user—your customers—and you’ll be able to provide insights back to the business that they were not aware of, enabling them to make better decisions.

These are some of the challenges that every organization will face at one point or another. Whether you’re redesigning the workplace or expanding your business, change can be unpredictable. But when you put end users first and shift to a customer-centric mindset, you unify the team and the organization around the same goal. Buying the best technology is an important decision, and of course we want that to be Citrix, but ultimately we want IT to be successful in maximizing their investment. Understanding these roadblocks and creating a plan of action before they become project-stoppers will set you up for success in the long-run.   

Join us next time for stories on how we’ve co-innovated with organizations to overcome these obstacles and positioned IT as customer-centric organizations.

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