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Straight to the Top: CIO Leadership in a Mobile, Social, and Cloud-based World, 2nd Edition by Gregory S. Smith

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CHAPTER 4

Service Level Agreements

A Key to Improved Customer Expectations and Better Contracts

The talent of success is nothing more than doing what you can do, well.

—Henry W. Longfellow1

Customer service has new weight and focus for sales, marketing, IT, and communications professionals in a cloud-based, mobile, and social world. More than ever, teams need to pair up or work closely together as they hand off one service component to another, depending on the business and technical complexity. CIOs today must adopt new strategies and technologies to service their customers (internal and external) in the age of “mocial” (mobile computing intersecting with social media), often done in the cloud. This chapter provides some insights and recommendations for today's IT and business professionals.

Service in the Age of the Customer

CIOs today need to work more proactively with their C-level peers in leading with customer service. This applies to external customers and internal customers, or business users and staff. Forrester Research has called 2010 and beyond the “age of the customer.”2 Its report “Competitive Strategy in the Age of the Customer” described the following eras:

  • The age of manufacturing (1900–1960). Companies that owned a factory—like Ford, U.S. Steel, and RCA—owned the market.
  • The age of distribution (1960–1990). Businesses started globalizing, and retail moved into the suburbs in developed countries.
  • The age of information (1990–2010). Networked computers, the Internet, ...

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