In the world of pings, texts, and way too much email, connecting face-to-face with your coworkers is more important than ever. People are working with teams all over the world, and in some cases, they never meet in person. But the ability to look someone in the eye during a meeting is an essential part of building trust and rapport.
Harry Moseley is the CIO of Zoom, an audio and video communications solution for companies everywhere. Being at the helm of a technology used by so many IT teams has given Harry a unique perspective on how IT has evolved in our increasingly tech-centered world. Here’s what he had to say about the role of the CIO and how IT helps move work forward:
How do you view the role of the CIO today?
Harry: CIOs have the ability to impact the organization in amazing ways because we see the art of the possible.
When we have a seat at the table with all functions, including marketing, HR, and finance, we can help build systems that deliver insights and move the business forward. And this goes beyond work on infrastructure or conferencing, by the way.
For example, look at what Domino’s has done. They realized that their customers wanted to order online and via mobile, so they completely overhauled that functionality to enable customers to to have a delightful ordering experience.
This is a complete shift in the mindset. It’s not just about making sure the infrastructure is stable so that they could build a platform on top of it, it’s thinking through the best experience for everyone that touches the site, and how it’s implemented in every store.
CIOs see the art of the possible.
The old IT mindset focuses on, “Make it so that mobile ordering exists”, and takes a purely technological approach to the solution. But someone who is looking for what could be sees the opportunity to make something like mobile ordering a more pleasant, human experience.
What skills do IT people need to make the transition to this new mindset?
Harry: You have to know the ins and the outs of your product, and how your customers are using it. You can’t design systems to enable the business if you don’t fundamentally understand what your business is delivering to customers.
It’s about more than just understanding your own skills or the deliverables from your own team. You need to be able to think about how your projects influence the rest of the business and your customers’ experience.
How should IT partner with other business functions, like sales?
Harry: IT leaders need to understand sales and marketing, because people in those departments are on the front lines of telling customers about the value of your product and your company.
I once sat on a sales call with one of our reps as he was going through the standard pitch deck with a potential customer. We landed on a slide talking about all the different types of communication tools that many organizations use. The potential customer mentioned that they don’t use any of these tools, they use only one audio conferencing tool.
They don’t care if most companies use three or more tools, they only care about the differences between what you’re offering and what they already have. So understanding that disconnect by listening and adapting is key when dealing with external or internal customers. Knowing information about your customers’ pain points is the first step to delivering value.
Customers don’t care about benchmarks, they care about what they need from your product.
What role does data play in the evolution of IT?
Harry: We’re being asked to do more than just collect and deliver data — we need to shape it so that it gives insight. I heard a great phrase recently, “We have an ocean of data, but a desert of insight”, and I think this is so true.
It’s about more than just packaging up metrics or reports, it’s about making the product interactions smooth and seamless.
For example, if your data conveys that people tend to have long 1 on 1 chat conversations in your product, you could then design a notification that notices when long chat threads are going on, and suggests those two people have a meeting instead. The technology should have the ability to guide that conversation to the appropriate channel. That’s the hallmark of a great product.
As we think about how IT can enable the business going forward, we need to think beyond the standard use cases for the information that we collect and share with our internal stakeholders.
In addition to the new data requests, how else have IT processes changed recently?
Harry: I’m seeing the trend that IT is becoming much more agile. We don’t have time for long, drawn-out projects, and we don’t have time for the traditional RFP process when looking at who to partner with. IT used to have a bit of analysis paralysis, taking months to vet potential vendors and going through a bunch of steps to make a decision.
Today, they need to be able to try a product or process, and if it works, keep moving with it. If it doesn’t work, they need to be able to make the decision quickly to move on and try the next set of tools or frameworks until they find what works for your team.
Zoom is an Atlassian partner who recently launched an integration with Jira Service Desk Cloud. With this integration, you can start a video meeting within the Jira Service ticket with the click of a button. Meet happy and resolve issues faster!