If you stop looking at job titles and start looking at who controls what resources, you’ll come to an under-appreciated realization: nobody has more influence over the customer experience in most large organizations than the CIO, regardless of who is responsible for it on paper.

The days of IT being order takers and the people you call to fix your printer are long gone. The modern CIO is a strategic lynchpin and often in the driving seat when it comes to the digital transformation programs that are en vogue today.

They typically also own the platforms that enable or prevent your CX vision from becoming reality, and the systems that provide the data you need to measure the performance of your CX initiatives. With their support progress will be far easier. Without it you’ll be up a certain creek without a paddle. So what should you do?

Make the relationship with your CIO a priority. Listen, learn and share. Understand what makes their life easier and how you can work well together. Welcome them and their team to the CX table. Involve them as early as you can. Collaborate.

Treat them as a valuable partner and you'll reap the benefits.

Matt Watkinson

In 1967, a young architect set up a new firm. Starting from scratch in a London bedsit, they had no clients and just one lead - to design a toilet block for a dockyard.

He scheduled a meeting with the lone prospect, arriving well in advance with a camera and notepad. Observing the workers, he realized that relocating the block closer to the warehouses could improve productivity. Unfortunately this was impossible, he was told. The plan was already approved.

Undeterred, he secretly revisited the site several more times to come up with a workable solution; eventually realizing that a structure could be built on stilts between the warehouses. This would allow trucks to pass underneath, minimizing disruption.

At subsequent meetings, his impassioned, well-reasoned argument not only convinced the client to support the project, but to expand it into a full amenity center. The result was such a success that IBM commissioned him to design their new head office.

The man in question is now Sir Norman Foster — perhaps the most successful architect in the world.

The moral of the story: there are no boring, menial projects. With enough energy, curiosity and commitment, any piece of work can become a showcase for your skills that leads to new opportunities.

Matt Watkinson