Customer-centric IT

Today’s guest is Chris Pesola in part one of a two part episode around Customer-centric IT. Listen in to hear Chris talk about the Customer-centric IT model he champions in his current company and the benefits of a cloud system. Chris will touch on application churn in IT and how the cloud can help with the churn in a Customer-centric IT model as well as the security implications. Part two of this episode is here.

Guest Background

IT career of over 20 years

  • IBM PC Jr and taught himself how to code in basic
  • Wanted to be a teacher originally and graduated with a teaching degree
  • By the time he graduated, he realized he didn’t want to be a teacher
  • Went into consulting and owes a lot to it
  • After a while travel gets old and he bailed on consulting and went into the word of business IT

Customer-centric IT

  • “An evolution that ended with a realization that others were doing the same thing” – Chris Pesola
  • Developed in line with customer needs
  • Consumerization of IT has brought smarter (or those who think they are smarter) into the workforce and to the IT table
  • Everyone has a computer or a phone now which is way different than it was 20 years ago. You have to have respect for this new normal
  • It’s a matter of listening to your customers and understanding what they need. Its not about saying yes to everything
  • These days IT focused on short cycles and short gaps
  • What used to take 5-10 years for an ERP install for example, people expect 30-90 day implementations
  • It’s less about getting it perfect and more about getting it done or to a point of acceptance…because “in today’s world, nothing is ever done” – Chris Pesola
  • People want something quick and easy to use. Employees coming into workforce using Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat and those are the expectations
  • iPhone is a good example of an environment easy to use and accepted. “As easy as it is to use the iPhone, that is as easy as it should be to use the ERP system”…or at least the expectation
  • IT needs to keep up to avoid becoming the dinosaur
  • Sustainability of such a model is an evolution of technology being served up to everyone
  • Customer-centric IT model – It’s about asking what the business needs are to make sure the technology is meeting those needs
  • There is still a technology selection process. It may feel like a free for all, but it’s not
  • We are in an age now where if it (the piece of technology you are using) has a web browser, you can probably do your job

Application churn

  • Facebook for business was a perfect example of something that wouldn’t work for most people
  • People are buying and abandoning new apps quickly and often
  • Many bigger brands buy the smaller brands and either develop them further or flush them
  • There will be further consolidation as time goes along. It will be messy for a while and will likely be a cyclical change.
  • However, these changes could give people and business the ability to get what they need much faster
  • The economies of scale for many connections in a cloud environment help with the support as the more people who use it cause a reduction in the time it takes to find and resolve any issues

You can’t have an IT podcast without talking about security

  • The cloud itself is a great model to get people solutions much faster
  • A physical security mode allows you to see the hardware every day. So, you feel safer…
  • The ability to do updates without impact is key in a cloud environment. This includes security
  • By having all these companies using this cloud model, issues can be found and corrected faster due to the larger impact
  • The only thing “wrong” with having your system in the cloud is you can’t touch it
  • As far as security risks, it goes back to the same problems you would have with on-prem hardware/software…it’s the same users who would cause the problem. This includes end users as well as those with IT administrative access

The relationship with end users

  • Customer-centric IT gives you a better relationship with end users typically
  • Classic example is an old drop box breach where the breach was due to a person using the same password in multiple places. Bad guys got it from an obscure shopping site with bad security and used it all as many sites as possible…including dropbox. So, not a cloud issue…it’s a people issue
  • It’s an education discussion
  • Stick to a bottom line of “if you don’t ask, then we don’t know you are thinking a different way” – Chris Pesola
  • Not going to say yes every time, so be ok with it. But, if one in five come up with a really great idea, then it’s worth it.

IT Speak this episode:

  • ERP systems – Electronic Resource Planning – Basically, this is software which runs large business. It can include accounting and HR functions as well as offshoots such as payroll, purchasing and other business-speak processes. ERP Systems are extremely critical in businesses
  • Cloud – The nebulous cloud is essentially a shared space of computer power you rent each month. Some other business such as Microsoft, Google, Amazon, etc. maintains the gear and


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