Any executive can say they place great priority on customer experience (CX). In fact, 74% of executives state their top 2015 priority is improving CX. And if you’re a Forrester client, you know – thanks to our ongoing research – that doing so will drive greater customer acquisition and loyalty.

But saying CX is a priority is easy, making it actionable speaks volumes. Frankly, if your firm isn’t taking action to relentlessly pursue CX improvement, to become customer obsessed, you’re making a mistake.

Those actions give CIOs and their teams an incredible opportunity. Technology empowers your customers, members, clients, and buyers today. And your business leaders need you to expand beyond using technology to support or transform internal operations – what we call the IT agenda. Today, business leaders need your help to compete for customer loyalty. Today, business leaders need you and your teams to help them apply technology, systems,and process to win, serve, and retain customers– the business technology (BT) agenda.

Executing on the BT agenda gives you and your team the opportunity to make the biggest, most visible contribution to your firm I can think of – top line growth. Keep three things in mind as you strive to take advantage of this opportunity:

  1. Embrace a metric focused on CX impact. ROI, EBITDA contribution, and other portfolio metrics still matter. But your CMO and other business leaders likely have begun turning their attention to CX metrics such as Net Promoter Scores (NPS) or our own Customer Experience Index. They want to see the impact of their decisions on customer acquisition and loyalty. You should embrace these same metrics and measure the CX impact of your project portfolio.
  2. Develop new CX skills.Your team likely has strong architecture and engineering skills, but those skills were honed when your business needed you to relentlessly focus on consolidation and costs. If you want to improve CX, you need to design from the outside-in. CX skills and techniques such as journey mapping and data-driven design help you design from the outside-in and give your delivery teams the types of challenging requirements they crave to work on.

Take a modern approach to building new competitive advantage.Would you be comfortable if your firm outsourced its competitive advantage? I wouldn’t. I’ve also talked to a number of business and technology leaders that wouldn’t be comfortable deferring their CX completely to 3rd party agencies and consultancies. Put your team in a great position to help your firm deliver a new BT agenda fueled competitive advantage by embracing agile ways of working – from project funding and staffing through to delivery. Don’t just keep pace with your business, help your business keep pace with its fast changing customers, and their faster changing expectations.