Getting What You Want: Satisfied Customers

Achieving tight, highly integrated business relationships is the cornerstone strategy in achieving a world-class business/IT partnership. As IT organizations (ITOs) evolve from cost centers to centers of innovation and value in the eyes of their line-of-business (LOB) clients, top-notch CIOs use structured, building-block approaches to accelerate the evolution of their ITOs.

Currently, although 60%+ of Global 2000 firms have appointed business relationship managers (e.g., customer service representatives, business analysts), fewer than 15% of Global 2000 firms have achieved Phase 2 business relationship management, where the CIO is not the primary liaison between the business and the ITO.

By applying proven relationship management techniques, this number should grow to 35% through 2005 and to 60%+ by 2008. More importantly, through the exchange of best practices and lessons learned, by 2006, 25%+ of Global 2000 firms (versus the current 2%) will achieve Phase 3 business relationship management, where a customer-focused center of excellence is accountable and responsible for the health of business/IT partnerships.

During the past year, our research surveyed in great detail 18 ITOs that have made the successful transition from a Phase 2 level of business relationship management to a Phase 3 relationship (the highest possible level).

Based on these findings, achieving high levels of customer satisfaction boils down to two important questions summarized in one singular metric.


As demonstrated in consumer retail research (Reichheld, 2001), loyalty is highly correlated to profitable growth and to a business’s willingness to partner with an ITO. The challenge has always been in measuring future loyalty — that is, the willingness of the customer to re-engage in future IT services. As IT becomes more pervasive and familiar to business users everywhere, IT products and services become like general consumer commodities.

With cycle times diminishing, street-smart CIOs can now take advantage of known consumer metrics and methods.