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We have to work closer and work smarter

We can no longer expect users to blindly accept and to take on board what we provide,

I’m often reminded of a powerful conversation I once had, as a wet-behind-the-ears middle manager during my time at Sega Europe. When discussing the impact that an issue with a new console might have on our customer base, a then C Suite director looked at me with the straightest of faces and suggested that:

“In Japan, customers are proud to own our product even if it does not work.”

As the saying goes, it did not compute. Or at least, it did not translate to the European market. He may well have thought that the Japanese were proud to loyally support a brand through thick and thin, but in the UK, we’re more than happy to point at the failings, the imperfections, when expectations are not met.

As my team at the Clinical Research Network moves closer and closer to delivering a new system a great number of us have put too many years of our lives in to; the nature of the above conversation highlights the increased expectation levels that have been developed throughout the years which are both high and low.

At one point the Clinical Research Network system was viewed as the panacea for everything that was wrong about the proceeding systems; it would save all. Then talk of a proposed launch date – 1 April – was met with trepidation, for fear that it might be seen as the greatest April Fools gag of all time. How did we get to that point?

Maybe its best not to dwell on that, but rather to look at how we can restore some pride in what we deliver. For we are about to deliver a system that will transform how a great number of us will work. Yet it is only the beginning. Through listening, engaging and working with our customer base – our staff, our stakeholders – we can continue to deliver projects, change business processes and increase the usability of systems in a way that we have failed to do before. Failed to recognise, why we have failed?

Though pride is no longer enough. We need to continuously deliver improvements in how we work. We can no longer expect users to blindly accept and to take on board what we provide. Now we have to work closer, work smarter. We need to deliver what we set out to achieve and accept, that if we don’t, the dissenting voice will be the loudest, most powerful one of all.

We don’t have a world famous and much loved gaming hedgehog to hide behind; we don’t work in a market where nostalgia or hip hop lyrics are enough to keep our name in the spotlight. What we have is a dedicated team who can see, not just learn, where we went wrong, and, more importantly, how we will continue to beat the end level bosses of risk, issue and failure and finish with our names on top of the leader board.

True winners, every one of them.

About the author: Chris King is Deputy CIO of Clinical Research Network where he worked with CIO Richard Corbridge who has also written for Horizon. King spent the early years of this century as European Customer Services Manager at Sonic Hedgehog makers Sega

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