The Era of the IT Executive: 25 CIOs Speak Their Minds

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Chandra Venkataramani

Convergys Corporation

How does your vision of IT support your company’s mission?

IT is a core requirement of our business. Our biggest asset is our people who answer calls on behalf of our clients. IT’s job is to make sure we provide them with tools that work reliably and predictably so that they can do their job effectively.  The technology organization within Convergys starts and ends the day thinking of ways we can help our core business operations. The business of call centers is, to a large extent, an efficiency play. We need to make sure we schedule our agents to come in and be ready to answer the phones when the calls are expected to come in. The forecasting of those calls, scheduling the right agents to come in and have those calls routed to them efficiently are all functions of our technology infrastructure. If we don’t have the agents with the right skills scheduled to be present and answer those calls, the callers could be waiting on hold for a long time causing dissatisfaction and brand erosion for our clients. Our team is constantly looking for ways to improve how we do each of the above-mentioned functions to improve customer satisfaction and brand loyalty for our customers. My job is to make sure that each and every person on our team believes in the same thing and understands the importance of a reliable and efficient technology infrastructure and works toward providing that to our agents.

What have you done to help technology enhance business?

Over the past few years, the IT team has made a conscious effort to get closer to the business. Our team is one of the best in the industry. Many of our IT people have been with the company a long time. Having said that, it is important for them to understand exactly what our agents go through on a daily basis. During the initial few months of my tenure, it was important to me that our team, from top to bottom, understood that. A number of our team members spent time at the call center experiencing first-hand what our agents do on a daily basis. They came back with a different perspective and ideas to help the company do our job better, by providing better solutions for the operations of the call center. We have developed a number of applications that have been touted by magazines like Information Week as “Best Ideas to Steal.” We have some of the best tools to help our associates do their job in an efficient manner. That wouldn’t have been possible without understanding the pain of the user. 

How do you move away from a transactional relationship to one that is more collaborative with your business partners?

One word – TRUST. If the business partners believe that we have their best interest and success at heart, there is no reason for them to doubt our capabilities. At Convergys, the IT organization works hard at earning that trust from our business partners every day and maintaining that. In most organizations, IT is looked at as a necessary evil. Our job is to make sure that the investment that the company is willing to make in IT is put to use in the best possible manner and deliver the benefits the business is looking for from those investments. If the business trusts the technology organization and knows that we have their back, approvals for projects get easier and more time is spent on developing great solutions for our core operations than in justifying why we need investment. We fully understand that we have to prove our mettle. Every organization makes mistakes. We have been very successful in minimizing those mistakes and when we do make them, the business collaborates with us to fix it. That’s what I call a true partnership and we have that here at Convergys.

 

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The Era of the IT Executive: 25 CIOs Speak Their Minds

23 of 27

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