ACN INVESTIGATES: People, processes trump technology

Business processes should drive technology adoption, says conference's keynote speaker

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ACN INVESTIGATES: People, processes trump technology Zaman: You need to first make sure that the right business processes are in place
By  Tom Paye Published  May 14, 2015

People and processes are more important to achieving great customer service than technology is, according to Safdar Zaman, head of IT strategy and governance at Nakheel.

Speaking at yesterday's ACN Investigates event, the first in a new series of Arabian Computer News conferences, Zaman said that IT leaders tend to consider technology first, and try to use the technology to drive people and processes. However, he opined that this was the wrong way of thinking about things, and that people and processes and should drive technology implementations.

"People and processes are more important than technology," he said.

"To achieve good customer experiences, you need to first make sure that the right business processes are in place, and then make sure that your people follow those processes. After that, you need to find the right technology to support the people and processes."

Zaman was delivering the keynote speech at the first ACN Investigates, which focused on maintaining customer experiences through IT. In his presentation, he explained that there are six key factors to enhancing customer experience - business processes, providing a personalised experience, unifying customer service channels, reducing customer effort, using big data, and pursuing other technologies that impact customer experience.

Later on in the day, Zaman reiterated these points in panel discussion moderated by Mustafa Faisal Ahmed, co-founder and CTO at, and lecturer on E-Commerce and Digital Strategies at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals. Other panel members included Madhu Pajeer, team leader for service delivery at Masdar, and Samir Khan, regional information systems manager at African + Eastern.

The panel's first point was to do with how focused IT should be on their businesses' customers. In general, Ahmed said, businesses are encouraged to be "obsessed" with their customers, though that obsession often gets diluted as the organisation expands and operations become more complex.

Pajeer and Zaman both agreed that IT should be as obsessed with the customer as the rest of the business. African + Eastern's Khan, however, had a different take. He agreed that customer service should be held in high regard among IT leaders, though he also advised taking a more considered approach. He said that it would be prudent to focus on improving operations, and making sure that IT does a select few jobs very well, rather than trying to take on everything, including when it comes to customer service.

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