Beyond a single view

Chee-Sing Chan
25 Jun 2012

As part of CSL's ongoing customer-focused transformation, its new CIO Stuart McDonald is focused on moving away from a corporate view of customers to seeing the company through the customers' eyes

Telecom Asia: What were the factors that led you to leave Cathay Pacific and take up the CIO role at CSL?

Stuart McDonald: Having served in a transformation role at Cathay, I was attracted to the prospect of being in a position at CSL to help set the direction of the business. Being commercially focused, I've always found it interesting to be in a role where I could have an influence on where the company is going.

The vision at CSL is to take a step away from the traditional position of the telecom market where the proposition is usually around a new device and the network service we offer and at a certain price Ð but instead focus on the customer relationship. We have a real desire to understand who they are and how to make their experiences as good as possible. There is a clear top-down commitment to this rather than a consultant just dropping in and saying we need to do things this way.

Customer-centricity seems to be an emerging top priority for CIOs today. Do you feel this is of equal importance in all sectors?

I think the importance varies depending on sectors, but one thing I notice at CIO events that I attend, the talks often showcase or start with the technology from the bottom up, and the customer experience is almost the last area for attention.

I think the technology industry as a whole and telecom to some extent is still blinkered in terms of where the customer priority should be. People in IT need to answer the question: Do they want a key role in determining the overall direction and strategy of the company?

At the end of the day, it's the customers that keep us in the business not whether we have the greatest back-end services and capabilities or we provide the best devices. It's all about how the customers can make use of these things in their life Ð without that it matters little to customers.

What are the specific objectives of the current transformation to customer-centricity?

This has been going on for some time. In reality IT started this on the systems side of things and my job is to try and bring that back to the customer experience, bring this back around the core business objectives and the processes around the customer.

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