06 Mar 2013

How the IT department shapes your company's reputation

The performance of the IT department and its systems has always played a role in a company’s reputation. This has traditionally centered around business continuity – if highly visible systems that support customer service or telephony functions fail, the damage is serious and immediate. But emerging trends both increase the number and area of reputational risks IT is exposed to, and provide the opportunity for more positive contributions to a company’s reputation. Get the basics right Crucial customer portals, telephony systems and website infrastructure simply cannot be allowed to fail. Build redundancies into your networks, employ mirrored servers, plan contingencies for outages and have a comprehensive disaster recovery plan in place to ensure that there are as few interruptions as possible, and they last only as long as is needed. Stay on top of security If you’re storing customer information, it must be ultra-secure. Ensure you’ve got access to security expertise within the company, or from consultants, and actively monitor your networks for threats and breaches. Stay abreast of the latest enterprise security trends and threats, and plan proactively to prevent security breaches. Push social engagement The IT department is no longer managing risk in the back office. It’s time to take your place behind the counter positively contributing to the company’s reputation, driving customer engagement and developing new revenue streams. Social media is a space most companies can’t afford not to be in this year, and it’s not purely something to be left to the marketing department. If you haven’t already done it get key marketing, C-level and IT people into a series of meetings about how you’re going to use social media to increase your mind-share among customers, address customer service concerns, generate positive sentiment in your target market and drive sales through online and mobile channels.