Customer experience can no longer be separated from technology. Realising this superannuation company Sunsuper has created a group which combines the two.

Teifi Whatley is the Executive GM Customer & Technology Sunsuper, a role which combines the responsibilities of the CMO and the CIO.

“The rationale behind bringing a group together called customer and technology was really to say ‘it begins and ends with the customer experience and no longer can you separate the customer experience from technology,” Whatley said during a panel discussion at the Gartner Symposium on the Gold Coast today.

The company formed a single group which is accountable for customers and experience design, clearly defining the ownership of customer experience within the organisational structure.

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The decision reflects the increasingly digital influence on customer journeys and the services they demand.

“If you think about design of experience and adopting design-led thinking you have got to have technology in the room at the same time,” Whatley said.

Whatley comes from the marketing side of the business, prior to her current job she was the executive for the company’s marketing, customer experience, and insights and analytics teams – a position which developed over 15 years with the company.

While she admits she isn’t a technologist, Whatley argued her role as a leader is not to get bogged down in the technical detail but to encourage her team of technologists to “really think about how do we add value for customers.”

“Yes I have had to do some extra reading, but I will not immerse myself in it. I will be guided by the people who I have around me. So when they talk about hyper-converged infrastructure or 3PAR-something-or-rather I do sort of go ‘help me out here’,” she said.

“But it’s not that hard because really my questions come back to: what value is that adding for customers, and what value is that adding for our business? If they can confidently answer those questions they will have my support in whatever it is we need to do.”

Earlier this year Danielle Uskovic the Head of Digital & Social at Lenovo Asia Pacific, wrote about the emerging role of the Chief Marketing Technologist (CMT)

A bridge between IT and marketing, CMTs “apply their expertise to integrate technology, data, and action toward audience engagement to impact the company’s bottom line,” Uskovic writes.

“The CMT combines a hybrid skill set with a tech-oriented vision for marketing. They create a cross-functional collaboration among IT and marketing executives and departments.”

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