Transforming Business Technology to Enhance Customer Experience

John Schanz, EVP & Chief Network Officer, Comcast Cable
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Cable-Using Flexible Cloud-based Approach

The cloud is one of today’s biggest disruptive forces. Cable was historically about customized discrete physical  equipment, such as coded set-top boxes and cable modems. We are now moving to a flexible, software-driven, cloud-based approach so we can offer more  services, better interactions with the customer and a more consistent experience with products and our self-service systems.Our network and platforms contain a  large repository of rich media content; we are making that available to customers wherever and whenever they want. Cloud technology enables us to do this. Richer  hybrid public and private cloud integration with stateful, more secure, and predictable performance will ignite more use cases.

"Customer needs are driving technology development and we are working to create more intelligent solutions to serve people beyond the physical address"

Working with Technology Partners to Build Solutions

Comcast is large scale and complex, there are many things we would like to do for which no ready-made, of-theshelf solution exists. In some cases,  we must build it ourselves. For example, last year we identified a need for a customer self-service system that would integrate everything about a customer’s account and make it available online in a format that is easy for the customer to use. When we could not find that in the marketplace, we worked with a technology partner to    expand an existing system to do everything we wanted. As we continue to transform our company to enhance the customer experience, we will likely find more cases  where we cannot find solutions that integrate a wide variety of customer data to give us a seamless view and customer interactions with less friction.

Turning “Big Data” into Actionable Information

In the old days, technology tended to lead customers. Now, that is reversed. Customer needs are driving technology development. So we are working to create more  intelligent solutions to serve people beyond the physical address, to meet customers wherever they are, and support the digital family or business. Another major  trend is being able to turn “Big Data” into “big actionable information” at high velocity so we understand what the huge volume of data we have means in business  terms, and then leverage that insight to create products and services that delight customers.

My Role as a CIO

Senior technology leaders must now be much more integrated into the business. Long gone are the days when you could operate in your own silo, and just build and run technology systems. You really have to understand the business and how the technology you manage helps the business grow and provides best-in-class customer experiences. You have to be far more collaborative, lean and agile so you can move quickly to keep up with the fastchanging business environment.

My Word for a CIO

Always solicit the viewpoints and perspectives of your colleagues, and surround yourself with the best and brightest individuals you can find, and always hear them  out. You may be an outstanding engineer or technologist, but if you don’t secure many views from outside your normal operating parameters you can easily miss very  important information, because not everything is in the raw material you are analyzing. This can lead to costly mistakes. You have to remember that all the answers should not come from you. Diversity and collaboration provide the forum for the best decision-making outcome. Customer-lead results that create a pull model are   usually the best.

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