Sr. IT Architect for Cross-Channel Customer Experience

Patty's Dream Team: Roles and Responsibilities You'll Need for Your Customer-Centric Organization

October 7, 2004

In order to deliver a great cross-channel experience to customers and partners, you’ll need to have a seasoned IT architect who is responsible for designing and evolving your application Architecture, services, and middleware to be customer adaptive. We call this role a senior IT architect for cross-channel customer experience. He or she should be “tied at the hip” to your SVP of customer experience and should lead a small team of senior architects. This Architecture team should be leading the transformation of all of your customer-impacting applications, databases, platforms, and middleware to ensure that customers’ current and future needs are met. This is the Architecture team that will redesign much of your IT application infrastructure from the outside in.


In this series of reports, we offer a set of roles and responsibilities that we have found to be essential to transform companies from being inward facing to being customer adaptive. If you want your company to be easy to do business with, it’s time to rethink the way you have organized for success.

In this report, we explore a role that most companies haven’t thought about—a senior IT architect responsible for designing or evolving the applications architecture that will give your customers and partners a seamless experience as they interact with your firm across channels and interaction touchpoints. Your senior IT architect for cross-channel customer experience (senior CX architect) should support your SVP of customer experience (or equivalent). Together, they will be evolving much of your company’s IT infrastructure toward a more adaptive, customer-proactive, service-oriented architecture.

What are you looking for in a senior CX architect? You’re looking for someone with lots of in-the-trenches experience, but with little arrogance. He or she needs to win respect and cooperation. We recommend a person who has at least two decades of experience as an IT architect. Ideally, you want someone who has a strong background in the design, deployment, and evolution of distributed object systems. Someone with that background will know how to design and evolve robust applications that are services based—applications that can be easily adapted to address customers’ changing requirements. Taking a services-based approach to your applications and middleware portfolio will make it easier to reuse and recombine application functionality across interaction touchpoints and channels, so that customers will have a more seamless experience.

Your senior CX architect should lead a small team of architects who can be distributed across your major customer-impacting IT projects. This architecture team should evolve and maintain a core set of services that can and should be leveraged across customer segments, product lines, and interaction and distribution channels. Your senior CX architect should also have the last say in the specification and selection of any packaged applications and platforms whose functionality impacts end customers.

If your IT shop is operationally focused and project focused, you should place this architecture team outside of your traditional IT organization and give the CX architecture team responsibility for the design and evolution of all future customer-impacting applications and services. If yours is an enlightened, customer-centric, agile IT organization, your senior CX architect may fit right into that organization...


Also see:

 “Key Role: SVP of Cross-Channel Customer Experience (or Equivalent),” originally published August 26, 2004 and updated in 2011.


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