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Technology in Business: How Use Cases Help Decision-Makers in a Top-Down Approach

IT leaders are under massive pressure to produce results in record time, particularly when pursuing large-scale initiatives such as digital transformation. Until recently, developers would often propose solutions to leadership in a bottom-up approach, but that trend is now changing. The C-suite is becoming better informed at an earlier stage about the strategic benefits of technology in business. Here is how use cases are playing an important role in providing enterprise executives with the insight they need to make timely decisions in a top-down style:

A team of coworkers sitting around a table, making a top-down decision on technology in business.
IT leaders are using the top-down method to make decisions on technology in business.

Technology in Business: How Decisions Get Made

There are two basic models for business decision-making: top-down versus bottom-up. In a top-down scenario, for example, executive leadership has the authority to make the final call on whether to implement a new business communications solution. The CIO or CTO might solicit feedback from direct reports and other key stakeholders, but ultimately, that person alone decides. In a bottom-up decision-making environment, employees regularly participate in various levels of the decision-making process.

Each approach has its pros and cons. Top-down decision-making makes goals clear and facilitates greater speed, but it can be seen as dictatorial at times. Bottom-up decision-making supports greater collaboration and buy-in across the organization, but it can lead to "analysis paralysis," with no apparent path forward as employees get bogged down with too many ideas.

Most companies still use a top-down approach, particularly when time is of the essence. Here are three ways executives can use this method, leveraging use cases for better decision-making:

    1. Interactive Voice Response

    In a competitive market, each business is looking for an innovative way to distinguish itself from its rivals. Some companies are gaining an edge by using interactive voice response (IVR). For example, everyone is familiar with automated phone systems in which you dial a customer service number to contact a company and then navigate a phone tree to find the proper department for your request. IVR adds voice self-service options to existing applications, allowing customers to quickly find the resources they need without intervention from staff.

    In the past, a developer might have proposed a business case for strategically using IVR in a bottom-up way, but this type of decision is now often made in a top-down manner. IVR use cases are already readily available, giving the CIO, CTO, or COO exactly the information they need to determine whether the technology is a fit for their company. This is important because a leader sitting at that level within the organization has to take far higher-level business requirements into account when evaluating technology in business than a developer would. And a use case empowers executives to do just that.

    The C-level is becoming better informed at an earlier stage about the strategic benefits of technology in business.

    2. Call Tracking

    Call tracking is another area where innovation-minded businesses are enjoying strategic advantages compared to the competition. With growing pressure to deliver higher-quality, personalized customer experiences, businesses know data insights can make a huge difference in meeting and even surpassing these expectations. In this scenario, a business might rent a virtual number to drive leads for a specific campaign or initiative. From there, it can craft a customized experience for inbound calls to this number, tapping the power of the cloud to collect data that just couldn't be tracked with a traditional landline. Businesses better understand the success of their campaigns and continually optimize them, shifting their investments so they are even more effective in the future.

    Use cases are incredibly helpful in allowing C-level executives to quickly grasp the business value of this technology, enabling them to make decisions more quickly using a top-down process. This is because the use cases describe call tracking's benefits in high-level terms, taking care to avoid granular detail — stuff that's kind of "in the weeds" — that may be important to a developer but isn't to a CIO, CTO, or COO. Use cases speak the language of the business, making it that much easier to spot the strategic opportunity and act on it.

    3. Real-Time Sentiment Analysis

    Businesses are already taking advantage of real-time sentiment analysis on social media, using data insights and new communication technology to enhance the customer experience. However, they might not realize they can do this with voice calls, too. Businesses can quickly assess a customer's feelings during a call, bringing in an expert supervisor before trouble arises. Real-time feedback also allows agents to strengthen their skills that much faster. Over time, business leaders can use sentiment data to understand the effectiveness of all their activities aimed at promoting customer loyalty, getting a complete view of their customer service enterprise that includes the call center and other channels.

    Use cases clearly demonstrate the business value of and competitive edge to be gained from performing real-time sentiment analysis of customers' calls. While a developer might be able to explain how the technology works, a use case makes the high-level business benefits and strategic advantages apparent to top-level decision-makers in a short space of time. In an era in which customer demands are a higher priority than ever before, use cases help a business leader take decisive action far more rapidly, driving bottom-line growth.

    Busy executives have no time to lose when it comes to innovating in the customer space. That's why they're increasingly leveraging use cases to understand the benefits of communications technology, making swift decisions in a top-down style. This is one powerful way enterprise leaders can capitalize on great opportunities to create enduring customer loyalty through a better customer experience.

    Contact Vonage Business to learn more about how cloud-based communications can aid your company.

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