Businesses' IT departments will continue play a crucial role in improving customer experience, but their role will change drastically.

That is the verdict of Forrester, which said IT staff may need to be prepared to take a greater 'facilitating' role in delivering the customer-facing systems and processes that different departments require - rather than taking the lead on the decisions.

"Instead of 'doing IT to someone', that is to say imposing a system or process on someone, IT departments will increasingly be expected to authorise and help deliver the systems called for by different departments," said Forrester principal analyst Derek Miers.

Miers was speaking to Computerworld UK ahead of Forrester's Business Process Summit EMEA, taking place on 30 November in Hertfordshire.

Customer experience was becoming an ever more advanced art, Miers said, and different levels of the business - from individual departments to C-suite managers - were increasingly expecting technology teams to allow them to lead on system ideas.

The concept of changing a role could be met with some resistance. But Miers insisted that "going with the change" was by far the best move for IT staff to make, instead of resistance to the "inevitable".

The growth in self-provisioned cloud systems was an example of departments wanting to take the lead, but Miers said IT could be more active in "authorising" and "encouraging" these systems.

"The good news is, when someone gets a system they want, as long as it is reasonable and it genuinely helps the customer experience - if you in IT have authorised it, you've helped a key change and you have the positive credit from the department," he said.

"On the other side, you are also in a better position, even if the department itself does not like the system, because it was them who demanded the system!"

"Customer experience is so important, and the right business processes and technology can transform it," said Miers. "IT can really be ahead of the curve here, by facilitating what is needed."