Customer Centricity – What about Technology?

03 July 2014

In my 3rd blog on customer centricity, I look at the impact of your customer centric strategy on technology. Since your customer is becoming more and more digital, a customer centric strategy cannot be realized without considering technology. And as customer centric business models are build on dynamic ecosytems connecting different partners, you will not be able to operate without technology.

In fact, business and technology should be considered at the same time and in an integrated way. There is no such thing as business and technology anymore, there is only business. But technology is at the heart of your business model.

What about technology

Technology=Business, Business=Technology

The traditional separation between business and technology is no longer valid. It can even become dangerous for the survival of your company. We have been spending a lot of effort on business and IT alignment to establish smooth relationships between business and IT departments.

But can you imagine how to innovate your business model today for the digital world without bringing in technology expertise? Or can you afford to develop advanced technology solutions without considering business value?

In the digital world, business and technology people are “condemned” to collaborate in a deep and integrated way.

Your technology is more and more outside

Another evolution is the pervasive availability of technology for the consumer. In the old days, companies were mastering their technology landscape themselves and could impose their technology on the customer.

Today, a consumer has access to all kinds of advanced technologies, from mobile phones and laptops to advanced software to perform analytics, search information and share experiences.

If you cannot tap into the consumer technology landscape, you may become obsolete over time.

Integration becomes “extegration”

The focus of technology in companies will shift from the question “How do we use technology to automate our processes?” to “How do we exploit technology (in here and out there) to provide added value?”

From integrating technology internally, to integrating all kinds of technology to serve your external customers.

How can we use technology to provide enjoyable experiences for our customers? How can we use technology to integrate external partners in our business model? How can we expose our internal technology, knowledge and information to external touchpoints?

ITrs should become business experts in technology

You can look at this evolution as a threat, but there is also some very good news here.

Companies that are able to put together their business experts in the same room as their techies can make the difference. Provided that real business value is what drives everybody around the table.

Let me give you some concrete examples with great potential return.

Put together your marketing expert with a data scientist. Apply analytics techniques on your customer data to detect customer segments and predict churn.

Put together your contact center people with your digital architect. Start to define customer journeys across digital channels and personal contact channels. Decide upon what digital touch points to use where in the journey and optimize your digital investments.

Put together your product manager with your usability experts. Design products from how they appear in the customer experience and simplify your product portfolio drastically.

Put together your business sponsors with your IT development team. Drive a business model workshop to define business objectives, target customers, value propositions and customer journeys; together. And investigate how technology can be exploited in the best way; together. You will be surprised how business and technology will become one from the start.

Always ready to discuss this face to face.

Johan Merckx

Written by Johan Merckx

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