The customer is the most important variable in the equation of success. Please them and you’ll do well; ignore their needs and desires, especially in this age of speed and lower emotional attachment, and you invariably go out of business. However, many business change initiatives fail because they are the result of misguided focus and motivations, usually residing on a continuum that ranges from fear to conceit. Right now, somewhere around the globe, a range of misplaced motivations are actively shaping the thought process of a company’s management team and paving the way towards yet another failed change initiative.
Instead of letting inadequate motivations influence their reasoning, C-level executives and other management ought to start from the customer. Sam Walton was right when he said there was only one boss and that was the customer. In the situation at hand, this means they should do away with all the false motivations, which are like ‘motivational middlemen’ (e.g. the competitor who may be deploying some new tech in their stores; the analyst that might’ve just come up with some new buzzword) and realize that all business motivation ultimately emanates from the customer.
Out of the companies that do seek to align themselves with their target audience, only a minority actually carry out customer-centric initiatives successfully. That’s because it’s quite difficult to follow through from that focus on the customer, across the entire organizational landscape and all the way to a finished product, service, or any sort of initiative. Requirements get lost in complexity, office politics further muddy the waters, and by the end of a project, that crystal-clear focus on the customer has been lost.
But that doesn’t have to be the case. In fact, because we feel so strongly that organizations should model themselves after their audience, we’d like to give you an example of how companies could start and finish such a project successfully and without losing track of the initial objective.
Let’s imagine a healthcare company. There are a number of really interesting organizations in the marketplace that have captivating propositions. Especially in the do-it-yourself category, where you don’t need to interact directly with any doctor or hospital but you usually just receive a home kit and then you’re all set – you can figure out for yourself who I’m talking about here. So let’s consider such a company that sells DNA testing kits.
The financial records show that the lifetime value of a customer is quite low when benchmarked against industry standards. By running an analysis of the trends and drivers in HoriZZon, the enterprise architecture team concludes that this is a potentially dangerous issue.
The problem stems from the fact that once a transaction is complete, i.e. the kit is bought, the samples returned, and the patient receives the results, the organization has little dealings with the customer after that. Now, despite the good margin on the service they offer, the company still has to constantly find new people to sell to. This cost of acquiring new customers is eroding profits because of the inadvertent ‘single-touch’ relationship they have with clients. Ideally, the relationship would be ongoing, with mutual exchange of value spanning into the months and years.
Faced with this problem, the executive and product development teams convene to try and find a solution. Assessing the operating model, the EA team highlights that the company’s value proposition is predicated on ‘medical novelty’. People who have a curiosity about their genetic background can buy a kit and then, provided the samples are returned without incident, they can learn their basic ancestry composition in a couple of weeks. So the ‘single-touch’ aspect is baked in the way the organization currently operates, it’s not an unintended effect – the positioning, messaging, and organizational capabilities support this discovery. Architects also emphasize how a minor change in the marketplace might have severe implications for the enterprise, bringing solid arguments in the form of SWOT, PESTEL and other scorecard-based analyses.
Turning things around
So what’s to be done? Well, in this scenario, management demonstrates business-savviness by deciding that whatever business change they’ll end up initiating, it would revolve around the customer. After several workshop sessions, they decide to ride the wellness trend and become a personalized wellness plan provider. The concept has a built-in long-term dimension, which ideally answers their challenge, but also promises to deliver great value to customers, who stand to enjoy expert health and lifestyle advice based on deeply-personal medical insights. This doesn’t mean their vision was monolithic. Nuances would change along the way as feedback would flow in from their audience.
The target market segment is made clearer with the help of the new customer journey map, which you can see further down. This can prove to be an important instrument because it can help the organization focus on a new, previously untapped segment of the marketplace. For example, by focusing on a customer portal that can track customers after the sale, the company can be less reliant on a local sales team chasing up prospects, thereby freeing up the resources needed to engage a new region.
Mind you, for the sake of concision, we’re working with a slightly more streamlined version of the process, avoiding an extensive exposition that may include things such as figuring out a generic business outcome journey, or defining all the corresponding (lifetime) customer journeys together with the supporting tech (e.g. the app as the interface, DNA analysis, AI capability to analyze the customer data).
Now, in order to be able to support this vastly increased presence in their customers’ lives, among other things the company needs to pursue an app to act as a home and central communication hub for this relationship. This is where the work of the EA team picks up. The path to success begins with a series of customer journey maps that architects create to highlight the different possible incarnations of this new way of doing business. Working on these with the help of specialists and consulting with industry best practice references allows the executive team to converge on one of the options.
So the way they want the customer to experience the company is figured out. At this point, the architecture team delves deeper into the makeup of the enterprise in order to identify the current relevant capabilities and model the future required ones. Currently the company does not have such an extensive IT stack, but that will change to support their step towards mobile. The EA team models this according to the perceived needs, conducts a gap analysis and submits a business case for the changes – many of them major – that will have to take place in order to make this plan a reality. The end-to-end report clearly describes the current situation as well as the future and intermediary states.
Delivering on a plan
With the help of Enterprise Studio, HoriZZon’s modeling environment, the team is able to effectively plan the development of the capabilities. As such, they progress quickly through modeling and optimizing the necessary infrastructure upgrades, successfully navigating the winding road of bringing new tech online while at the same time retiring or planning the retirement of duplicative/incompatible technologies. The platform’s native ArchiMate meta-model and notation support users in building clear integrated models of the organization’s business, application, and infrastructure landscapes, tying everything together to answer the overarching question – How do we provide this new service to our customers in the most seamless way?
What’s more, Horizzon adds an additional layer of utility thanks to its connectivity. This makes it capable of integrating valuable data streams from different repositories in order to create a more accurate image of the deployment process and even enrich deliverables with extra levels of information. For instance, in ensuring adequate levels of service for their mobile app, color-coded heatmaps can be employed to score components by security or latency criteria, emphasizing where the biggest problems are.
And the same goes for customer satisfaction. With feedback buttons built into the app, the company can collect feedback which can then be fed into the agile improvement process of the app itself and the entire customer journey. Furthermore, different future scenarios can be examined with the help of scenario analysis, and mitigation measures be put in places to account for unexpected changes in the marketplace and within the organization itself. For example, a change in legislation regarding people’s ability to carry out certain medical procedures on themselves at home, or to do with posting human samples.
Throughout the entire process, the management team enjoys visibility from the top, conceptual level, where the business motivations and audience considerations live, lower to business capabilities, and then continuing all the way down to technology, processes and even individual key stakeholders. This allows them to be confident in the decisions they take and the investments they sign off on.
Similarly, the different department heads and team leaders have complete transparency as to the changes that are due to take place, and how they are about to affect the processes they take part in, the applications they own, and so on. Lastly, with their supervisors solidly in the loop, junior and operational stakeholders are the beneficiaries of clear input and guidelines. They also can experiment confidence, inclusion and high morale as they work towards a well-defined goal. This supports continued improvement and an agile way of working because it makes it possible to have a business that adapts easily to changes in the playing field. Specifically, plans can be rapidly drawn up, disseminated enterprise-wide, and executed.
Business change should originate with the customer. Here at Bizzdesign we specialize in creating the world’s leading business design platform. Horizzon makes it possible to create and successfully deliver a business change initiative by genuinely starting from the customer and then maintaining that focus throughout the entire change delivery process – analyzing motivations and capabilities, planning technology and process changes, implementing new data flows and running an effective enterprise risk management practice etc.
The platform offers users a clear line of sight between objectives (in this case a customer-centric project) and the actual implementation, supporting a more customer-centric business. Moreover, this closes the feedback loop that is essential in any agile, adaptive enterprise. What is often lost in big organizational transformations due to complexity – Horizzon safeguards via intelligent insights, a high level of collaboration and solid governance capabilities. Watch our product demo to learn more!