is a generous term. It can mean many things. In the end, it’s the
things that provide true business value in terms of shorter lead times, higher
quality and improved efficiency. These are the foundations for better
margins, higher profitability and a sound work environment in your business
that make a real difference. Faster, better and cheaper has been the holy
grail for business improvement and management consulting over the past 50
years. But what does it actually mean in real terms and how can you leverage
the use of your own into a superior customer experience?
Shorter lead times – a fancy way of saying faster
It could also mean that your response times in internal as well as
external tasks make your business the obvious choice for your
customer. Who would choose to wait for an insurance quote by post instead
of an online quote with the option to connect e-invoicing directly via your
bank? There are endless opportunities to improve information handling in
businesses of all sizes, in all sectors. The only question is: Will your
competitors make the move to the next level before you?
Better – a subjective area in many ways
comparative hard metrics such as ”battery life” or ”miles per gallon” aside. It
is often the communication around the product or service that makes the
customer experience stand out as better. If we experience good service,
an inferior product with great proactive support and customer care could
actually be preferred over a market leader with lousy service and poor
understanding of customer challenges.
Cheaper – not to be confused with pricing or market positioning
is about margins. Finding ways of raising efficiencies without tampering with
quality or customer experience in a degrading way. It could involve
finding alternative suppliers to support your supply chain, making it more
resilient, lowering your warehousing and logistics costs. Or involve
enabling hyperautomation and process driven workflows that minimize repetitive,
inhuman tasks. The reduction in cost can be improved margins, investment
capital for further improvements to the business, or shared with your customers
to put pressure on your competition.
Leapfrog – or improve your business continuously over time
some ways, you can say that businesses that start up today have an advantage
over existing ones. There’s no legacy of infrastructure and platforms that
need maintenance or upgrades. They can start out as cloud-native and app
-driven, right from the start, tailor their business model to suit a
data-driven customer-experience centric approach. This is sometimes
referred to as leapfrogging – skipping and jumping over preceding technology
levels to make use of the best features the cutting-edge of innovation has to
offer. A similar comparison can be made with the expansion of phone
networks in some developing countries; they build and run cellular networks for
mobile phones without going through the landline copper-wire based stage as a
lack of existing customers and funding from mature recurring revenue streams
present in up-and-running businesses is of course the downside. But what
would you do if you could start all over again? Would you rush headlong
and bet all on black (in this case the new black is cloud-based, containerized
edge-computing powered microservices with AI enabled realtime analysis of
app-fed customer behavior.) . Or would you, with the realization and benefit
of hindsight from the IT market and trends over time, approach technology in a
slightly different way? Where the fad and hype of the moment takes a back
seat to a constructive, healthy way of working with information, technology and
infrastructure in a way that serves the business and customer requirements
Focus - put data first
No doubt, there will be new trends, discoveries and technologies that change how we think, prioritize and behave. So investing heavily in a specific setup may be a risky way of utilizing technology for the business. An alternative approach could be to secure the information streams (data, information, processes, knowledge) within the business on the meta level first:
Make sure that there are no conflicts between the core objects that make up the backbone of your macro processes - ID’s, properties, attributes and records stored. For example:
Analogies can often be blunt but before you decide on joining materials when building a house, you need to consider the design, architecture, combination of materials, load and finish. Building a house of information that supports, shelters and lets your business grow is not that different.
Begin with the end in mind
You need to begin with the end; purpose, utilization, business need and benefit in mind, while designing and implementing with maximum flexibility, as the world around us is constantly and at an ever-increasing speed changing. To successfully hit the moving targets of customer satisfaction in combination with a growing, thriving, profitable business where people want to work, technology is a servant supporting the information needs of the functions in the business. Components are interconnected, interchangeable, easy to transition in and out of using applications or services that fit into your constantly evolving enterprise landscape.
That may be all good and well, if one would start out anew. But we’re in a complicated as-is situation that cannot be left by the wayside. There are complexities in all ongoing operations but you can choose mindset, perspective, and approach to support the flexibility you need in the future, today.
Are you looking for ways to leverage technology to benefit your business and outsmart the competition? Get in touch - every step forward starts with a constructive and thorough discussion!