Creating the right environment to connect with customers, employees and partners is not just about doing the same thing we have always done. If we do more of the same thing we don’t have the right frame of reference. The Business Modernization framework is a way to look at all aspects of the business and identify what the new way to operate should be, identify the technology that can enable that, then identify the culture shifts and the change that needs to happen to enable the business to be effective in today's environment.

Competitive Advantage: It’s Not Just About the Technology, It’s About the Frame of Reference

Obviously this has been an interesting transition period time for businesses in general and for the past several years we have been looking at market trends that are either reacting to what businesses have been trying to do or driving some of those changes. I think we are at a nice interesting point between some of those business objectives and maybe we are going to start to see the business change accelerate so there is this fundamental shift from a model that was built on a structural hierarchical model and the internet has helped bring a lot of new opportunities. The technologies that are built on top of that have produced some pretty major pressures on business to do things differently. If you are a business today you are dealing with an increasing amount of pressure around customers who wont behave anymore, maybe they never did but now it is really obvious. Internally, employees who are increasingly more difficult to put into some sort of a box because there are a lot of expectations and a lot of things they want form the technology that aren't as traditional in a hierarchical organization. partners are struggling with their whole business model because they need to be more closely aligned to the system around the company so you are tying partners and customers together.

If you think about that as a backdrop what are the things that are really important today it is around customer experience, employee experience and around partner experience and how do you create the right environment to take advantage of the opportunity you have and at the same time defuse the pressure that you feel because things are changing. I think it is interesting and at a good time now because the pressure is to the point where companies are responding and have to respond. At the same time, it’s one of those transition periods where some companies aren't responding well, they are trying to do the same thing but faster. That’s not the right answer when it didn’t change their business. So now if we look at a business that is trying to change they realize that their sales model isn't working the that it used to be. Marketing has changed because you can still reach people that way you used to but it’s not about outbound anymore, it’s about a conversation. It’s about creating more of a dialog than blasting messages. In service, people, employees have to deal with an increasing amount of channels and information flow and issues from customers that are much more aware, they are much more educated because they have better tools to be educated.

The company is dealing with a multi-channel problem so in other words, they are having communications and interactions with customers in all the online channels as well as offline channels and there are new channels all the time, what might have been email shifted to twitter so it’s complicated. Then the customer thinks about it in that they have an interaction problem. They don’t have a multi-channel problem. If you can’t react to it in the way that they want, then what do they do. Let’s take an example, the sales problem, because the customer has more ability to research on their own they can build a trust base in their network instead of trying to going to the company for it. In a recent survey we did, it was a B2B survey, 64% of the buyers said that they had already made a decision about what they were going to purchase and from whom before they actually contacted the vendor so you are not selling in an environment anymore because you are not actually interacting with a prospect at a time when it would actually help them make a decision. You as a company are trying to increase your sales efficiency and effectiveness because you are having a harder time getting deals and the ones you do get you feel like you don’t have as much control over it. That’s absolutely true.

Traditional businesses keep trying to do the things they have been doing but they do more of them. From a salesperson perspective you are not doing enough cold calls or you aren't doing enough prospecting or in marketing you aren't generating enough leads. that’s not really the problem. If I go to Chicago with a map of St Louis, no matter how quickly I move around or how many people I ask to show me where to go on my map, it’s just not going to work because I have the wrong reference. The sales problem is now that the prospecting has moved upstream in the process, so I now have to find a prospect that wants to interact with me or has a need that I could possibly help them with. So the Salesperson actually looks more like an educator in that role. they want to collect those opportunities and do things that would help that customer or that prospect build trust. And also help you move them along in a way that builds that trust and relationship over time so that you do actually get to a point that they would buy from you. and that is a really different thing from, I’m selling, I’m selling, I’m selling. It’s more about, I’m interacting, I’m interacting, I’m interacting and I built trust and then I get the deal. and that is hard for many companies. That is really specific but it is happening all across the other areas too. With employees, everything from, I don’t want to use the tools you are giving me anymore because I like the user interface that I get on my personal web use, social sites and media sites. Now the software you give me looks really old and outdated. It’s not interactive, it doesn’t help me, it doesn’t have intelligence built in. I have to fill out all these forms and enter a lot of manual data that I know the system could put in for me. All those things are causing a lot of pressure to change.

Some technology vendors, software particularly, are trying to move to a place where they can offer a lot of value while companies are trying to make that transition. You hear about digital transformation and that is one way to look at it. We look at it as business modernization. because really what you are trying to do, it’s not just about the technology. It’s about the culture and about the process and the way you do things and who does them and what the systems can do to help you. So that’s a little bit of a different take on it. And across that idea, the business modernization framework, you can work in those different areas to identify what the new way should be, identify the technology that can enable that, and then also identify the culture shifts and the change that needs to happen to get that to a point where it will be effective in the environment we are in today.