Back when I worked in I&O we weren’t very popular. Not personally, mind you, but as a team. Why? Because we seldom satisfied user requests quickly, and sometimes not at all. We were the defenders of stability, resistant to change. Just maintaining the technology every day - “keeping the lights on” - took a lot of manual effort. We chased down a lot of defects, and then we struggled to get fixes created and put into production. Sometimes the fix created a worse problem. It wasn’t a lot of fun, the pressure was grueling, and one by one we moved on to other jobs.
So today when I tell clients about transforming I&O from an under-appreciated cost center to a respected strategic advisor, I understand their skepticism. What does it take? For starters:
You have to change the monitoring and analytics technology.
You have to change the attitudes of the people within I&O.
You have to change the perception of I&O across the organization.
Those are not small changes, and cultural changes move especially slowly. Or do they?
The I&O team at Dixons Carphone, a UK technology retailer, transformed in a year. Yes, one year. With a motto of “say yes more,” Dixons Carphone I&O went all-in on customer focus and agile operations:
Rather than using a lengthy RFP process, monitoring technology proven effective in one business unit was extended across the organization.
Rather than focusing on technology health, the focus was shifted to customer experience.
Rather than focusing solely on the needs of consumer customers, attention was also given to the needs of internal users, line-of-business managers, and executives.
Source: Forrester, "Make Omnichannel A Cornerstone Of Your Telecom Digital Transformation"
Poor customer experiences remain the Achilles’ heel of telcos’ digital transformation efforts. We live in the age of the customer, and today’s telco customer has expectations that far exceed the traditional standard of telco customer service. A random search on Trustpilot for customer satisfaction with telcos in various countries shows widespread dissatisfaction.
Offering customers seamless omnichannel experiences is critical for telcos’ digital transformation efforts. Today, customers expect to use a variety of digital touchpoints. This omnichannel approach affects telcos’ customer engagement activities at every stage of the customer life cycle, yet many telcos are still struggling to meet their customers’ rising expectations for coherent end-to-end customer engagement. This matters because omnichannel:
Is central to telcos’ customer experience initiatives. Customers do not care about channels. They want to have great experiences irrespective of how they engage with telcos.
Is more of a cultural transformation than a technology project. Omnichannel solutions require a telco to think about the customer journey from the perspective of the customer. This is a radical break with the past.
Opens opportunities for telcos to act as third-party service brokers. Omnichannel will empower telcos to act as service brokers for third parties if they can align their big data, content, and knowledge management strategies.
On October 22, 2016, AT&T announced its intention to acquire Time Warner for an equity value of $85.4 billion. The deal is essentially about the combination of quality content and content distribution, as it transforms AT&T into a content producer and owner — rather than just a distributor of content. Many telecom regulators restrict revenue growth opportunities for telcos in highly regulated telco markets. As a result, telcos are increasingly looking outside their markets for growth opportunities. This deal is evidence of this trend.
Telco CIOs Must Become More Strategic To Prepare For The Content Opportunity
The AT&T-Time Warner deal deserves special attention by telco CIOs. The deal needs to be seen against a challenging backdrop for the telco industry, where revenue growth from traditional revenue sources is hard to come by. Yes, AT&T already operates the largest US pay-TV business through its ownership of DirecTV. The Time Warner deal — should it materialize — would enable AT&T to offer its own premium entertainment programming to its pay-TV, mobile phone, and internet customers. AT&T’s intention to acquire Time Warner opens a new chapter for telcos, because the combination of quality content and content distribution potentially helps telcos to:
Traditional manufacturing businesses must rework the structure and culture of their organization to address rapidly changing client expectations. Bosch is a fascinating example of how a traditional manufacturing firm can successfully transition into a leading digital business. Our discussions with Bosch highlight that:
The shift from selling products to outcomes-as-a-service requires business model change. In order to sell business outcomes, Bosch combines business process expertise with technical know-how and an outside-in approach.
Digital transformation depends on successful cultural transformation. Bosch’s digital transformation is based on a fundamental cultural transformation that takes every Bosch employee and customer along.
Bosch’s software engineering division acts as a catalyst for digital transformation. Bosch believes in a central coordinating role for its software engineering division as part of the digital transformation process.
Over the past two decades, the Internet has triggered a tectonic shift in the concept of networking — one that has redefined how companies market and sell products. More recently, social media, mobile, and cloud have fundamentally changed the concept of collaboration, enabling businesses, employees, customers, and partners to continuously interact with each other to create innovative new products and services and enhance existing ones. Rising customer expectations and faster product life cycles are forcing companies to adapt to a new style of business: “the collaborative economy.” My new report outlines the core dynamics of the collaborative economy and the implications for CIOs and their business partners:
Collaboration is much more than unified communications. It’s not sufficient for the CIO to roll out a unified communications solution; technology solutions alone do not change business processes or support employees’ changing collaborative behavior — let alone alter business models. A modern collaboration strategy requires CIOs to make organizational adjustments in addition to technology planning.
Collaboration is becoming part of the corporate strategy. A modern collaboration platform is the foundation for better innovation, faster processes, and greater employee satisfaction, which lead to happier customers and new revenue opportunities. We believe that modern collaboration is part of competitive advantage — and leading CIOs must support it as part of their group strategy.
My latest report, 5 Steps To Create And Sustain Customer-Centric Culture, is now live on Forrester.com. The report answers the question I hear most often from clients: What are the steps in the process to actually transform organizational culture to be customer-centric? We interviewed companies that have successfully completed this transformation, and companies that are in the midst of that process right now. We learned that there are five steps companies must take to create and sustain customer-centric culture:
Step 1: Secure Executive Support (No, Really). We do not want to sugarcoat this step. Customer experience professionals who don't already have commitment from their executives need to either get it or give up their hopes of transforming their organization's culture. Every successful transformation we studied began with a customer experience epiphany by a CEO or COO. If that realization hasn’t happened yet, CX pros can help create the spark of inspiration with executives. For example, Brad Smith, the Chief Customer Officer at Sage North America, established a program where executives sign up to spend time in the call center or join sales teams on customer visits. And he created a new leadership routine of bringing customer stories to their monthly meetings. His goal was to get senior leaders to see the importance of customer focus.
Macro trends in technology and shifting customer behavior are giving rise to the connected business — which is not defined by technology but is rather a new style of doing business. CIOs will be responsible for introducing technology solutions that help break down silos, boost cross-team collaboration, drive the end-to-end customer experience, and engage more deeply with customers. In order to succeed, CIOs must go beyond technology enablement and support organizational and cultural transformation.
With Jeroen Tas, one of the most renowned technology visionaries in Europe, as its CIO, Philips made a number of strategic decisions to transform itself into a connected business. Forrester believes that CIOs should familiarize themselves with Philips’ strategic, operational, and cultural transformation and learn from it, as Philips offers CIOs valuable lessons in planning the transition to a connected business:
Philips embraces digital propositions at the expense of standalone products. Philips maps out customer journeys and ensures that its products turn into plug-ins for broader digital propositions. The firm connects all of its propositions through data, communities, and collaboration, allowing it to understand who the customers are and how they use products. Philips decides how it needs to develop its portfolio based on these customer journey maps, opening up new business models.
Interdisciplinary teams help open up new revenue streams. The old model — all marketing people sitting together, all IT people sitting together, all supply-chain people sitting together — is outdated. Interdisciplinary teams force people to speak each other’s language. At Philips, interdisciplinary teams have also resulted in much higher job satisfaction.