In this Age of the Customer (AoC), many traditional businesses are under threat and need to change. Organizations often have the need to rethink their business strategy and operating model – but they often don't know how to approach the problem. Today, they tend to ask others to do it for them, when in reality; they need to do this for, and to, themselves.
We’ve been helping our clients rethink how they deliver value to their customers – thinking about how to industrialize their approach by working “Outside-in” – bypassing the political challenges of individual silos. The central part of an engagement is normally focused around a “big-tent” workshop format (with 20-80 people in a room); where cross-functional teams are facilitated and guided to elucidate a set of “service propositions” that together form the core of a future-state – a new way of working, or a new way of engaging each other to solve their own problems, even a new operating model. Along the way, they will use a number of core Forrester techniques– from persona design, through customer journey mapping … before getting down to processes and metrics design.
I think we would all agree that BPM and business architecture set out to overcome the issues associated with silos. And I think we would also agree that the problems associated with silos derive from functional decomposition.
While strategy development usually takes a broad, organizationwide view, so many change programs still cater to the suboptimization perspectives of individual silos. Usually, these individual change programs consist of projects that deal with the latest problem to rise to the top of the political agenda — effectively applying a band-aid to fix a broken customer-facing process or put out a fire associated with some burning platform.
Silo-based thinking is endemic to Western culture — it’s everywhere. This approach to management is very much a command-and-control mentality injected into our culture by folks like Smith, Taylor, Newton, and Descartes. Let’s face it: The world has moved on, and the network is now far more important than the hierarchy.
But guess what technique about 99.9% of us use to fix the problems associated with functional decomposition? You guessed it: yet more functional decomposition. I think Einstein had something to say about using the same techniques and expecting different results. This is a serious groupthink problem!