While at the Forrester IT Forum this past spring, I was invited by Tony and Alfred to visit Zappos.com. I was intrigued about what I had heard about this company. Could it be actually true that even the receptionist understood what customer lifetime value (CLTV) meant?
Zappos.com was known for their extreme customer service... but was the whole culture really like that? And if so, how did that work? I had enjoyed the tweets I'd seen of the nearly 400 Zappos.com employees on twitter- they seemed authentic, genuine... Zappos had built its business through developing relationships, creating personal, emotional connections and delivering high touch (WOW) customer service.
I reached out to Tony via Twitter and let him know I would be in Las Vegas.
I just read on Twitter that apparently it is too late to get Lean or Agile. I do question why the two have been bundled together (one is a development methodology, one is a management principle), but either way, I disagree with this statement - at least part of it. Moving to an agile development process is not a decision that should be taken lightly - it involves significantly re-engineering many processes, including much of the program and project management - and this is not a trivial issue! So the statement around Agile I agree with!
However, getting Lean should be on the agenda for all CIOs - in fact, I would argue that Lean is more important now than it has ever been due to the current changing needs of customers. Lean management principles are fundamentally about focusing on delivering the best outcome for the customer with minimum waste. And with major changes going on with the way people consume IT, focusing on the changing requirements for IT customers and delivering them efficiently is extremely important.
Lean typically uses many small changes to achieve this outcome. And it is this point which makes Lean particularly relevant for the current economic environment - you can remove waste (read: save money) through many small improvements - and as a general rule, small changes don't need serious change management capabilities."Lean thinking" should be at the core of all that we do in the IT department - and running some Kaizen blitzes to make small improvements and remove waste should be on the agenda.
Business Technology (BT) is the largest single technology-management transition you will face over the next 5-10 years, as BT redefines IT’s operating model in your firm. BT is pervasive technology use, increasingly managed outside of IT's direct control. How does BT show itself? Employees, customers, and partners are bringing Web 2.0 and social computing technologies into business processes; business leaders are directly contracting for online solutions and business process outsourcing; and users are configuring their own business solutions, using ERP applications from vendors like SAP or IT-provided platforms built from technologies like business process modeling (BPM). Whether the business user is aware of the technology angle or not, IT’s traditional project-based plan-build-run approach to technology management can’t keep up with BT’s user-driven technology adoption.
Every month or so, news events (attacks on government sites, massive privacy breaches, etc.) provide a ‘wake-up call’... a proof point used by vendors and practitioners alike that protecting our national and corporate information assets has never been more critical. On occasion we even see these incidents yield promises of action, for example the anticipated appointment of a US Cybersecurity Czar, which my colleague Khalid Kark discusses here.
But in spite of these warnings, my conversations with enterprise risk and IT risk professionals still reveal many disconnects, including that IT risks are not measured consistently with other enterprise risks. In addition, many IT risk professionals do not see their biggest risks showing up on the corporate risk register.
I've had a number of interesting debates on who should lead the customer social media interaction in the last few weeks. In part, this question comes up because a great deal of social media was initiated in the Marketing department via listening or brand sentiment programs. What we do know is that all departments benefit- marketing, sales, service, product dev, engineering from the voice of the customer information that results from deploying social media.
And while I know that not everyone will agree, after studying all the various departments that could lead social media, I'm still convinced customer service should lead the customer social media interaction.
You are not going to believe this. Goofus and Gallant grew up and they both became application development professionals. Inseparable as they are, they both landed jobs at a global medical supply company in Parsippany, NJ where they develop enterprise supply chain web applications. Gallant has a bit less hair than he used to and Goofus is sporting a "Comdex" tattoo. But, these guys are basically the same as they ever were. (Remember Goofus and Gallant from Highlights Magazine For Children)
We Can Still Learn A Lot From Them
Goofus forgets to check-in his code before going a week-long vacation to Martha's Vineyard.
Gallant always checks-in his code and makes thoughtful revision comments on the changes each night before he goes home.
Forrester has made a series of downward revisions to its IT market forecasts in 2008 and early 2009. And according to my colleague Andy Bartels’ latest analysis - "US And Global IT Market Outlook: Q2 2009" -there is more weakness ahead. Due largely to the breakdown of the financial system and the resulting credit crunch, steep drops in the purchases of equipment, software, and IT services during Q4 2008, Q1 2009, and probably Q2 2009 mean that purchase levels are close to hitting bottom. Forrester predicts that the latter part of 2009 will see:
If you follow me on Twitter (@drnatalie) you have seen the on going conversation around whether Social CRM and Customer Service actually exists or if it is a fantasy.
Paul Greenberg has put his final stake in the ground on defining what Social CRM means- You can read more on the post that drove a huge discussion.The debate centers around alot of things - whether CRM is a strategy, a process, a technology. At the end of the day, most agree that its an all inclusive way of building relationships with your customers. Bill Band, Vice President and Principle Analyst at Forrester, has written about Social CRM in his ever popular doc CRM 2.0: Fantasy or Reality?