Organizations spend time in understanding the challenges faced by them on a daily basis – challenges at all levels – at strategic level, at departmental levels, and even at daily transaction levels. Deep discussions with spreadsheets and graphs are often held to debate on seasonality, segments and super special discounts.
Tools and techniques are used in almost all the activities mentioned above. Using frameworks, retained management experts, software tools, extensive reporting and charting tools are a regular feature.
The challenges are not the same for all organization unless you can abstract them. Challenges faced by say by the local pub are perhaps not in the same league as an airline company. The sheer number of customers, – however you define them – is too large for some organizations. The geographical spread of some organization is another parameter which can redefine the very perception of a challenge.
We have seen how a volcano becoming active in Europe can affect travel agents in Australia. Government stability in a country can dictate the shipping industry around and outside of the same.
Organizations in a bid to grow are increasingly aiming for geographical spread, aiming for retailing and franchising, and increasing the online presence. In these circumstances it is imperative that we re-look at challenges.
Organizations – more so if they large – face three type of challenges. Not that these are not faced by small organizations – it is just that perhaps the smaller organization may ignore them for more transactional challenges that they face on a daily basis. There is an element of some generalization here that may lead to debate. Having said let me put down the three challenges that organization would have to manage.
Our understanding of the environment and the actors within our ecosystem are reaching a point where it is impossible to glean any meaning using conventional tools and techniques. New tools and techniques are required. Behavioral interplay, the concept of cause and effect are changing in ways not yet fathomed. Emergence is something we have yet to scratch the surface of. Improved ability to manage these chaotic conditions that would perhaps undermine our business will be one of the key strategies.
Internet has brought about extraordinary levels of connectedness. Connectedness is not only visible in people being connected using social media, but also very rampant between business, customers, agencies, users, overseers and regulators. The meaning of the word awareness has changed within the renewed context and what it represents. We are constantly aware. We are aware of any hurricane, typhoon, cyclone or a tornado anywhere in the world as it happens for example. Customers are changing in their nature. Their effective exposure to the organization is becoming more complex. There is an increasing need to track and maintain the context of the customer within our systems.
This leads us the defining who the customer is. Who exactly is your customer? For the local pub it is those who are walking in for a drink. Simple, the pub may disagree and say the customers are all who walk in irrespective they drink or not. Fair enough but it is not that complex. Now consider a hotel. Who are its customers? Guests who stay at the hotel definitely qualify. Guests of guest also qualify. All those attendees for banquet hosted by somebody in their ballroom also qualify. The list grows and one can see it is more complex than the local pub.
Now consider an airline – who are its customers?
This is an era of cascading customers – The real customers are customers’ customers’ customers’ …ad infinitum.
My next three posts will discussing these three challenges in more depth.