• Most of big french companies front-office are machines : internet services, interactive vocal responders. And when it is not automated, call center operators are difficult to reach, they have not the good level of knowledge to answer customers questions, and customers have still to pay through call  taxation. In other cases, delivery is done  by employees or subcontractors who are not deemed nor able to endorse company point of view.
  • .
  • Trade off is on one hand rising the number of services offered to customers and on the other mitigating front end costs. Then, all operations are executed processes unless a grain of sand requires a human actor to fix a little unattended situtaion which may become pain in the neck for a customer. (cf comte bougainville conference)
  • .
  • This situation is often encountered with telecom operators, railway operators and in some respect flight companies.
  • .
  • Why ?
  • Once consultancy blue chip companies explained that knowing his customer  is not only hearing what customer says, but  knowing about him what himself does not already know. It comes from the well known story of customers saying they would like to eat salads but would in fact empty a delicatessen.
  • .
  • But, this not comes only from a misunderstanding of customers needs, this is also the results of company point of view implemention  :
    • which looks forward getting a ROI from scale economy with respect to face to face customer relationship
    • which has a bureaucratic view of organization that produced a hardwiring of new front end processes with capped capabilities in optimization
    • which thinks that technology is the main great customer appeal
  • What happened really ?
  • Actually, most companies did not change their mindset regarding customers, contrary to what they said. They continue to push offers. For them, value is in offer richness not in its real utility. It is up to the customer to make the choice.
  • .
  • They continue to have a “Quetelet” customer vision which is very far from local reality and diversity They continue to give value to big bureaucratic organisations or they outsource ailing activities which won’t behave better with no chance.
  • And this will continue until an actor will come with the right mindset and a flexible organization. If it happens, it could turn the Market upside down. Even if big companies thought too big to fail, they may sit in front of new dangerous competitors.
  • .
  • Situation is not black and white, some companies have already started to change their mindset and have got a new momentum in their business. Nevertheless, they don’t succeed to create a strong relationship with their customers. Their strategy focused on price as main value for customer. But, since they are fat organizations, they never were able to compete with true lowcost companies, they only destroy value.
  • .
  • In France, this kind of bad strategy has been possible, because such companies operate on quasi monopolistic markets from which they perceive a kind of guaranteed income, but they really destroyed value. That’s why they fear competition and have managed to avoid it.
  • .
  • What I would like to ?
  • I dream services companies really taking an account of what I am, what I think, what are my points of view.
  • Instead of offering a bunch of services I am paying integrally, from which I hardly use some with difficulty, I would like to have an ordered set of services, integrated in my processes, which I naturally use, for which I know why I pay.
  • .
  • For example, if my bank, instead of giving me a bunch of functions to manage my cash, which not really fits in my own cash management process, had given me such a tools, I would have felt that it took care of me.
  • .
  • If my bank, instead of charging me and causing me delay because I am changing county, had managed data centrally and had implemented smooth business processes to provide me the service i deserve, I would have felt that it took care of me.
  • Bank application screenshots
  • What is possible ?
  • Today all the technology required to move from service offer pushing logic to a more customized one, exists. DesignThinking (previous post) could be used to design services adapted to customer point of view, SOA Architectures and BPM to build information systems required.
  • .
  • Such a move, accompanied by a change in customer relationship, would target and achieve a true long term relation which would benefit of long tail style of business permitted by Internet. For sure, it could be a competitive advantage and a spingboard to capture a big part of the market.
  • .
  • Some people argues that no change is required thanks to laws or rules which favor big companies.  Today, small internet companies are struggling to settle a business model which should help to offset product high costs. For this, as they work essentially on distribution part, they have to reach a more integrated supplychain organziation encompassing some chunks of production.
  • .
  • But whenever one or more companies will get there, they will be able to put upside down the market on the model of what happened in 2000 with eBusiness revolution.

  • Then, what lacks for moving ?
  • By now, companies have developped more or less good information system capabilities. Each of them is able to acquire, roll out and manage applications. Most of complaints of today regards strategic alignement, e. g. the use of the technology by business.
  • .
  • Giving new methods to IT departments for improving their business understanding would not be enough to succeed. Indeed, it is exactly what they have done and nothing has changed regarding companies customers relations.
  • .
  • The solution is a change in Enterprise Architecture lead by a special change manager, the Enterprise Architect, who would be able to pull business and IT in a same time. He will help business to spread mindset change across organisation and business processes, and he will pull IT Department which will have to  provide the right service when required to the right person at the righ cost. At last, Business would have changed and got full technology benefits.
  • .
  • This is the very purpose of Enterprise Architecture.

2 thoughts on “Has your Business changed ? Try Enterprise Architecture then.

  1. An intriguing discussion is worth comment. I do believe that you need to
    write more on this subject, it might not be a taboo matter but generally
    people don’t discuss such issues. To the next! All the best!!

  2. Fantastic blog you have here but I was wanting to know if you knew
    of any message boards that cover the same topics discussed in
    this article? I’d really love to be a part of community where I can get opinions from other knowledgeable people that share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Cheers!

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