Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Customer Focused Technology Innovation - A Simple Yet Powerful Thought

If we go thousands of years back and look at how trading began, you'll notice that it was about fulfilling a need of some one. Before money was introduced to the world, people used to trade an item for an item. Most trades did not have the similar values but fulfilled the need of each person. For an example; A person in need of a piece of cloth - might exchange some honey with the other person to obtain a piece of cloth. I think buying and selling started by one person accepting something useless for him at that moment but kept it for future trade. That's just a thought.

When Information Communication Technology (ICT) was introduced for business, it was considered as a "Business Support Service". Whenever a finance crisis hits an organization, ICT was in the cost cutting side of the budget. This is no longer valid in the world of integrated enterprise. Today, ICT is not a business support service, it runs the business. Every business today, whether small, medium or large are thinking beyond their geographic boundaries and also think in innovating, growth and being competitive. Organizations need business intelligence; data-to-information to make real time decisions which helps their strategy and its execution in a continuously successful flow. Big data analysis is essential in any business today. Knowing your customer well is not well enough to survive in the competition, you got to do more.

Technology is innovating in its own way is not helping the business to sustain and make use of technology in large scale. That is one reason for many businesses to stick with their trusted legacy systems. For an example; a technology company may have a great platform integrated very well, inter-operate well, highly optimized and beats the competitive platform in speed, etc. But, what if they do not solve the business problems effectively? What if the company do not have the empathy for the customer? They might be having a world class technology platform, but they will start loosing customers in the long run. Technology companies should cater for the best interest for their customers. Technology companies should innovate around the customer and serve better by making their platform a unique experience to the customer and make them winners.

Mr. Chris Kariyawasam, Key Account Manger Nestle Lanka PLC and an MBA lecturer in marketing strategy told "Everything begins and ends with the customer". That's where I first heard the phrase, but it carved in to my thoughts and changed my thinking pattern from technology oriented marketer to customer oriented marketer. Most of the technology companies are marketing their product to beat the competition. But they are missing the focus on customer. They keep innovating around the technology but a high percentage of customers are with a competitor who has both the technology and customer centric product or service. Companies such as Facebook, Google, SAP are technology innovators with a great empathy on customer. They build great platforms that makes the end user's life easy. Once you make the customer successful, your success will follow with that. 

Final thought to carry is, customer is the essence of all we do as a company. Technology is not something that keeps updating and systems are not just software upgrades you do in regular basis. They are part of the business ecosystem that helps the customer to do what they do better. Make the customer a winner and help them to become successful in what they do and your success will follow with that.