So the future can look like this
Customer success as a motivator
The first building block of the digital culture is to obsess over the customer and not technology. I believe when team members are obsessed with the customer, they are more motivated to innovate because they want the customer to succeed. The link to the customer in the company solution portfolio is customer-driven metrics. Metrics that are based on customer success and experience answer questions about the ability of the customer to perform actions, interact with others, and feel satisfied with the services from the company. A few examples:
- Was my customer successful in finding their supply today?
- Is my customer able to extend their reach to sell more?
- Does the customer feel personalized messaging is relevant?
- Are customers able to collaborate with other customers in a community?
- Does the customer feel safe/trust the company brand?
- Is the customer satisfied with bulk pricing?
- Did we create a space for customers to share their knowledge with followers and buyers?
When team members hear the challenges and frustrations of the customer directly, I believe they will engage with their work more deeply and become personally vested in delivering a quality solution. This leads to higher standards and it raises the bar for quality and service.
Efficiency through automation
The second building block of the digital culture is to journey into DevOps. Companies that automate their software delivery pipeline create an environment where the marginal cost and time to deploy a new feature should be close to 0. This is a distinct advantage over physical investments which require manual labor to deploy. It’s also an improvement for software deployments of yesterday that took days or even weeks to deploy while waiting on new environments or third-party vendor schedules.
DevOps builds a culture of cooperation and trust by using small work teams with roles that have been traditionally siloed. Embedding group members together allows them to solve problems more efficiently than engaging each other through a ticketing system and codified processes. It empowers development teams to make decisions and move fast to minimize the effects of bureaucracy.
Automation has two meanings in the envisioned future. DevOps workflows help to automate solution delivery while customer-driven requirements provide the basis for automating processes used by the customer. I believe the two are linked. When a team sets its goal to satisfy a customer metric such as the ability to find supplies, then automated solutions will follow. Technology solutions will automate workflows like pick-and-pack times in the warehouse, matching and approving vendor invoices in accounts receivable, and delivering vendor purchase orders electronically for supply chain vendors.
The third building block of the digital culture is to innovate locally. Moving technology talent in-house reduces the dependencies on the schedules and licenses of third-party vendors. This move requires the company to execute on service delivery, but it gives the company more direct control over both cost and time of delivery. Team members have more direct accountability for results.
Innovating locally means there is a preference to build solutions instead of buying them. It means leadership has confidence the team can build meaningful solutions that more closely align with the customer. The formula looks like this:
Obsessing with the customer ==> engaged employees ==> innovative thinking ==> more relevant solutions.
Open-source software is given preference over licensed software not only to reduce costs but to take advantage of the community’s knowledge and contributions. This doesn’t mean there is an open-source tool to solve all the needs of solution delivery, but the idea is to make open-source standards a preference before purchasing.
The fourth building block is to be FOR us. Being FOR us helps establish an identity for the group. It sends a visible message to those outside the group about what is important to us and what we want to be known FOR. This is how the company creates a common goal, a shared understanding, and the human aspect of the culture.
When managers and team members follow actions to show they are FOR us, it builds an irresistible culture.
When team members operate in an environment where they know they are appreciated, they treat their customers in high regard. When team members work in an environment where they see what’s important to the customer, they will innovate more. When team members see how their work impacts the lives of others they are motivated to give more. All this creates an irresistible culture. It’s a culture where those on the inside love and support their company. It’s a culture where those on the outside admire and respect the company.
In closing, the envisioned future of a digital culture is one that has a view of the customer, continuous improvement, and internal trust. It’s a place where people love to work and serve.
Onward and Upward.
Photo Credit: https://flic.kr/p/cP4J4y – Jumping Silhouette by TimOve