Monetizing digitisation: start with the customer experience and work back

Jun 02, 2016 • FeaturesManagementmanagementNick FrankCustomer Satisfaction and Expectations

Nick Frank, Founding Partner at Si2, discusses the importance of understanding the metrics you are measuring to asses both internal performance and external perceptions of your service delivery in the eyes of your customers, and how the two are closely aligned...

Despite the bigger plan, do you find that the barrage of every day problems and deliverables makes it difficult to achieve your vision?

Most of us are driven by the everyday objectives of our boss, organisation and stakeholders.

The best performing leaders are not only able to deliver tactical results, they seem to be able to rise above the daily noise of business, see the bigger picture and figure out how those small wins can be turned from haphazard steps into a coordinated journey.

A key challenge is that ‘service’ is a business in its own right.

To be successful, all elements of a business have to be coordinated and managed from sales, to operations, finance to people as well as resources.

Put this in the context of a working business, where different levels of capability and maturity will exist in the organisation, and it can be pretty hard to figure out where your priorities lie. One way is for leaders to constantly see their challenges in relation to the whole business, so that they keep a perspective on how these elements fit together.

For example one could view a service business as requiring four essential elements to be successful:

[ordered_list style="decimal"]

  1. Value: Do you deeply understand the experience and value outcomes you deliver to the customer within the industry value chain? Have you clearly defined your business model and how you will organise your business to deliver success?
  2. Go To Market: Are you effective at creating and selling products, services and solutions that can access this value?
  3. Service Delivery: Can your operations consistently and profitably deliver services to the expectations of the customer?
  4. Plan / Leadership: Is there an explicit plan that is financially backed and supported by the organisations leadership?


Although a pretty straightforward way of thinking, most managers can get caught up in the everyday activities and lose sight of the bigger picture. To illustrate this, lets look at one of today’s hot topics, ‘How to maximise the potential of the Internet of Things(IoT)?’

Service framework Click image to enlarge

Many companies are still confused as to what the IoT means for them, especially as most commentators are also struggling to see how companies can move themselves forward in a practical pragmatic manner.

We see lots of ideas and case studies focused on what the potential could be, but few suggestions on how to achieve the goal.

Perhaps companies should first focus on the ‘Value’ that the IoT capability can bring to their customer’s value chain as well as their own bottom line.

This goes deeper than customer needs. It is important to understand what makes customers successful in terms of growth and profit within the industry value chain. Then it is possible to identify the expertise or data that can be generated to make a difference to the customer’s profitability.

As companies explore value, they will start to want to try ideas out, perhaps a few very low key pilot projects with customers, to open their minds up to new opportunities and potentially business models.

For a product company, this could really start to challenge their ‘Go-To’ market thinking. The fact that piloting propositions for services is an important part of their design process runs contrary to many product development processes.

The pilot process will also impact the ‘Service Delivery’ operations that must consistently and profitably deliver the value proposition.

In particular with digital technologies, having the software and analytical expertise in house to develop robust solutions is often a challenge to be overcome.

“This goes deeper than customer needs. It is important to understand what makes customers successful in terms of growth and profit within the industry value chain.”

Increasingly it is necessary to work with partners or even as part of an inter-dependent ecosystem.


Lastly and most importantly, it is critical to have a ‘Plan’ that is backed by the leadership with a commitment to resources.

Probably the biggest frustration from managers driving change is that great ideas do not receive the resources they need due to short-term budgetary reasons.

What we see is that even in this relatively high level simplistic example, there are a complex interacting set of factors that leaders, as drivers of change, have to manage in parallel.

This complexity is a fact of life and will not go away.

This is why a factor that makes top performing managers successful, is having a perspective of how the daily grind fits into the big picture.

An even simpler way of cutting through the confusion of developing a services business can be summed up by a Steve Jobs quote:

‘You’ve got to start with Customer Experience and work back towards the technology, not the other way around'



Want to know more? Nick can be contacted on Si2 On-Demand is a unique advisory and support service that enables top performing leaders to solve problems and get things done, as and when required

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