As the Benioff vision filters out from Dreamforce and through the interwebs I can’t help notice that there are those still pushing messages from the 80s and 90s. Outside-In for me remains one of those relics from the 20th century when the world of business has kicked up a notch and is already warping into the 21st. Outside-In is the notion that we view all that we do from the Customer’s viewpoint; business processes, interactions, customer service, marketing. We place the customer at the heart of the process and all of a sudden we achieve customer-centric heaven.
Where in the 90s business focus was a very selfish and Inside-Out view (ie profit is king and the customer helps us achieve it) the immediate reaction was to turn strategy 180 and seek an Outside-In approach. However the problem here is that the concept itself is inherently flawed, the mirror image of a flawed concept doesn’t remove the flaw itself. Where once we were inside looking out, we are now outside looking in……it’s all one-way vision. The fact that both social and mobile are forcing organisations to completely rethink business and customer strategy means they can no longer afford to follow concepts and methods designed from the last decade.
Like I said in the Social Business Equation article, it’s all about connection, trust, transparency, engagement. Every one of those concepts is not a one-way flow, every one requires a real relationship that is built on a mutual view of the interaction, that both the customer and the business see each other throughout in the interaction, not just from one perspective. That is how trust, the purported currency of the social business, is gained; through the transparency of the processes involved, of the interactions, of the connection and engagement.
The singular mindset of simply putting the customer first does not equate to a successful enterprise anymore. Similarly, how we design processes should reflect just how interconnected all the touch-points are, not just from a customer viewpoint, which is why methods born in the past have no place in where business is moving towards today. The sooner the decay stops the sooner organisations will rapidly evolve.
In a connected enterprise, everyone is the customer.