What business are you in?

Sounds like a simple question, everyone should be able to answer that right? But ask yourself, do you really know what you do for your customers?  What value do you provide them so that they will pay you money?

If you can come up with a statement that answers that question, ruthlessly appraise it. Is that REALLY what your customers are after?

If you work for an SaaS accounting provider, the answer could be "We  offer software  so customers can keep their accounts"  

or it could be "We help customers keep score with their business"  or "We help customers manage their cashflows"  

The examples in the second paragraph describe what customers actually do.  Because of this, the focus is more precise from the provider end, and more relevant from a customer end. 

The IT industry is guilty en masse  of forgetting this. We think its all about the technology, as if this is somehow important to the customer .

SIs depend on IT complexity, building their businesses around tying together heterogeneous …IT systems (infrastructure, applications, etc.) so that they work together

The customer actually doesn't want an IT system, they want an outcome.  They want a system to know if their business is winning or loosing (accounting), to keep in contact with each other (email, telephony), to provide their customers with information on where their delivery is (track n trace, RFID)…

If you get this philosophy clear within your business, you will start talking customer speak, making more relevant products and find whole markets willing to listen. Untill you do, you are committing marketing malpractice,

When in hole, stop digging!!

I use this little maxim all the time, usually for personal reasons (i’m in trouble with my wife). What continually staggers me is how little the logic of it is applied by businesses and business people. There are plenty of variants. ..

"Stop going to the same well"

"What got us here won’t get us there"

"It’s time to change the game"

They all mean the same thing. What you are doing isn’t getting you anywhere so why bother? Try doing something new.

As employers & shareholders we see cases of massive fraud like Madoff & Allen Stanford and wonder how it happened. Well at its simplest, they did something illegal & either didn’t get caught (Madoff) or it didn’t work out. Whatever, the point being that they kept right on doing it, continuing to dig themselves into a bigger hole.

Unfortunately this behaviour isn’t limited to a few renegades, it is evident in its legal form too. It’s called ‘Current mode of Operation’ & it exists in way to many companies & I’m willing to bet it is a far greater scam than anything any one person could achieve.

Many companies still believe that the things that once made them successful will help them deal with the future.

It’s a myth. Stop perpetuating it, stop wasting time resources and money on repeating what has become an obsolete business model (after all, if things were going so well  why are you doing something new??) Instead have a genuine crack at doing something new. New isn’t just the end thing, it’s the END to END thing….

If you are struggling to change your business, look at the WAY you are trying to make it do this. Dollars to doughnuts you are applying the processes, technology & mindsets used to solve OLD problems to solving the NEW problem. That is to say, you are still digging. . .

Not everything will go into the cloud, BUT everything will be affected by it

I came up with that one liner for a presentation I had to do today, it resonated because of its accuracy. 

Cloud computing is disruptive, it causes transformation within businesses and whole industry sectors. It impact won't just be limited to  geeks and the IT department.

Think what telephony did for the world and how it changed.

What the internet did to us all

What mobility is doing.

 

Cloud computing will have that kind of profound impact.

You need to figure out how it will change your customers and suppliers, what you do as a company, your job.