Time For New Business Perspectives: Looking Outside-In
by Betsy Burton
Digital business fundamentally changes the way that business leaders need to engage with their partners and customers. The challenge is that the most significant issues they face are about changing their business culture and thinking—then secondarily—about the business operations and execution.
We are Living in a Hybrid Virtual & Physical World
Everyone your business is engaged with is living in a hybrid virtual/physical world—consumers, constituencies, partners, regulators, investors, etc. Take a train ride in Tokyo, sit in the coffee shop in San Francisco, or walk down the street in London; everyone is connected and the line between personal life and business work is blurred.
As a result, your customers and partners have come to expect that they are the center of their world in terms of engagement, experience and transaction. It’s not about your business, products or services. It’s not about your business model of processes. It’s about proactively reaching out to understand your customer’s context and perspectives, first and foremost.
The question, then, is how do you create a business architecture and strategy that is designed to proactively meeting their needs in both the virtual and the physical world? The answer is, start with your customer.
Traditional “Inside-Out” Approach to Customer Engagement
In traditional business models, organizations would define their target market, identify the customers in that market, and seek to understand their wants and needs. However, their perspective was primarily executed from an inside-out perspective. In other words, the traditional approach is primarily focused on “how do we bring our customers and partners into our world?” Engage using our business processes, our information and our transactions.
While this perspective still has some valuable, it can not be your only perspective. Today’s digital business environment requires a very different perspective to designing and supporting your business.
Digital Business Requires an Outside-In Perspective on Your Business
Customers and partners have become used to information and services proactively being served to them in their context (location, preferences, social networks, timing etc.). This context also includes all the connections that your customers consider part of their virtual/physical world—social networks, business ecosystems, information sources and network of services.
To be successful, organizations need to design their business models, processes and services with the customer’s perspective as the starting point—not the end point. And even more, it means starting with the perspective of your potential future customers, and their business ecosystem.
This means you must take an outside-in perspective on your business; put yourself in the chair of your current and potential customers and design your business with them in mind. And again, it means starting with their context.
Taking an inside-out style of marketing and advertising to your customers alone no longer works. Business and technology leaders must take an outside-in approach as well as an inside-out approach to designing their business models, engagement and transactions, and to building their business ecosystem of partners.
I am very pleased to be scheduled to discussing these approaches, as well as diving into what digital business really means to your business at our briefing in San Francisco Bay Area on April 16th, 2019. During this session, I will be highlighting a more up-to-date definition of digital business, and debunking some of the most common myths.