How do you drive significant business improvement when you have already optimised using traditional techniques? Part 3
Who’s Doing this?
There are some people out there who know this, e.g. Apple, Google, IBM,
McDonalds, Coca Cola, AT&T, Marlboro, China Mobile, Disney, Microsoft are
starting to see the light too. In fact in 2011, 8 out of the 10 world leading
companies are classed as Outside-In, Microsoft have a mixed model so we don’t
count them but if we did it would be 9 out of 10. You would think that more
people would take notice of this. The problem is there are some people who have
made very successful careers on this old industrial age thinking and therefore
are not willing to accept that everything has changed and they need to as well.
Funny thing is, they will have to change sooner or later, it’s their choice how
they change however.
A) Go Outside-In.
B) Go Bust.
Don’t get hung up on the name
‘Outside-In’ lots of people call it different things, and it’s not the name
that’s important, it’s the philosophy behind it.
How are they doing this?
So what do these guys know that I don’t? Let’s look at a few key points
to start thinking Outside-In and actually drive significant business improvement
even when you have already optimised using traditional techniques.
1) Everything is process.
There is not a single thing that happens in a company that is not process. ‘I’m in
Marketing, I don’t do process’ that’s a process. ‘I’m in Finance, I don’t do
process’ It’s all process and the faster you realise this, the better.
2) The Customer Experience is the Process.
Forget about departments, forget about functional specialist silos,
when looking at process, treat the customer experience as the process, also
redefine where the process starts and finishes, this gives you a whole load more
scope than before and opens you up to a whole new world of
3) Align all Process to a
Successful Customer Outcome (SCO). If you are doing something that does not
contribute to customer success most of the time there is no need to be doing it.
Figure out what the customer need it and align to this. You will find there are
big chunks of process that will disappear overnight.
4) Drive out Points of failure.
'Moments of Truth' happen whenever there is a customer interaction, the less of
these the better, they cause work and are the places where things can go wrong,
figure out how to ‘Remove or Improve’ these. 'Break Points' are the internal
handoffs and interactions, again these cause more work and can start to mess up
what’s going on, if the internal work isn’t directly contributing to the SCO get rid of it, why do it? 'Business
rules' are the rules that have been put in place to make sure you keep things as
they are these usually cause a lot of the internal handoffs and customer
interactions and most of the time there is no need for them to be there, ask
yourself ‘Why do I have to do it this way?’ and if there isn’t a good enough
reason to back up the rule, chuck it out!
Looking at things in a different way completely changes how we do business, driving out Points of Failure
improves customer experience, and reduces cost, this paired with looking at the
customer experience at the process (that gives you more opportunity to make
money) will grow your revenue. Achieving these three things simultaneously is
known as the Triple Crown and only Outside-in companies can do this because the
old Industrial age way of thinking only moves the pain about and improving one
(Revenue, Cost or Experience) will directly affect the others in a detrimental
Innovation by Design
In conclusion, thinking this way makes innovation a natural by-product and having
an Outside-in company with every one knowing these techniques and philosophy is
the only way to foster a culture of innovation throughout a whole organisation.
So how do you drive significant business improvement when you have already
optimised using traditional techniques? Dump the traditional industrial age
‘classical’ thinking techniques and think Outside-In.
I recently saw some stories about how Apple are planning to provide American schools with iPads so that the old, expensive, outdated, dog-eared, back breaking text books could be condenced to iBook format to make learining easier and more interactive and not to mention more cost effective.
There was a lot of talk about this being a charitable dedication towards a nations education. This may hold some truth, however I disagree that this is the main reason for doing this. I personally think it may be one of the biggest game changing plays of the decade.
In Ouside-In companies, like Apple, we ask ourselves a number of questions to reframe how we think and drive innovative ideas. One of these is: ‘Where does the process REALLY start?’ I think that this is a brilliant stratagy to sell more Apple Macs and MacBooks and well and truly sink Windows.
So lets ask ourselves, when we buy a computer – where does the process REALLY start?
When we walk into the shop? When we browse online for reviews? When we first discover the need for a computer? Or even further back – When we first start to use computers on a regular basis…in school.
So you may be thinking, ‘WOW, great insight James! How does this help me sell more Macs?’
Lets think this through, most school computers are on Windows so most kids get used to Windows operating systems from an early age and so when buying a computer later in life for themselves (or when their parents do) they will stay with what they know - Windows. So… if Apple can get a whole generation and generations to come hooked on Apple’s operating systems from the start, then when they make the decision to buy for themselves they will go with what they know – Apple!
On top of this there has been talk of giving every kid in America a free iPhone 3, another ploy to get the future generations hooked on Apple (they don’t make their money from phones anyway, they make it from the app store) This proves grim news for Nokia too but ill talk about this another day.
So in summary, on one hand a charitable dedication to the advancement of learning on the other hand possibly one of the biggest game changing business moves we are likley to see this decade.
What do you think?