Back when I lived in Los Angeles I used to take one week at the end of the year to recover from the past and prepare for the new one.
I would drive into the dessert (Las Vegas) embracing all it had to offer (mostly CHP officers pulling me over). I would stay in a clean and modest hotel (hotels in the strip where cheap and decent then), and spend a few days pondering (playing blackjack and craps) on the fate (I almost always lost) of the year to come. It allowed me to plan better (how long to eat mac & cheese and ramen dinners) and to set my goals (ask for a raise at work).
As I got older, more serious (married and with kids) the process changed slightly. Alas, since I live in the dessert now (for lack of better publishable words to describe Reno), the process is similar but I spend more time thinking about next year (married, two kids = no money, small town = nothing to do — might as well think).
This past week was my think week for 2009, and I am using the takeaways to frame my research the next 12-18 months.
Four strategies are going to be critical for businesses to address starting in 2010; use this list to plan where to spend your hard-earned strategic budget dollars:
Business Functions. How much has the customer changed in the last two years and how much will it change in the next two? We are not talking about customers any more (at least not as before). Then, why would you continue to use same business functions as two, five – even ten years ago? You have to embrace a new model, and you need new business functions for that.
Communities. The most critical element in dealing with “customers” (yes, in quotation marks) in 2010. As the roles of business functions shift, they are finding communities to be the precipitant (I refuse to say catalyst) for those changes. You will have to re-learn what you are thinking about communities, and how to interact with them. You will no longer build communities to control, you will participate in ad-hoc and impromptu communities.
Experience. If you solely focus on delivering the best experiences during customer interactions (as you have done until now), you will miss out on the best savings and innovation. Disney plans and executes flawless experiences from the moment you plan your vacation through the post-vacation memories. Are you approaching experiences the same way? Or are you trying to do the “online experience” or the “brick-and-mortar experience”? The disconnect is what’s causing you to fail.
Convergence. You will need to converge your Enterprise 2.0 (internal) and Social CRM (external) strategies (first), initiatives (second), and implementations (third). This is THE sine-qua-non condition for your organization to succeed and become a Social Business. If you cannot get your organization to collaborate internally and externally at the same time, you will be left behind by the competition — and that means in the next 6-12 months, not years.
The biggest problem organizations are going to face is not going to be strategy. That is easy (well, not so complicated) to tackle. The biggest problem is the technical architecture underlying these changes. There is really only one technology focus area for organizations going forward:
The Cloud. I promise not to say private cloud anymore. In reality the cloud is not even started yet (although clues are beginning to pop up here and there). I am planning a series of posts through the year to explore the issues and items you must consider from the business side as you dive deeper into this vaporware (not metaphorically speaking anymore – yeah, bad joke). If you have any doubts that the cloud will change your business in the next five to ten years, you won’t by the time we are done dissecting it.
I did say before that analytics was a critical component of 2010 – and I still believe it. I am trying to fit it within the bigger picture and will bring it out as needed (my wild card for 2010).
This wraps up 2009 blogging. I want to write a short sentence to say thanks for your support and commentary.