Taking the Process to the Next Level


In the previous articles [1, 2, 3 and 4] we have reviewed the global business transformation underway and how Advanced BPM is helping notable organizations assert their leadership. In this and the upcoming articles we’ll look at the ingredients of success and ten best practice ‘how to’s’ to deliver the transformation.

This fifth of a six part article reviews how world leading trend setter companies are achieving dramatic success with an ‘Outside In’ approach.


Screw it – let’s do it!

There are those people who believe that for anything to be successful it must be difficult and complex. I was reminded of this when reading some recent reviews of Richard Bransons excellent short read – Screw it – Let’s Do it book (buy here) when apparently well educated and experienced people dissed the book because it was’ too simple’ and childish. Wake up and smell the coffee! We have collectively through the industrial and Information Age surrounded ourselves with rules (the vast majority now out dated) and red tape born of a time when customers didn’t have choice and the work world was dominated by hierarchy and control.

airplaneBransons’ writing is a breath of fresh air as he shares with us the trials of tribulations of creating one of the 21st century’s major success stories with over 200 global companies heading-up their respective business sectors. For those died in the wool inside out thinkers the message of simplicity and customer focus is akin to the medieval flat landers hearing the world was round collectively buried their heads in the sand hoping the truth just might go away. Unfortunately some people just don’t get the New World.
I am reminded of the story Roger Burlton once told me that it’s going to take another 10-15 years for this Outside-In stuff to take off. When I asked why as surely the logic was irrefutable: he simply replied “it’s going to take that long for some of these (flat land) Directors to die!”

The good news is of course we have passed the tipping point and the rapid demise of several previously respected names is testament to rise of the new bloods who play the game by a different set of rules cantered around Successful Customer Outcomes (SCO’s). We’ll discuss and review the successful strategy and tactics shortly however first let’s just remind ourselves of some really dumb things those inside-out guys carry on doing:

Dumb stuff the Inside Outers do to make our lives difficult

Those Restaurants – that charge extra for more than six people in one booking. How does that work? So we reduce the kitchen to and fro. We pay with one payment. We vacate the table at the same time. We make the chef’s life easier. We bring more revenue than several tables with 2-3 people. There’s more but you get the picture.

Taxis – (especially the ones in Washington DC) that have such complex charging structures (84 different options within a 10 mile radius) each of the drivers needs a special calculator, and still can’t get it right. It’s a nightmare for the customer, driver, cab firm and the tax man (boy it must be bad to have sympathy for the IRS!)

The Airline – who make people with lots of air-miles second class citizens and demote them to the back of the queue, even if you do have the super dooper global travel platinum membership.

The Retail Chain Store – who ask you to return goods to where you bought them (even though they are a global brand with retail outlets everywhere) and then when you do give you a ‘credit’ rather than a refund and act as if you are inconveniencing them.

A Car Hire Company – who, despite already having all your details electronically and have you as a member with a Five Star Excellency Most Exulted Prized Presidential Customer level hand you off between front desk, back office window, driver allocator and then boy racers seemingly intent on running you down. They have also persistently tried to sell you upgrades you don’t need and provide you with GPS systems that don’t work.

And these examples extend into our ‘business to business’ lives big time with, for example, silly invoicing rules (have you seen what you need to provide for one certain ERP systems company?) red tape and incredibly complex ways of doing really simple things.

So how can you avoid these disasters from either the receiving or giving perspective? I have distilled a Top ten list based on BP Group (www.bpgroup.org) research with over 800 organizations. Also remarkably the distribution of businesses shows that companies are doing either all or very little, and that goes a long way to explain why successful companies continue to create clear water between themselves and their rivals. One industry offers striking evidence with Q1 results recently including:

And guess what’s next? The two airlines suffering the most have now  merged – Delta and NWA. I suppose the thinking there might be an economy of scale where they would only lose half as much?

Southwest, currently the biggest carrier of people in the US, achieve this success by ensuring everything they do reinforces Successful Customer Outcomes including ‘buying long’ (purchasing fuel at fixed prices), understanding where the real customer process starts and finishes and progressively extending the value chain to include items other than just seat sales.


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By Steve Towers @ BP Group | April 25, 2012

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