How should organisations align change, innovation and customer needs? There are many reasons for organisations to change and innovate, but probably the most compelling is in response to their customers’ needs and actions of their competitors. Aligning innovation with customer needs, including both internal and external customers, helps ensure relevance, builds competitive advantage and boosts profits. But what do organisations do when their IT strategy is poorly aligned with customer needs and opinions; when they simply don’t care about the benefits a specific innovation is intended to deliver?
The pandemic has brought about levels of change previously unimaginable and it has done so over an extremely short period of time. This has boosted the success of a number of well established Cloud-based business, and seen new entrants take advantage of new business opportunities. Importantly for all these businesses, customers today, more than ever before, simply expect online services to work. They don’t care about technology or the Cloud as long as it works!
Consumers Don’t Care so Long as it Works
Cloud is now the engine that drives commercial IT innovation. It’s probably fair to claim that most IT decision makers have the use of Cloud services near the top of their ‘to do’ list. However, whilst the business world continues to optimise its use of the Cloud, for consumers it’s assumed and is no longer a point of differentiation. A vast number of people use Facebook or Twitter, but virtually no one cares that they are Cloud-based services. Similarly Zoom is now ubiquitous in households everywhere. Even fewer care about the Cloud infrastructure that enables these services. Likewise, many businesses use Cloud-based services, such as Xero and Salesforce, but who now actually cares that they’re Cloud businesses?
Attitudes towards technology have matured to a level where new technology is almost mundane simply because of the speed of change we’re now experiencing. Consumers today don’t care about technology so long as it works and it’s easy to use. They care about service functionality and availability – what it enables them to do and achieve; the buzz comes from the new things that they can do, not how they’re done.
Cloud Delivery is Becoming the Norm for Mainstream Services
There are many new companies based on a business model that emphasises the role of the Cloud. In fact, for many the Cloud was their initial raison d’être. However, when customers stop being concerned about where a service sits as apposed to the quality and functionality the service provides them, what role has the Cloud got as a worthwhile commercial USP?
What Matters When Cloud Technologies are Much the Same?
From a business perspective it’s hard to describe Cloud as a legacy asset, but for those organisations that differentiate themselves by it, it’s not too far off the mark. Given their investment in the Cloud in terms of sales, marketing and, importantly, technical resources, it’s fair to suggest that its value is significantly reduced. Likewise, evolving a business model so it better reflects customer needs represents a major challenge.
Implementing the Right Cloud
So if Cloud in itself is no longer a differentiator, what should businesses be thinking about when planning around the Cloud? Focus should now be on implementing the right Cloud solutions that optimise their customers’ experience and satisfaction. This will help build competitive advantage, grow and succeed. So when implementing Cloud services business decision makers need to ask themselves, ‘Does the Cloud’:
Do What you do Best and Let others do the Rest
A primary company function is to keep its customers happy. As such, they need to focus their valuable time and resources on maximising their service offering through the delivery of new services, new functionality, improved prices, etc. This is what they do best. Management of the transparent Cloud element of the service should be relinquished and given over to others who can do it better.
However, if an organisation does decide to hand over control of its hosted Cloud infrastructure to a partner it needs to be sure that the partner is accessible, responsive, flexible and reliable, and committed to the success of its customers. At Flexiion we are focused on the delivery of independent Cloud support. We work with our customers to ensure they get the Cloud solutions that are right for them, when they need them and the right price.
Check out our Horizon Scan video series in which we discuss business implications of tech decisions, and more.
Simon Lofthouse, CMO, Flexiion
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