To Drive Business Excellence, Find The Money

February 7, 2017

"Businesses that use artificial intelligence (AI), big data and the Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to uncover new business insights will steal $1.2 trillion per annum from their less informed peers by 2020." – Forrester

Today, Centers of Excellence (COEs) sit on the periphery, set up to manage IT execution and delivery across diverse, global functional groups. And as companies continue to invest in artificial intelligence and advanced analytics, we're going to see a huge difference in performance between companies whose initiatives are governed by outcomes and those who are ruled by market impulses and fluctuations. According to Forrester, this difference will run to the tune of $1.2 trillion per year by 2020. This gives COEs an incredible opportunity to redefine their role. COEs have access to massive amounts of data and with these increasingly advanced intelligence tools, can find and analyze new revenue opportunities that tie to their organization's business outcomes (acquisition, expansion, retention, cost reduction). 

Show me the money. This iconic statement captures how COEs should think about their operations. It's not just about finishing projects on time within scope and with all working parts. COEs need to reposition themselves and create a strategic relationship with business and IT that focuses on finding money for their organization; they need to become COREs (Centers of Revenue & Excellence).

To identify those revenue drivers and become core to the business, COEs need to begin by mapping risks and opportunity through the lens of customer and employee experience. Imagine that a company's strategic goal is expansion via cross-selling. Persona shadowing (observing and documenting customer and employee workflows and experiences in real time) reveals that the company isn't delivering products on time, meaning their customer experience isn't at the right level to support cross-selling. Think about the value of being able to deliver a report detailing the who, what, and how much it's worth to solve that problem against a business impact analysis to help prioritize the initiative.  

COEs need to commit to measurements and testing to find the money while approaching their analysis from two sides: the inside looking out (employee view) and the outside looking in (customer view). To engage the business, these exercises and workshops need to be interesting, easy, and most important, actionable. They should use design-thinking and prototyping principles to find creative and flexible solutions that clearly identify what the problems are and the benefits of fixing them. 

This type of transformation can seem overwhelming, especially when stats like $1.2 trillion in revenue are thrown around, but the trick is to start small. Find one business unit and host a half-day session. Identify one scenario and set of stakeholders and bring them through this Align exercise. By aligning strategic intent with customer experience, COEs can find the next best initiative that will have the biggest impact and move from being an outside resource for best practices to the (revenue) driver's seat. Once you complete a pilot project, you'll have an enthusiastic group of supporters who will vouch for the value of this new approach and can help support its expansion across the entire business.

If you're interested in hosting a workshop or want to learn more about Align, get in touch with our customer experience experts.

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