Visiting the campus of my alma mater, where my son is now a student, brings back fond memories. Much is the same on this beautiful campus—it will always feel like home. But while the brick and mortar are familiar, technology has vastly improved the student experience in the last 30 years.
My course selections were mailed to some unknown entity that, semester after semester, mistook me for a morning person. My son gets online and sees every course available, updating as needed during the enrollment period, deftly creating a schedule with no classes on Friday so he can thoroughly enjoy his Thursday nights.
This same transformation has occurred in the enterprise. Addressing a group of 1,500 Lexmark Enterprise Software partners and customers at Inspire 2016, Geoffrey Moore, author of the best-selling book Crossing the Chasm, discussed the Age of Digital Innovation—and the steps we must ascend on the “stairway to heaven” toward the peak of value to be gained from digital interaction.
It began in the 1980s, when personal computing, email, spreadsheets and other tools reengineered office work. The following decade saw the reengineering of value chains, as companies invested in client-server ERP systems and gained access to the internet. By the time we reached the “year 2000” scare, we had pretty well mastered what most of us think of as enterprise IT.
Then, as the 21st century dawned, we gained the tools needed to reengineer human experience. Thus began the Age of Information, when vast amounts of content became available online.
Today we are firmly in what Moore calls the Age of the Customer, in which digital engagement has become table stakes in winning and retaining customers. This presents a new challenge—how to connect the Systems of Record we spent billions of dollars on, to new Systems of Engagement that enable digital interactions with customers.
Bringing together these heritage Systems of Record with newer Systems of Engagement allows us to combine the operational excellence afforded by the former, with the customer intimacy provided by the latter.
The goal, according to Moore, is to automate as much as possible, while engaging as deeply as possible.
Today’s customers are sophisticated, connected and empowered. They expect intuitive and fast engagement on their terms — any device, anywhere, and at any time. Crucial business processes like opening a new account, filing a claim, admitting a patient, registering for benefits and yes, enrolling a student, should be fast, accurate and frictionless.
Executing them seamlessly gives your organization a lasting competitive advantage. And gives a frat boy a day to sleep in.