Working effectively vs. actively. Why some companies get it, others dont?

Up until recent years the consulting firms offering to “connect the dots” for your business were selling you lies. The bean-counting mentality with focus on the bottom line did little to improve efficiency of the business (a lot of work, with very little results), but the spreadsheets were made to show progress. Creatively they called this “strategy and forecasting”.

In fact the strategy they claimed was their secret sauce may’ve worked for some other business but likely not others.

Any “one-size fits-all” approach to problem solving does not work most of the time. If this approach is taken in B2C the result is usually represented in negative feedback from the consumer. In other cases the demand for product diminishes over time at a shock to the execs who think they are doing everything right.

Over time many large business seised to exist because they were led to believe the spreadsheets and invested bare minimum in their product over time, daringly decreased quality by cutting cost, and spending across the board overall -cutting corners. In the end the ultimate judge -the consumer- flocked to a more efficient product and better service and the U.S. manufacturing of all kinds stared the decline from which it never recovered. Some of the failed business got bailed out, others kept failing and became relics of the time gone by.

In B2E or B2B the feedback is less destructive as employees are much inclined to put up with inefficiency as that is just how it is -they are trained to work around the inefficient product produced for them by a vendor who likely never did as so much as interview the intended users.

Good example of this inefficiency are airline counters. As you approach the desk, an airline clerk starts punching the keys, and 3-4 minutes later they hand you a ticket. But if you use the self check-in kiosk, you swipe your credit card, press ‘print ticket’ and off you go!

Why this type of service is available to the customer but not the clerk, is difficult to comprehend. A sufficient amount of product design or customer experience should be applied everywhere, not just where a negative Yelp review can affect customer satisfaction.

Autopilot for smart business

Luckily the “big-data” and connected technologies will offer a lot of qualified feedback in terms of raw data, ripe for analytics to take advantage of. Finally the internet of things will help the business rely on actual data rather than forecasting which (given the margin of error) is always wrong.

This “free” data of course is useless if not utilized in the best way possible to offer more benefits, and to proactively improve efficiency influenced by cross-referencing the data points.

If This, Than, That!
This is the “connecting the dots” metaphor finally at work even though it had been promised by pricy consulting companies years ago.

If an IFTTT decision engine is put in place to instruct the user of what’s next, the business would function much more efficiently and the results would save time and resources, or free-up resources to in turn be more efficient, but ultimately the quality of work would improve.

Imagine a world where a shipment of product has connected beacons that continuously report the conditions of the package while enroute to customer. If the product’s temperature is monitored by its packaging the transporting company is instructing the operator how to handle it.

Then the data is reported back to the shipper and the owner as to the location of shipment and potential mishandling.

Packages can let the tracking system know where they are so any scanning of inventory can be avoided. Customer is informed of the status of the “last mile” delivery accurately and within minutes of arrival as the location data shared by the beacon combined with traffic conditions and time of day and other data points are cross referenced to give accurate analysis of the real-life situation and output forecast or a plan for the next steps.

IFTTT can improve customer satisfaction by instructing the employee on how to accurately handle a specific situation to improve CSAT.

On my recent Delta flight back home my bag was overweight by 4lbs. It was an international flight so the 4lbs would cost me an additional $100 fee. Of course I opened the bag and took some stuff out to cary in hand and became a very disappointed customer. This could’ve been avoided if the clerk’s system was able to calculate the combined weight of bags checked so far to see if they all combined weighed less than 4lbs total, then respond back to the clerk with instructions how to resolve the situation.

I am sure Delta’s price for CSAT is more than $100 but the clerk was told the instructions and he couldn’t apply logic and common sense to resolve the situation favorably for everyone.

However; if there was an IFTTT autopilot system in place to tell him “its OK”, he would not make me take 4lbs of clothes out, and I would walk away feeling served and happy.

Improving quality of work
Autopilot decision engine helps employees be more efficient, but also makes the job easier and less negativity in the workforce will raise the eNPS and with that the morale and efficiency of the entire organization.

Rising tide lifts all boats!

The result of this is evidenced across the industries today, here is one example;

Google employees are very satisfied. Why? Because they bend the process and optimize tools (or build new ones) when the existing don’t work. The company offers services that incentivize employees to work longer as they don’t need to leave work early to pick up the kid from daycare, stop by for groceries or dry cleaning.

What parent wouldn’t love the comfort of having their kid within walking distance of them so that their focus is less on the child’s safety and more on work.

Therefore Google employees are working productively vs actively thus are able to think up disruptive products and technology ahead of its time.

Microsoft or IBM employees however much like any other big business are subject to legacy systems and tools that often require users to learn hacks to circumvent obstacles in their way of completing a task. No one is there to capture their feedback, put up funds to improve the tooling and even when the improvements are forced to happen they are usually slow to roll out and years past time.

It is my personal observation I learned that the enterprise tools necessary to aid performance are usually the bottleneck to progress and affect the very goals they are set to achieve.

It is why Microsoft or IBM are unable to produce disruptive technology, as their bottom-line bean-counting system prohibits them to take on any risk. More often than not the business even fails to fund the product improvements, so putting up dollars for improving the quality of work is even more of a stretch.