World power is shifting – but where to?

We are all aware of the seismic shifts underway. The decline of the west and the (re)emergence of India and China. People in the west are fond of the idea that the Chindia is emerging, however before the industrial revolution the East was the major economic force on the planet. It is a re-emergence then, and where is it going?

What do you think?

The customer can’t be king at the expense of your business

Goutam Das       Last Updated: February 15, 2013  | 15:37 IST
Steve Towers
Steve Towers

Steve Towers is a business process and customer satisfaction expert and the author of “Outside In – The Secret of the 21st Century Leading Companies”. In India, he advises the Tata group, Wipro and other BPOs on ways to organise their processes and people better to deliver customer outcomes successfully. Towers, a keynote speaker at the Nasscom India Leadership Forum , took time off for a conversation with Goutam Das.
Edited excerpts:

Q. Have organisations started to worry more about customer centricity these days?
. It is top of the pile in terms of themes. Customer centricity, however, is not always understood. We tend to talk about it from a technology-centric point of view – we tend to think of information technology and front-end systems. We talk about CRM (customer relationship management) systems and things like that. Organisations need to move beyond what we refer to as ‘inside out’ thinking. One of the reasons to move forward is that customers themselves has changed. They have become promiscuous – they are not as loyal as they used to be. They have also become very rebellious – highly choosy in terms of who they want a product from. This causes them to move very quickly versus the longer-term relationships of the past. All our organisations are collections of customers and their expectations have risen with the availability of technology, which gives them access to a lot more information. Those organisations that understand that have been able to look at customer centricity in a different way. We refer to that way as “outside in”.

Q. Explain your philosophy of ‘outside in’ and how companies have benefited from this.
It means identifying what customer needs are and then working backwards to organise the company accordingly. Those organisations that are struggling – the Kodaks, the Nokias, RIM – they are still looking at the world inside out. Those who have been successful have seen the world outside in. They are aligning their business to deliver against customer needs, which can be created. Emirates Airlines creates that need by talking about the experience that they are going to give you once you arrive at the destination. Disney tells a very good story on the difference between wants and needs. They often say the customer does not know what they want. When you arrive at a Disney park, the first question a customer may ask is: “Where’s the toilet?”

The second most asked question is “What time is the Three O’clock Parade?” Customers are articulating a need within that question and the answer is in the context of that question. A woman with two small kids is not asking what time the parade is – she already knows the time – what she really needs to know is a place where she can go and stand with the kids, where there is a water fountain, an ice-cream vendor. She wants to be away from the hot sun. She hasn’t articulated that but the organization understands that need. Disney works on the basis of needs, not wants. Similarly, Nokia was very successful 10 years back and went on building devices that customers wanted. Other organizations thought differently. Apple made an observation on how many interactions one needs to pull up a telephone number. In an inside out phone, that will be seven-eight key presses. Everyone of those key presses is a moment of truth. And you have to build functionality to support that moment of truth. More functionality means a more complex system. Apple redesigned the interface and there are three moments of truth instead of seven-eight. It is less expensive to do that and offers a better customer experience. That is a principle Nokia has missed.

Q. Do Indian companies have an outside in perspective?
There are two kinds of organisations. One: those who are carrying on building efficiencies and effectiveness and use things like Lean (a methodology of eliminating waste in a company) and Six Sigma to remove waste. Eventually, you get to a point where you optimise processes and can’t go any further. Other organisations say Lean and Six Sigma are fine but we want to challenge if a process actually deserves to exist. In India, there is a clear distinction between those organisations that are getting it and those that don’t.

Q. How do you measure who is getting it right?
It is winning the triple crown, which is simultaneously growing revenues, reducing costs and enhancing service. The triple crown can be directly linked to customer success. Instead of starting with resources a company has, then going to market strategy and then finding customers, you start with customers and their needs and then align everything in the organisation to deliver that. In India, IndiGo (Airlines) is a prime example of looking at the world in a different way. Contrast IndiGo with Kingfisher – they talk about the customer being the king but the customer can’t be king at the expense of your business. The reason customer is king is that we can grow shareholder value, can create profits and deliver service. Other examples of companies looking outside in are Tata Motors and the transformation of Jaguar.

Process Outside In – vidblog

The BP Group compiles a bi monthly update of all things process which gets listed on the blog and syndicated all over. The latest can be Process Performance Update. However one of my close colleagues suggested I should produce the update as a travelog, where ever I am, whatever I am doing – just say it! – so here it is. Depending on your point of view it is either an informative light hearted look at process, or eight minutes of relevant pertinent stuff for business professionals. You choose 😉

Videos/new BPM apps/presentation downloads/conference updates

In the Process/Performance basket this time we have Videos/new BPM apps/presentation downloads/conference updates

Greetings from Mumbai 
My travels this last few weeks have included USA, UK, UAE and now India. The team are also hot footing around South Africa, Australia, Kuala Lumpur, Europe and the US through this month.

Not only has it been the significant contrast in weather (snow/cold > sunny/hot) it is the somewhat different approaches being adopted towards Outside In. This week sees me at the India Leadership event hosted by NASSCOM. I will be meeting with the press and continuing to learn about what is making India so successful. My talk will be accessible later, if you want a copy let me know,

On the subject of talks and videos have you reviewed the latest videos of the key tools and techniques? Here they are (and they are available to download and distribute!)

Business Process Management – what is it?

Moments of Truth – what are they?

Breakpoints and Business Rules?

Successful Customer Outcomes (SCO’s)

Voice of Customer?

And now drum roll > have you downloaded the BPM Certifcation app (IOS and Android)?

There are links to resources, videos. events, reviews and much more. It is only version 1 so let us know your thoughts and how we can make it better for the community.

Apple version:

Android version:

Recent presentations..
Access my recent keynote for some pertinent insights (or Outside In depending on your view point)

The associated slide show is embedded however you can download that from here.

Topical articles –

Brad Power – Working successfully with physical fragmented teams

Chris Taylor – Business process failure goes viral

Dr. Mohan K. – Rethinking the function of Business functions

Reint Jan Holterman – 5 steps on the Path to Success with BPM
* And lastly for now have you reviewed the all new classes? new case studies and coaching from been there and done it experienced mentors*.

Review the coaches and their in depth practical hands on wisdom.

Considering training in Enterprise BPM/Outside In?If someone in your organization is considering certification do ask these questions of anyone offering the training:

1. Where have you done this?

2. What credentials can you claim in the community?

3. Who trained you originally in Outside In?

4. When did you start and who have you helped?

5. What references can you provide, at a CEO level for the successes you have achieved?

6. Are any of your people published, and if so what and when?

7. What is the size of your network?

8. Are your trainings and courses accredited, and if so by whom?

9. Are you helping to develop the community? If so how?

PS. Tell your colleagues they owe themselves the best to go with the most experienced, up to date, pragmatic, relevant and immediate training from the BP Group

Ciao Steve

An Idiots guide to Outside In?

Back in 2010 when I was writing the book, Outside In (click here) we determined a couple of fundamentals as leaders of the Customer Process One Council:

  1. Outside-In is a philosophy and method of managing an organization by understanding and delivering Successful Customer Outcomes.
  2. Outside-In Process optimizes value-delivery to customers. By fusing customer-driven process with customer-centric strategies, O-I creates successful customer outcomes (SCOs) – the foundation for achieving sustainable growth and profitability in an increasingly buyer-driven marketplace.

Of course everything evolves 🙂

We have the annual updater webinar soon (click here) and this year there are more than 50 specific advances to the techniques and tools, derived from organizations across all sectors. The webinar is interactive and limited in attendance so if you wish to join move swiftly.

You may wish to remind yourself of some of the fundamentals that underpin Outside In thinking and practice. If so review these 2-5 minute vids:


PS. Prefer in class attendance either open or inhouse? Review
There are eight levels including Certified Process Practitioner, Professional, Master, Advanced Master & Champion.

PEX Network European Awards

PEX 2013 in Florida. Participants enjoying the keynote.

Entry Deadline has been extended until 22nd February!

Review the Entry conditions for this
top rated BP Group supported event – then download the winners entries from last months US PEX Awards!

This is your opportunity for global
industry-wide recognition

You now have until Friday 22nd February 2013 to enter your project, program or deployment leader into the PEX Network European Awards.

If you are one of the innovators who are transforming and innovating process excellence this is the ideal opportunity to showcase your achievements to the judges and if you win, the wider community.

Winning an award will put you and your organisation on the process excellence map!

This year’s judges include Process Excellence experts from Bank of New York Mellon, DB, RSA, BP, Ministry of Justice, Honeywell, ABB, Fornari, Alstom, BP Group, Lloyd’s Register and BNP Paribas Cardif.

Enter as many of the 7 categories as you like. Just make sure you submit your Project or Programme by 22nd February 2013.

> View the categories

Feeling inspired? Put pen to paper to share your vision, strategy, project selection, metrics, communication, innovation and results to tell your process excellence story to our hand selected judges.

How to enter

Review the 7 categories and follow the simple 3 step process to enter.

Start by downloading your Application Kit

If you have any questions ahead of entering please contact us on

All shortlisted finalists will be announced mid-March.
Mark your diary for the Awards Ceremony on 30th April 2013, London.

Enter before Friday 22nd February – recognise your, your teams and your companies process excellence efforts!

All the best,
The PEX Network Awards Team

P.S. Start preparing your entry by downloading the Application Kit.

Looking for inspiration?
The winners of the PEX Network North American Awards have made their entries available for you.

Meet the 2013 North American Process Excellence award winners

Project Award Winner Best Project
Over 90 Days:

Braskem UNIB 2 RS – Reduction in fuel consumption at petrochemical processing plant

Project Award Winner Best Project
Under 90 Days:

Braskem UNIB 3 ABC- Increasing production capacity atchemical processing plant

Project Award Runner Up:
Scottsdale Healthcare – Pressure UlcerReduction Project

Congratulations to the Winners
and Runner Ups!

Apple service and sales really sucks.

Now don’t get me wrong I have bought and enjoyed every apple device money can buy. Yes I have one of everything and have always loved the customer experience, whether online, in-store or over the phone – until this evening at millennial mall in Orlando.

A busy store as you can see however that’s not unusual, what is though is the effort to convert 600 greenbacks for a new mike and headphones

Issue 1 – asking for help. Is it a new policy to now avoid eye contact with customers?

Issue 2 – when you do track someone down they can’t help, and want to pass you to someone else, already 4 deep with customers. “He will help you in a minute” said the obvious supervisor who ‘s member of staff complained openly that he hadn’t had his break

Issue 3 – “stay here, I will get someone else to help” says Ms. Boss. I wait, and wait but a then obviously harrassed guy to tell me “I will be with you soon” 4 minutes go by and still no help.

Issue 4 – no one cares clearly as I put down the Bowers snd Wilkins P5 headset and the snazzy USB Mike and walk out of the store.

That is it. The end of my relationship with Apple? Guess at least I will not be shopping there again. More so I will move my business to Samsung and give them a chance with my hard earned money.

Has the rot set in?

Who do you want your customers to become?

According to MIT innovation expert and thought leader Michael Schrage, if you aren’t asking this question, your strategic marketing and innovation efforts will fail.

In this latest HBR Single, Schrage provides a powerful new lens for getting more value out of innovation investment. He argues that asking customers to do something different doesn’t go far enough—serious marketers and innovators must ask them to become something different instead. Even more, you must invest in their capabilities and competencies to help them become better customers.

Schrage’s primary insight is that innovation is an investment in your client, not just a transaction with them. To truly innovate today, designing new products or features or services won’t get you there. Only by designing new customers—thinking of their future state, being the conduit to their evolution—will you transform your business.

Schrage explains how the above question (what he calls “The Ask”) will incite you and your team to imagine and design ideal customer outcomes as the way to drive your business’s future. The Single is organized around six key insights and includes practical exercises to help you apply the question to your current situation. Schrage also includes examples from well-known companies—Google, Facebook, Disney, Starbucks, Apple, IKEA, Dyson, Ryanair, and others—to illustrate just what is possible when you apply “The Ask.”

Marketing executives, brand managers, strategic innovators, and entrepreneurs alike should understand how successful innovation rebrands the client and not the product. A requisite question for its time, Who Do You Want Your Customers To Become will liberate you and your team from ‘innovation myopia’—and turn your innovation efforts on their head.

He argues that asking customers to do something different doesn’t go far enough—serious marketers and innovators must ask them to become something different instead. Even more, you must invest in their capabilities and competencies to help them become better customers.

As we say here at BPM Towers – If you can figure what the right thing to do is you will innovate to do it!

A good read for gaining even more Customer Insight.