10 Steps to Achieve “Outside-In” Capability

SynopsisIn the previous articles we have reviewed the global business transformation underway and how Advanced BPM is helping notable organizations assert their leadership. In this final article we’ll look at the ingredients of success and ten best practice ‘how tos’ to deliver the transformation.

This final part of the six part series we review how world leading trend setter companies are achieving dramatic success with an ‘Outside in’ approach.

For every dumb inside-out example there’s now a rival, usually leading the pack who like Southwest Airlines are so outside-in focused that they are more than profitable. They crush the competition with an ability to reduce costs and improve service simultaneously. So what are the lessons we can learn from the leaders?
The ‘How To’ Top Ten List to Achieve Outside-In Capability
1. Define your Customer
A couple of kick starters here include asking the organization ‘what business are we in’ and ‘who is the person/group/company that provides us with revenue’. Too often organizations create a mass of so called internal customers and the resulting customer-supplier internal relationships do not contribute to achieving a Successful Customer Outcome for the real customer.
OutsideIn The Secret
2. Articulate your Successful Customer Outcome (SCO)Easyjet, Europe’s 2nd largest airline defined a relatively simple SCO – “Bums on Seats”. Everything they do across people, process, systems and strategy is aligned with achieving that. Hallmark Cards based in the US out of Kansas City define their SCO as “Expression’. A good SCO will catapult performance as people better understand how their contribution adds to the achievement of the SCO.
3. Establish your alignment to achieving the SCOFour areas to start from include people reward systems, systems capability, process maturity and strategic endeavour. If you have a scorecard or Strategy map ask yourself how many performance measures (a) contribute to the SCO, and (b) are forward looking to progressively help us get better at delivering results. We can’t go forward by just looking in the rear view mirror.
4. Identify customer touchpoints – Moments of Truth (MOT)Customers are the Cause of Work. Every interaction we have with them results in work for our organization and creates Points of Failure. Apple have done a miraculous job in creating the i-phone and integrating the MOTs into one slick interface. Rather than many key presses for a simple operation like getting the contact list those various actions have been combined into one finger swiping Moment of Truth and in doing so made the customers life simpler, easier and more successful. Once you have identified the MOTs the edict is ‘remove or improve’.
5. Reveal internal hand-offs – Breakpoints (BP)Moments of Truth spawn Breakpoints. Every customer interaction requires us to go away and do stuff internally. The resulting activity with hand-offs between departments, people, systems and functions are Breakpoints. These Points of Failure result in unnecessary non value added work which from recent BP Group Research may be as much as 70-90% of what actually goes on in a company. Once identified Breakpoints should be removed.
6. Capture the Business Rules (BR)Business Rules determine our behaviour. They tell us what to do and when. Frequently BR’s were created to prevent things going wrong and get forgotten as we change and develop our businesses. Identify them, make them explicit and challenge them.
7. Perform an Impact and Risk Assessment against Customer NeedsAre you delivering what the customer says they want, or actually what they really need? Henry Ford said “If I had asked them what they wanted they would have said faster horses”. Are you creating the equivalent of faster horses and then wondering why sales are struggling? Do your processes rely on input from self-selecting customers analysed by the marketing teams? Get the customer in there. Seek the answers and then match the real need.
8. Develop an Outside-In Action PlanMany of the inside-out plans are really obvious as the actions are more about dealing with symptoms and affects rather than the true causes of work. Truly Outside-In Action Plans are about reinforcing the achievement of SCO’s through process change and subsequently defining and managing new customer expectations. How many of us knew we needed an Apple ipod before they were invented? What about that extra fancy drink from Starbucks that you are addicted to? What about the personal loan that hits your bank account the same day?
9. Execute the Plan as you go (simple and no nonsense)Many plans stay exactly that – just plans. The Outside-In reality demonstrates that many actions revolve around stopping the dumb stuff which shouldn’t need escalated sign-offs and committees to push them through. One recent survey suggested that more than 80% of the effort around plans in inside-out organizations consisted of talking about, getting buy-in and then achieving sign-off. If you are doing dumb stuff then stop it. Now.
10. Begin the Journey to the Outside-In world now.Waiting for executive sign-off or consensus will never get you off the launch pad. There’s that old Irish joke of when you are lost in Eire and you stop to ask a guy directions and he ponders, stares off into space for a couple of minutes and then offers the sage wisdom “I wouldn’t start from here”. Most of us don’t have a choice – just get started.
Examine everything you do from the CEM perspective and begin where ever you are currently to implement this ‘call to arms’. Your progress as individuals, teams or improvement initiatives will get noticed soon because you will be achieving triple crown success – taking out costs, improving service, and ultimately driving more revenue to the bottom line.
“…keep things simple. People get lost when a systematic approach becomes over complex and they lose sight of the actual goal.” Richard Branson, 2007
In doing so you will be creating a sustainable, agile and responsive enterprise where everyone explicitly contributes to individual, team and corporate success.
All the Very Best in your journey!

If you are interested in delving deeper get the book ‘Outside-In The Secret’

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