Get this. Australia is a beautiful country. Its people are fantastic. But their internet sucks big time. As a frequent visitor to the land downunder I travel its major cities and this last two weeks have stayed in three major 4.5-5 star hotels in Sydney.
Guess what – it is like stepping back in time to the 1990’s with internet/broadband speeds that can best be described as a drug slug. Worse than that it is capped and charged at ridiculous prices. Extortion I would say.
Look how can a developed nation hope to compete internationally when it throttles the life blood of communication?
My hotel room should have lights, AC, hot and cold water and yes an internet connection that actually works. So sorry to my customers, colleagues and family. I am back in the dark ages thinking about communicating with smoke signals and cave art.
Will it stop me coming to Australia? Probably not.
Will it stop me transferring and recommending business here? Most definitely yes. Come on Australia – join the rest of us in the 21st century please.
In 1996, Gilead introduced a “next phase” AIDS medication patients could take in a single daily dose. The new drug, Atripla, vastly improved patient quality of life. It vastly improved compliance. And it has given Gilead an 80% market share of medication prescribed to newly identified AIDS and HIV positive patients, despite introduction of directly competing, single dose products from larger competitors.
Atripla has dramatically grown Gilead’s revenue, along with producing near 40% profit margins. Plus, manufacturing one medication is far less expensive than making 17, matching revenue gains with cost reduction. But Gilead was not finished. Since 2006, Gilead has introduced single dosage treatment for hepatitis-B patients, who had to follow a similarly complex medication schedule, and has initiated development of a similar medication for hepatitis-C.
Through Outside-In, Gilead has become a customer-centric company specializing in quality of life and compliance as well as quality efficacious treatments. However, a common first reaction might be, “How obvious.” And a second might be, “Nothing much to it.”
Gilead did experience a blinding flash of the obvious. But untold numbers of “obvious” solutions to major customer problems go unnoticed because companies can’t see through customer eyes or are afraid to do so. Outside-In forces the issue by starting with the customer not the product or the company or sales goals or profits.
“Nothing much to it?” Au contraire, there was a whole lot to it. Having helped many a company through this type of transformative change, I can reel off a list of likely barriers Gilead faced: reorganizing R&D to focus on drug delivery, a very different discipline than traditional pharmaceutical research; changing support staff roles; laying off manufacturing staff and management; repositioning the company; and that’s just for starters. What Gilead achieved required transformational change, which stresses organizations and often tests their resiliency? No surprise that so many organizations limit themselves to incremental change.
What’s new here?
As you’ve almost certainly recognized, some organizations have employed Outside-In thinking since their inception, as has U.S. department store chain Nordstrom’s, or at least for many years. But two things have changed.
First, Outside-In today extends far beyond identifying opportunities. While full scale OI starts by aligning strategy with customers,it continues by next aligning process with strategies and then technology with process. In that order. More specifically, following opportunity identification OI determines “what” work has to be done by “who” in order to turn opportunity into reality. This strategic step defines organizational change as well as changes to workflow and information flow. Then OI defines “how” the work should be done and the technology enablement required, the tactical side. Not only does Outside-In expand the scope of customer-centric thinking to include implementation; but it also stretches traditional boundaries of process to include the “what” and the “who” plus technology support beyond just addressing the “how.” And that’s why we call it “Outside-In Process.”
The second change is the volume of Outside-In occurring. A number of organizations have already completed the migration from “inside-out” (company-centric) to Outside-In (customer-centric). Others are opportunistically starting to migrate. And some laggards within their own industries have moved or are moving defensively, to avoid the fate of Circuit City, CompUSA, WAMU (Washington Mutual Bank), General Motors and Northwest Airlines all notoriously inside-out companies insensitive to customer needs.