Customer value as foundation for optimal organization
As a car enthusiast, I enjoy reading TopGear magazine. Besides the magazine, I am potentially interested in their events, videos or merchandising. For readers of the Dutch Margriet magazine or a door-to-door newspaper, the situation may be completely different. So for similar products and services, there can be different value streams. A clever mix of economies of scale and differentiation requires a well thought-out organization.
Customer value should be the primary starting point here. When you have that in your sight, it becomes easier to optimize and manage in a data-driven way than with a traditional focus on business functions. Value streams offer plenty of guidance because you can analyze all the individual steps required to deliver something of value. This includes monitoring the ultimately delivered value itself.
You then go through all the successive standard phases of the customer journey: from awareness, evaluate, purchase, delivery to service and/or after-sales. At each step you weigh what can be organized generically and where something specific must be undertaken or set up. With magazines it is important to identify differences and similarities. So in terms of offerings, subscription forms, related activities and so on surrounding target groups. And in terms of supporting functions.
Similarly, an energy company has different activities and functions. In addition to gas and electricity supply, products and services can be provided. Think of solar panels, charging stations, heat pumps, smart thermostats. Often these are relatively separate value streams and processes organized in silos. While supporting functions such as sales, marketing, service delivery can very well be organized generically due to their product-transcending nature.
“We need to get rid of products and services that all have their own person on top of the rock.“Erik Vuuregge
For both the organization and the customer, a smart setup has many advantages. For example, both the energy company and magazine publisher have a much better understanding of the market through centralization of the customer view, allowing you to serve it better and more completely. We must move away from the situation where individual products and services all have their own person on top of the rock, with their own decentralized organized strategy and approach. Instead of compartmentalization and self-interest, the delivery of customer value must take center stage.
You achieve this through a matrix-like setup, bringing certain things together and making others specific – preferably based on reusable modules. Product owners or others responsible for products and services can make their own choices and take ownership better than ever. At the same time, they benefit from everything that can be set up generically. This applies to both large and small organizations.
Insight is fundamental to such an organizational and cultural change. A thorough analysis of key business activities is a good start. You then make sure that all processes, functions, resources and systems are in view. Moreover, if you know to whom you deliver which forms of value, then you can align yourself optimally with them. Our experience as Anderson MacGyver shows that this leads to significantly better results.
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