Friday, May 28, 2010

Achieving exhilarating Customer Delight, in turbulent times…

In all the bloodshed in economies across globe, no one is immune. Each one of businesses have got impacted except (bankruptcy lawyers of course). So how it has impacted the IT industry in general the big engagements? Many of us might ponder - what heck, i don't care, i have a job and i know how to survive this storm.

Do we really know?
Do we really know how to sail through?
Do we really know how we can keep our flags high and achieve the Customer Delight in these turbulent times.

To help ourselves lets interview ourselves:

We: What are Top 2 Current IT Challenges?
I: Personally i feel

a) The first impact of the overall liquidity crisis is already popping out - some funds have decided to go slow or sudden "No investment plans" have become the norm. It may get worse (or already is) before it gets better.

b) Since the economic issue here is not the equity markets but the credit market there is a significant risk not just to growth but even sustenance of current state.

We: Do we have ready made quick fix solutions?
I: Are we dreaming. Lets wake up to reality, its a mess we created and we need to clean up, there are no shortcuts.

We: How to get Customer Delight in this turbulence?
I: Good question, I feel,

1. I call it as "Keep your blinkers on" - Focus on our existing lines of business and focus on customers pains.

2. Postpone the more uncertain long term strategies if required.

3. Ask our customers - Lets partner to help relieve your pains and strategize accordingly to help them zoom through this current mess.

4. Think about how this downturn affects our customers / partners Vs how does it affect us.

We: That's good, but are there any actionizable thoughts for keeping afloat?
I: Abundant, In fact each person if soliloquy,can share varying perspectives. Here are a few of mine:

1. First and foremost - Lets target and Keep our team together - share and celebrate successes, be transparent about challenges. Invest in our best people.

2. Since we cannot manage economy, so lets manage everything else - our business and circle of influence.

3. Lets throw out the models and spreadsheets, because all assumptions will be wrong. Just
* Focus on quality.
* Reduce risk.

4. Lets not target getting ahead but let "surviving/sustaining" be the "cool" mantra. After-all this era is an era of survival of the quickest.

5. Lets be brutal when it comes to raising red flags during Go-No go and even Risk management. There should be "No waiting zone" for escalation(s) at any stage of our engagement.

6. Most importantly, we all are at key decision making roles so "Lets be true to ourselves". No appeasing-pleasing the boss / sycophancy will really work. Its a time for real circus and let we be the real jokers.

7. Focus on long term objectives and quality.

8. Lets target ONLY on our B&B (bread and butter) and deliver value in that. All add-ons can come as situational commodities.

9. Lets avoid being mind share oriented.

10. For everyone at senior levels, I know "Revenues are vanity, profits are sanity", but defer this for a while and lets be more niche for our B&B (bread and butter) than being generalist even in that.

11. Since V-shaped recovery is far from likely, so lets Go on the offensive and pound on our competitors’ shortcomings.

12. Be aggressive with our messaging and be out there. In a downturn, i feel, aggressive PR and communications strategy is key.

We: Thanks for your insights.
I: Pleasure is mine. Thanks for privilege.