Fascinating article in Information Week with lots of specific references about how technological capabilities are allowing businesses to recreate themselves. Their point is that technology helps you define the business you want to be in. Technology has reached such powerful capabilities that you can re-envision your mission based on a sound understanding of what your customers are actually buying from you, and make it happen with technology.
Sounds like too much, maybe? Well, if you thought you were going to sit on your laurels and stay where you started, you probably wouldn’t be in business in the first place–and in this day and age you surely wouldn’t be around for long periods of time. So listen carefully. The lesson here is that competition is requiring businesses to hear much more intently what their customers are asking for and making use of. And yes, it means that everybody in some ways is trying to be everything to everybody–which can work if you’ve got the customer intelligence data to back up your carefully planned and supported strategic moves. For some, like FedEx and Brown and Exxon and Starbucks, some of the giants mentioned in this article, technology opens the doors to making use of every discovery about customers. For those of us in somewhat smaller realms, the same principles can apply–it only means we have to think just as creatively as the big guys about our customer data, and then think much harder about where we will invest in technology to support our vision.
Just heard about a new powerful application from MacroMedia called Flex that lets you design “rich” (read highly customer interactive) online applications–like making your catalog totally interactive and blindingly fast at giving your customers the information they want. Could be one of the keys to affordably making your visions a reality. Check it out here and view the demo.