Digikehitys ja ikivanhat tekosyyt

King Penquin and Egg“Ei kannata haaskata aikaa digitaaliseen markkinointiin ja viestintään, elleivät perusasiat ole kunnossa”, täräytti tutkimusyhtiö Market-Vision johtaja yhtiön blogissa. Asiaa selventämään hän listaa surullisia esimerkkejä toimimattomasta asiakaspalvelusta ja rikkinäisestä myyntiprosessista.

Ei, ei ja ei. Olen asiasta eri mieltä. Ikivanha tekosyy olla tarttumatta uuteen. Se, että organisaatio ei ole pystynyt osastosiilojen rajat ylittävään toimintaan on tavallista. Mutta se, että jos yhdessä siilossa uidaan syvällä automaattisesti johtaisi rukkasten pudottamiseen muuallakin on siiloutumistakin älyttömämpi ajatus.

Toimimaton prosessi ja huono palvelun taso kertoo, että asiakkaiden ja markkinan muutosvauhdissa ei ole pysytty mukana. Kun sitten vielä jättäytyy pois digitaalisen kentän murroksesta, niin voi kyllä aloittaa ruumisarkun kannen lakkaamisen (kuten ihana ex-kollegani Johannes tapasi sanoa laiskoista myyntimiehistä).

Blogissa mainittujen esimerkkien tulisi ehdottomasti kokeilla välittömästi jos Twitterissä tai Facebookissa palvelu onnistuisi kivuttomammin. Telejättimme TeliaSonera tarjoaa tästä loistavan vastaesimerkin. Soneran organisaatio ei ole vielä saanut vanhaa asiakaspalvelun prosessiaan iskuun, mutta onnistui sen digitaalisessa toteutuksessa – suomeksi sanottuna: puhelinpalvelu kusee, mutta asiakaspalvelu Facebookissa toimii. Ystäväni lausui tätä blogia kirjoittaessani: “Mä oikeastaan luotan Soneraan somessa, kun mä en ole aikoihin luottanut niihin missään muussa kanavassa.” Hyvä investointi Soneralta!

Toinen hyvä esimerkki on Bangkokin Suomen suurlähetystön asiakaspalvelu Facebook-sivullaan. Toimivaa, täsmällistä tietoa maassa matkaaville helppoa kanavaa pitkin. Puhelinpalvelu ei toimisi tässä yhtä tehokkaasti ja joustavasti. (Matkailin juuri maassa ja seurasin tilannetiedotusta mellakoiden alla.)

Polku virheitä välttelevästä siilo-organisaatiosta kokeilevaksi sosiaaliseksi palveluorganisaatioksi on kitkainen. Kitka on merkki siitä, että jotain ollaan oppimassa jotain uutta. Digitaalisen läsnäolon opettelun aika on nyt. Muutos vaatii asiakkaiden tilanteen parempaa ymmärtämistä ja vie paljon aikaa ja resursseja.  Jos aitoon kokeiluun ei kannusteta, ja osastojen välinen yhteistyö ja auttaminen ontuu, veikkaan homman hoituvan hitaammin, jos ollenkaan.

Osastosiilojen rajat jatkavat madaltumistaan. Osastorajojen joustava ylitys on edellytys matkalla parempaan palveluun ja asiakaskokemukseen.

Viestintä-, HR-, aspa- ja markkinointiosasto ovat turhaan tukkanuottasilla siitä kenen tontille sosiaalinen media kuuluu ja mitä siellä pitäisi tehdä. Ilkeästi voisi sanoa, että kun  vastuu on viestintäosastolla, se käyttää somessa korporaatiokielikukkasia. Anna vastuu markkinointiosastolle ja se sortuu myyntimonologiin, vuorovaikuttamatta. HR-ammattilaiset etenevät hitaasti varoen suututtamasta ketään ja aspassa uskotaan kaikkivoipaan prosessiin, joka palvelusofta määrittää.

Viestintä-, HR-, markkinointi-, asiakaspalvelu- ja IT-ammattilaiset viruvat turhaan siiloissaan ja asiakas on ymmällään. Istuta asiakas kultatuoliin ja tämä jengi heitä palvelemaan – yhdessä. Eri kanavissa. Ennen kaikkea tämä edellyttää sitä, että autatte toisianne. 

Organisaatiokulttuuripioneeri Edgar H. Schein kirjoittaa osuvasti auttamisen prosessista ”A Corporate Climate of Mutual Help” (pdf): ”Better teamwork requires perpetual mutual helping, within and across hierarchical boundaries.” Rakastan Scheininin ajattelua. Ymmärrys, kuten luottamuskin, syntyy vuorovaikutuksessa, suhteissa toimijoiden välillä, sekä yritysten sisällä että niiden välillä. Tähän ei ole oikotietä. Auttamisen prosessit kuntoon.  

Kyky mukautua, kyseenalaistaa ja kokeilla

Turhan moni suomalainen organisaatio kärsii syndroomasta, jota alussa mainittu blogimöläytys kuvaa. Kokeiluhaluttomuudesta, yhteistyökyvyn puutteesta ja jumittavista osastosiiloista. Aiheesta on keskusteltu kymmeniä vuosia, tässä lempiesimerkkinä 20 vuoden takaa. HBR:n artikkelissa (From Value Chain to Value Constellation: Designing Interactive Strategy, Harvard Business Review, 1993) Normann ja Ramírez lausuvat organisaatioden selviytymiskyvystä muuttuvassa markkinassa:

“[…] those looking beyond their immediate boundaries to the social and business systems in which they are enmeshed and discover new ways to reconfigure those systems in order to reinvent value for their customers.”

Perinteiset palvelukanavat ja uudet digikanavat voivat tukea murrosvaiheessa toisiaan. Kun organisaatio tarjoaa hyvää palvelua somessa, se lievittää puhelinpalvelun ylikuormitusta (joka on monesti osasyy sen toimimattomuuteen ja huonoon asiakaskokemukseen). Samalla vapautuu aikaa kehittää vanhempia prosesseja asiakkaiden muuttuvien toimintatapojen ja toiveiden mukaiseksi. Organisaatio, joka kykenee katsomaan kriittisesti sekä nykytilannetta että hahmottamaan tulevaa, oppii nopeammin.

Mukautumiskyvyn lisäksi organisaatiossa tarvitaan asennetta ja halua oppia. Organisaatio, joka näkee asiakaskokemuksen toiminnan kehittämisen ytimessä, menestyy. Siitä syntyy laadukasta jälkeä, jossa jokainen osanen istuu pikkuhiljaa kokonaisuuteen ja asiakkaalle tuotetaan arvoa.

Ei kannata keskittyä hevosen kengityksen palveluprosessiin kun autot ovat tulleet markkinoille.

PS. Ihmiset, kulttuuri ja suhteet päärooliin. Teknologia tukee.

Kuva: http://www.flickr.com/photos/muddybones/8372248213/in/photostream/

 

Human Capital in the Cloud

Cloud as a verb. Picture credit: Marc Lagneau http://www.flickr.com/photos/marc-lagneau/6056044037/

Cloud as a verb. Picture credit: Marc Lagneau http://www.flickr.com/photos/marc-lagneau/6056044037/

I just stumbled into an excellent article on the future of the IT & HR departments by Forbes blogger, IBMer Rawn Shah.  Shah refers to an interesting blog post by Mr. Richie Etwaru (Director of Applied Innovation & Transformation Portfolio at UBS). The article has a very cool angle; the gentlemen speak about ‘Human as a Service’. Surprising and beautiful.

(Note. I am not a HR professional, but I do care about people; colleagues, partners, competitors – ecosystem-wide. Even if I am an eager social technology lover, I do understand it is all about the people!)

Cloud as a Verb

Firstly, in the article, Mr. Etwaru coins ‘clouding as a verb’. That stuck right away, an excellent thought – cloud is an enabler and therefore using it as a verb is very fitting:

“Practitioners looking to the future for a vision of the IT department a decade or two ahead must stop looking at the cloud as a noun and start looking at clouding as a verb. Cloud is a noun describing a set of efficiency principles that can now be applied to a newly stateless once state-ful storage and compute IT estate driven by virtualization and cloud operating systems…

Looking one or two decades ahead, leaders are pressed to answer what can be clouded above and beyond compute and storage… Leaders must imagine a world where Workplace can be a Service, Expertise can be a Service, Business Process can be a Service…”

Well put. All my favorite topics; cloud computing, the role of IT department, and here for the new kind of leadership and HR practices. All areas needing a fresh re-think, and some serious unlearning. The decades of siloed functions must come to an end. Similarly, so-called support functions for business – as the IT & HR depts are – must become truly supporting in the meaning of new ways of working. Social IT, as my dear friend Chris Dancy calls it. He has also coined another interesting notion: ‘People as a Platform‘.

I believe that more social IT would be less hated IT. HR departments have it a bit easier, I suppose.

Stateful and Stateless Design of Work

Secondly, the article discusses ‘talent as a cloud’ and takes a very interesting view on the design of work – namely ‘stateful’ and ‘stateless’ design of work.

Let me explain. The design of work within a stateful talent system requires that the resources are carefully planned and in place in advance, and making sure that all the puzzle pieces are in place before any activity can begin. Sounds familiar? Yes, this is the way most of us are used to work.

As the opposite, a stateless talent system, does not require the reservation of resources,  but “instead each step of the process completes it portion of activity and there is some indication of whom should receive the output next”, Rawn Shah writes. That does sound scary and too chaos-like to many. Rawn further explains the pros and cons:

“There are pros and cons to both, although it generally boils down to the overhead involved in knowing previous and next steps. Stateful devices made more efficient use of resources but were fairly inflexible or ‘brittle’. Stateless devices were cheaper and simpler to create, requiring less memory and processing to keep track of things. In the end, a stateless system is much more agile and resilient.”

Absolutely fabulous thinking and very much needed for the more flexible, agile business models. I’ll find this very inspiring. Not a simple task at all, but I feel and believe that we must – and especially leaders and HR departments must – start to rethink a bit. Many of you are already doing it, of course. 

Bad Fit with Your Business Processes?

The existing business processes are mainly designed for long-term to a group of specific jobs: a stateful reservation of resources (people and their expertise), managed by a single manager, for a certain project, under a certain period of time. Why it would be wise to try out a different way of work design? Here’s more of Rawn Shah’s brilliant thinking:

“Why is this? We often consider only the primary talents of an individual, their main skills or knowledge domain. The goal is to maximize their potential by applying them where they are best suited. Noble intent, but it ignores the reality that people are generally multidimensional and everyone has creativity and knowledge that can apply to other areas.

A stateful talent system focuses on a single purpose and seeks to optimize it to the utmost; a stateless model recognizes that they could be doing different things at different times and balances variety with skill.”

Yes for multidimensional talents, yes for creativity & knowledge flows over the borders. This is what is needed in the global competition: an organization cannot cope with the old style, with closed teams, one-trick-pony-managers, and strict hierarchies. Indeed, like rock’n’roll, social business design is here to stay.

Human Capital as a Service – in the cloud, beautiful!

Smart Robots as a Service

In his own blog Mr. Etwaru states:

“We may never move clouding up the stack all the way to making human capacity stateless and hence delivering said capacity as a Service, but the companies that move furthest and fastest up the stack clouding state-ful resources along the way will engineer the agility and on-demand efficient operating models to win.”

He also asks “Will smart robots eventually be instantiated to spin up more human capacity when demand is needed?”. His question is utmost relevant. My dear friends Cristina Andersson and Jari Kaivo-oja have written an interesting book (in Finnish) related to this topic – BohoBusiness. (As soon as it is available in English, I will share the link here.)

This is Not a New Idea?  

The thoughts by Mr. Etwaru and Rawn Shah reminded me of an old quote related to the adaptable structures and ecosystems, by Michael Porter himself:

“Industries are profitable not because they are sexy or high tech; they are profitable only if their structures are attractive.”

Most industries and organizations are trying to score right under the constant change by requiring these new types of adaptable structures – the structures within and outside of an organization, within the ecosystem it belongs to. The development is very, very rapid and it raises increased demand for choice, chance, change and flexibility. The stateless talent system might be a step towards a right direction.

This discussion also reminds me of old HBR article of Normann and Ramírez (From Value Chain to Value Constellation: Designing Interactive Strategy, Harvard Business Review, 1993). They stated that those organizations that are going to survive in the disruptive, changing environment are:

“[…] those looking beyond their immediate boundaries to the social and business systems in which they are enmeshed and discover new ways to reconfigure those systems in order to reinvent value for their customers.”

And this article is 19 years old.

Looking forward to follow the discussion by the people who know more about Talent Management and HR than I do. An interesting challenge for all HR professionals, I almost hope I could work with these issues : )

Human Capital instead of Human Resources?  

By the way, why don’t we speak more often about Human Capital (HC) instead of Human Resources (HR)?  I think that HR is a notion that belongs to the stateful system thinking, and HC fits in perfectly with the idea of the stateless talent system.

What do you think?


Related to this topic:

Excellent video by John Hagel: Recognizing the Power of Pull

For IT professionals, a great article by Chris Dancy, Bradley Busch and Kathryn Howard IT Service Management Going Social

Picture credit goes to Marc Lagneau – my friend found the lovely photo and thought it describes ‘Cloud as a verb’ perfectly. I agree.

Trust-based Collaboration and Cultural Differences

Being silent isn’t being strong. A wall sign I saw in a pub in Liverpool earlier this year.

This is a summary post of the topics I have been writing about during 2011. This has been an amazing year of social networks for me. I have learned a lot from hundreds of people around the globe. I highly value the network of the brilliant, talented, and trustworthy people I have the pleasure to collaborate with.

Thank you all for 2011, you know who you are!  

As more social business environment and the new ways of working are changing the organizations and reforming the entire business landscape  I’ll find it important and very interesting to study how we create and innovate, make decisions, and further how better mutual understanding can be created. We all know that the existing organizational structures needs a refresh, and that we, knowledge workers, should be passionate about helping our organizations to be more open, learning organizations.

One among many answers to this challenge is to focus on recognizing the value of ‘discovering’ people in your global network and further interacting and connecting with them on new levels. Naturally, different cultures and communication styles can then collide, softly or sometimes violently. Let me share a story about the Finnish way.

Continue reading

Social Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing, ready for the Social Business?

Supertramp album from 1975 – Photo by me

I recently found my old thesis, and yes, some of its topics and content are (still) relevant, as this one: the evolution of organization and work structures. The very same topic Esko Kilpi is researching. The discussion in my old thesis and Esko’s blog posts inspire me to learn more about this topic.

One chapter in my thesis starts with a quote by Michael Porter:

“Industries are profitable not because they are sexy or high tech; they are profitable only if their structures are attractive.”

Well put. Many industries and organizations are trying to score right under the constant change requiring new type of more adaptable structures. The development has been very rapid and raises increased demand for choice, chance, change and flexibility.

Continue reading

Are You Systems Intelligent?

My friends have patiently tolerated my numerous stories about Professor Esa Saarinen’s Paphos Classic seminar I attended in September this year. Indeed, it was the most amazing and surprising week, a true celebration of creativity and humanity. However impossible it is to describe it, I’ll try every now then. Anyways, this post is about a related connection I observed.

I often admire John Hagel’s articles in Harvard Business Review, via Twitter I happened to find a presentation “The Big Shift: Challenge and Opportunity for Women” that he gave at the TEDx Bay Area Woman conference in December 8th, 2010.

 

His message took me right back to Paphos topics. Before going further I shortly describe which part of Esa Saarinen’s work he reminded me of. In the first seminar morning Esa started the day by saying something like this:

We may have a surprisingly narrow sense of ourselves.

With this sentence Esa Saarinen paved the way to his theory of Systems Intelligence which he defines as follows: “Systems Intelligence (SI) involves the ability to use the human sensibilities of systems and reasoning about systems in order to adaptively carry out productive actions within and with respect to systems.”

All of us have two thinking systems, so-called System 1 and System 2. System 1 thinking can be described as automatic, associative, and intuitive. System 2 thinking is dominating in the work places: you better be strictly rational and always take the various rules into account in your thinking. It’s all about being analytical and systematical, that’s very much appreciated! We can’t afford emotions at the work place, and so on.

It is easy and very tempting to see the opposite, systems stupidity. In every day work situations the System 2 thinking is active and often unintentionally blocking System 1 thinking – and therefore narrowing the possibilities at hands. Indeed, very often we are having a surprisingly narrow sense of ourselves! When both systems are active, there’s a room for intuition, interaction and emotions which in turn nourish and create the trust-based relationships. At its best this opens an Ocean of Opportunities!

Sticking to System 2 thinking doesn’t kill you yet, but it does not strengthen you either.

So, my humble observation is that John Hagel and Esa Saarinen are sharing the same idea; looking it from different perspectives, using different notions. John Hagel describes the on-going powerful change of how we in the business world must focus on knowledge flows, instead of knowledge stocks. A bit paradoxically, in these times when we have huge amount of data available, the most value comes from the tacit knowledge flows.

Sharing of the tacit knowledge requires trust-based relationships. In absence of trust, there is often no access to tacit knowledge. The winner is the one who manages to build rich flows of tacit knowledge and scale it.

Hagel draws a picture of the two opposites: Masculine & Feminine Archetypes. When challenged the approach a masculine archetype chooses is: emotions aside, never show your vulnerability, be strictly analytical. It’s all about transactions. The feminine archetype is defined as having: a strong intuition, associativity, emotions and showing vulnerability. The relationships are the most essential core.

John Hagel ends his excellent presentation (13 minutes of pure gold) with these words:

“Deep tacit knowledge flow relies on massive scale of trust-based relationships. And the future belongs to the “feminine archetype”; because it’s about trusted relationships for tacit knowledge sharing.”

There’s not much to add to that. I’m all in.

I feel very passionate about this: two of my favorite thinkers around the same topic. I am looking forward to see how organizations manage to develop in this area. When and how will “The Hagel-Saarinen Approach”  (my own, totally unofficial notion!) flow into organizations around the world?

Are You Systems Intelligent?