Customer Centricity in the 21st Century

In 2008, as part of the Supply Chain Risk Consulting practice at Marsh, I led a research project commissioned by a major client to define the term “customer centricity.” For the report (which you can download here) we interviewed a number of Fortune 100 companies with a goal answering a couple of key questions (which I have summarized below):

First, how do you define customer-centricity? Customer centricity, in the simplest terms, means putting the customer and their expectations at the center of the business model and aligning the rest of the business processes around this core constituent. While this is an intuitively simple definition, putting this into practice is much more challenging because when customer expectations change (i.e., when the center moves), the ring which represent the core business processes have to be realigned in a timely manner. Not surprisingly, the larger the business, the greater the inertia that impedes that realignment.

definition_customer centricity

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From Contact to Contract: Achieving Operational Excellence in Demand Chains

In 2009 I had the opportunity to work with the VP of Field Marketing at a leading security software company. Much of the project involved analyzing the “big data” collected by different systems that supported the marketing (Eloqua), sales (Oracle), and channel functions (Excel) and trying to “connect the dots” between the upstream marketing programs and actual business closed by sales downstream in the pipeline in order to understand the effectiveness of the marketing strategy.

The challenge of trying to piece together the big picture across data silos was more than familiar to me. The supply chain had already demonstrated the power of tearing down the walls between logistics, production, purchasing, and engineering silos. Industries like high tech continue to lead the way in further extending this “silo busting” philosophy further upstream into their supplier base via similar “design chain” principles.

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