Concerns of Visionaries in Q2 2005

Issues, Initiatives, and Requirements from Customer-Centric Executives in Q2 2005

July 7, 2005

Customer-centric visionary leaders are committed to making it easy for their customers to do business with them. Our hand-picked group of visionaries lead the pack in delivering a great Quality of Customer Experience, in enabling their businesses, and in reaping significant rewards in both customer loyalty and profitability. Yet, like all business and IT executives, they face challenges in putting their visions into operation. Here are the top-of-mind issues facing customer visionaries in the first half of 2005.


Twice a year, we take the pulse of “Patty’s Visionaries”--a hand-picked group of business and IT execs who have proven track records in transforming their companies to be more customer-centric[1]. We gather their input and issues not through surveys, but through deep dialog and discussion.

For those of you who consider yourselves to be customer visionaries in your organizations, this snapshot of your peers’ concerns provides a mirror. For those of you who are in business to cater to these folks, we hope you’ll take away a better understanding of some of the challenges they face.

Here are topics high on our visionaries’ radar in the first half of 2005:

* Anticipating the next technology or business drivers that will drive customer behavior

* Determining how far to go in enabling seamless cross-channel customer experience

* Refining operational customer experience metrics

* E-enabling (or supplanting) core legacy business processes

* Improving customer knowledge and customer intimacy

* Refining and reusing content and services


Since 1994, we’ve been discovering and supporting visionary customer-centric business leaders who work in organizations in a wide variety of industries around the world. These are the people whose breakthrough work we chronicle in our books and in our case studies. We call them customer-centric visionaries because, unlike other business and technology executives, they invariably put customers’ concerns and issues first in their thinking, in their strategies, and in their operations. These visionaries are leaders. They attract and retain loyal, customer-passionate teams who execute well. Our visionaries are far from dreamers--they are kings and queens of operational excellence. They deliver profitable results to the bottom line of their companies, day in and day out. That wins them respect, gives them clout, and lets them keep redesigning their organizations from the outside in.

Yet what sets these people apart from other results-oriented executives is their common dream. They dream of delivering the best possible customer experience--an experience that is so much better than what their competition offers that it enables their company to sustain higher profit margins and to continue to attract and retain both more, and more profitable, customers.

Where Do Visionaries Sit in Their Organizations?

We typically find customer-centric visionaries at the senior director, VP, SVP, CIO/COO, or equivalent level in multibillion dollar businesses, and at the executive director/CEO level in businesses that are below $1 billion in revenues. In other words, these are people with clout, with respect, with teams of people reporting to them, and with proven track records in their businesses. They are sometimes, but rarely, transplants. Most commonly, they are people who have been with their current companies for over six years--many of them for over a decade, some for their entire careers.

Most of our customer-centric visionaries have been promoted within the last few years as their customer-centric visions and execution have paid off and been recognized and valued. One typical career path has been for the visionary to lead the charge in her company’s ebusiness initiatives. Then she moves beyond ebusiness to a role that oversees or interacts with ebusiness, but one that isn’t limited to a single customer interaction channel. Another common profile for customer visionaries is that of an “enlightened” CIO, CTO, or IT director--a technology executive who plans and prioritizes IT initiatives first and foremost around impact on customers.

Wherever they begin their customer-centric journey, visionaries are usually promoted to lead entire functional areas of their organizations, such as global marketing, business strategy, customer experience, business process redesign, operations, or IT strategy.

What Are Customer Visionaries’ Concerns in 2005?

Through our visionaries’ support group, we provide ongoing coaching, face-to-face meetings and moral support. We chronicle their successes and lessons learned in our books and reports, and we synthesize and summarize their best practices as well as their issues and concerns. This report is a snapshot of some of our visionaries’ issues and concerns as of June 2005.


What’s the Next Breakthrough That Will Create a Step Change in Our Business?

Visionaries spend time thinking about the future of their businesses and their industries. They are also typically the early adopters of any business-impacting technologies. As our clients reviewed the histories and evolutions of their businesses over the past decade, we could all see an obvious pattern: Technology adoption (by customers) led to step-function growth in the business...

Sign in to download the full article


Be the first one to comment.

You must be a member to comment. Sign in or create a free account.