How can your firm deliver great, loyalty-inspiring customer experience and achieve its efficiency objectives?

Firms that want to boost Return on Equity (ROE) or Return on Capital Employed (ROCE) must improve productivity.  And in a very real sense Productivity = value/resources.  But too often, the role of IT is to reduce the denominator – resources, and usually leave the numerator – value, to someone else to worry about. So many EA professionals are expected to deliver cost or risk reduction, reducing the resources required for delivery of that value, or the risk associated with that delivery. They usually take an inside-out view with a primary focus on efficiency; and struggle to engage with the value delivery side of the equation.

But if productivity = value/resources, then the challenge is to both reduce resources and deliver enhanced value.  The opportunity for Business Architecture and BPM professionals is to connect great customer outcomes and experiences (the value side of the equation) to scalable and efficient back office operations within the organization. That’s “both/and” – not “either/or.”

But how do you do that?

Generally speaking, business people don’t really care too much for efficiency. They come to work for the value they deliver to their customers; not the reductionist philosophy of cutting costs. If you want to engage them on a journey toward performance improvement, leading with the efficiency side of the equation can be a mistake.

Think of it this way. Ask a middle ranking manager if her processes are good enough. Just tell me what answer she can give you other than “Yes” that means she should not be fired; or at best, has been asleep at the wheel. That manager probably presided over the creation of those processes. On the other hand, don’t mention process. Ask her instead whether the organization delivers the best possible outcomes to its customers. Are they truly world class outcomes? … “No” … Do you think we should aspire to deliver such outcomes? …. “Yes” … Would you like to come on a journey with me to create these great customer experiences? … “Yes” … You don’t have to mention processes. She’ll be back to you 5 minutes later to say we really have to fix these processes. Ka-ching ! But it’s now her problem. It’s just a question of designing in those efficiency objectives into the new way of doing things. Your role has changed from trying to drive efficiency toward facilitating change and effective outcomes.

But it’s deeper than that. It also comes down to how you see yourself and your role in the organization. It means engaging with business colleagues and supporting their efforts drive organizational performance improvement. Yes, we need still need to infuse/enable the value we deliver with technology, but we have to also think about how we engage folks. We need to deliver reliability and flexibility at the same time. We need to deliver cost reduction and value creation.

At our upcoming June EA Forum in London and later at the CX Forum in New York, I will be talking about the role of EA and BPM professionals; how they can support their CX colleagues in delivering the jewel in the crown - customer experience driven transformation. 

This blog originally appeared at Forrester Research.