Like a lot of people in Atlanta, summertime heat means only one thing: head to the beach. I recently returned from a trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. It was a wild week.
On Monday, the waves were small, rolling, and the sea was a deep green. But then there was a dramatic transformation. By Friday, the wind had picked up and the surf rose precipitously. The most stunning change was the color of the waves and sky. They altogether changed into two shades of azure. The immense power of the new sea was unmistakable. It was a whole new ocean.
We are often using the word ‘transformation’ here at AT&T. It describes something much bigger than swapping an outdated and unsupported technology or a move to a new platform to replace an aging one. Like the sea I witnessed, transformation means huge and dramatic changes in how a business fundamentally operates, and, therefore how it is viewed by the public.
In contrast to the zeitgeist of the present economy, smart businesses are using these uncertain times to transform. They are seizing the day, not just to update, but rather to transform to more powerful versions of themselves.
What do the newly shaped waves of business look like? I have outlined three transformations in the form of a surf report contrasting and comparing how a business can take on new strength and change overall appearance by embracing a technology transformation. They read like a lifeguard chair chalkboard explaining the water conditions. Enjoy and don’t forget your sunscreen:
1.From the briny beach of a restaurant heavy-equipment supply and servicing company:
Customers need to call in requests to the supply company to schedule cleaning and out-of-service and regular maintenance. Machines often run sub-optimally.
Machines are wired with diagnostics that give status updates to the maintenance department via the Mobility network. Machines being monitored give status of their deposition or health so service can be dispatched as soon as equipment starts to under-perform.
2. From the shark-filled waters of a large Fortune 500 enterprise:
Email and Voicemail overload. Response paralysis abounds due to too much information and too many ways to respond.
Stodgy corporate communication methods such as desk phones, instant message, and email, are replaced with new, real-time ‘presence’ tools that allow employees and customers to easily communicate with whomever they wish in the most efficient and best available manner. There is a high emphasis on video capability. Collaboration using video intensifies relationships and increases understanding more quickly than other media.
3. From the fish-filled, tranquil bay, where a major retailer is trying to build customer loyalty and intimacy:
Store employees need to build a relationship from scratch with a customer regardless of how often the customer has frequented the brand, either at the same store, online or a different store in a different city. Every customer is treated the same regardless of brand loyalty status.
Store employees can easily access preferences and loyalty of customers via mobile smart devices; customers agree to offer their identity to store personnel either in person or electronically. Intelligent recommendations are made based on past interactions, and customer satisfaction is fostered. Loyalty can be easily determined and appropriately rewarded.
Nature has a way of transforming itself as needed, eroding mountains to sandy beaches. In business, transformation requires planning and expertise – but the results can be just as breathtaking.