The world leader in bioinnovation, Novozymes, develops enzymes for a long list of industries such as agriculture, bioenergy, textiles, food and beverages. In its IT organisation, gaining industry knowledge is a crucial area to pay attention to, according to CIO Anders Brøns Petersen:
- As a B2B company, we’re aware that our customers possess highly specialised sector knowledge that we depend on, in order to develop tailor-made products that make their products more efficient. Instead of trying to influence customers, we have to listen to them and innovate with them, because we recognise that they know more about the end users than we do, he explains.
Anders Brøns Petersen regards the IT organisation as the glue that binds a global enterprise together. In the years to come, his finest task will be to bring the products to the customers as quickly as possible.
- It’s all about providing the right products at the right time. We have to optimise our R&D portfolio by focusing on products that represent the highest value and ditch the ones that don’t.
Customer-focused IT as the decisive differentiator
Despite the conflicting priorities, CEOs and CIOs find common ground when they rank the areas in which IT holds the most promising potential to differentiate the company from its competitors. The top two differentiators are enhanced customer-oriented processes and customer experience, covering every aspect from experienced value, loyalty and commitment to flexible and innovative order-to-cash processes that fulfill and – even better – exceed the customer’s expectations.
One example is online clothing. Buying your clothes online is convenient, time-saving and often cheaper than strolling down the street to your regular store. And this goes for both buyer and seller. But the main challenge for online companies is to compensate for the fact that you cannot try it on. Consequently, companies constantly develop their design, e.g. by letting the customers try on products using high-quality pictures of their own bodies, offering co-creation of products and making it possible to watch the clothes in detail from every angle. All together in an attempt to re-create the experience and provide the same level of service as in the retail shop down the corner.
- It illustrates how customer-oriented IT processes can address rational efficiency and convenience issues and at the same time stimulate emotional needs. To become a true driver for differentiation, companies must find the right balance between the two and make sure that the technology supports both aspects of the experience, Ejvind Jørgensen explains.
Touching the customer in the right spots
Enabling business technology and the company as a whole to create unique customer experiences demands a well-structured approach. By introducing Customer Experience Management (CEM), companies can boost the bottom line, research reveals.
In cooperation with Copenhagen Business School, Ramboll Management Consulting annually tracks about 600 companies’ use of CEM. The research project has documented that a 10% increase in CEM contributes to a 9% increase in differentiation and a 5% increase in financial results.
Figure 3: The CEMindex highlights eight dimensions of Customer Experience Management that influence differentiation, market performance and financial results. (Click to enlarge)