Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Customer collaboration shifting from products to business strategy

There are still those who think the customer is a thing to be done to. Then there are also those who think that if a customer is to be listened to at all it is only to take part in a vote on stuff you've already decided to make or do.

And there are others still who are Open Business enough to consider allowing customers to shape products and services. This is the staple of the open door social media offers to business.

But business strategy? Surely that's one step beyond.

No. Not for a vast chunk of CEOs at the  highest performing businesses.

IBM's Customer Activated Enterprize report reveals that: "More than half of CxOs expect to open up their enterprises – bringing down barriers to extend collaboration inside and outside. 

Their most radical shift may be a new view on what it means to collaborate with customers."

The report is the result of interviews with  4,000 CEOs, CMOs, CFOs, CIOs a similar leaders from 70 countries and across 20 industries.  It reveals 60 per cent of CEOs plan to directly engage their customers and proactively apply what they learn to set their business agendas in the next three to five years.

Already 43 percent of CEOs include customers in the development of business strategies. 

And it's not just any old companies. IBM says there is a key correlation between the companies that succeed and their levels of external collaboration. Outperforming companies are 54 percent more likely to collaborate extensively with customers.

IBM's own story of collaboration features in my book, The 10 Principles of Open Business, available for pre-order today.


The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?