Sunday, September 19, 2010

God's gift to customers?

“If you’re manic, you think you’re Jesus. If you’re hypomanic, you think you are God’s gift to technology investing.” by John D. Gartner, a psychologist and author of “The Hypomanic Edge.” 

Well said. I think this reflects the attitude among quite many IT manufacturers, IT service providers and IT professionals. Every product or service is unic and one of the kind and there's no better, right? And customers should just be greatful for getting the product or service (without a doubt....)

I think it's the trap that we've put our selves into by expecting two digit growing numbers, living only quarter at a time, fiscal year max. We're easily categorizing customers with 80/20 rule, being concerned about the 20 and turning our backs to the 80. It's all about efficiensy and numbers. There's no time to serve every customer equally good. Does this sound familiar? I'm afraid that there might be quite many 'yes' answers among IT industry. Even though the information technology itself should help us and also give us the solutions where all customers can be served. Still this is not happening. Majority gets to call to automated call centers and are left choosing from the service menu 'if you want to order press 1, if 5. If 7..... if you wish to actually speak to someone press 9". The phrase I used was'IT should help us'. The idea is not to make everything into automated and cost efficient faceless services.

It seem's that the same 80/20 rule goes with the sold products and services as well. It's like only a fraction of sold produtcs are good quality and made ready and the rest is more or less average and not tested throughly, since it wouldn't be efficient, would it? It's better to develope products into the point where they can be sold to customers and then fix only those flaws that you will get feedback from 80% of customes (or from the biggest 20% group). Also there's no point of putting all the needed features into the product at once, is there? It would take longer to make and you get actually more money by upselling the add-ons and new versions. And who's first on the market, gets the cream, eh? So manufacturers and service providers have actually oursourced the testing to customers and at the same time they are charging them several times for the features and fixes that should've been there in the first place.

The scary part is that this way of roadmap thinking and leaving some of the testing to be done by customers has spread into other industries as well. I'm afraid that these successors of IT industry are now moved to serve other industries, so this way of thinking have spread into car manufacturing industry, house building industry, even into defence industry not to mention the healthcare industry. And since everything is more or less based on  somekind of IT system, the thought is actually quite horrific. Every plain, train and every weapon or safety system is actually based on systems that can't be tested 100% anymore. This is simply because of the huge number of lines of code and the number of parts, leaving just too many variations to test. And in the end because of the rush to the markets. The faults are called 'features' and the missing features are explained to be 'unnecessary'.

I wonder IF there would be a company who would make very high quality and ready made products or services and would serve it's customers with the humble attitude with personal touch, could it survive at all in todays markets? I think it could. It would differ from it's competitors and it would be very refreshing in todays hypomanic world.