I have the good fortune to be able to attend strategy sessions with some of the greatest technology partners on the planet. At these meetings I get to hear prognostications, thought leadership and corporate direction of people and companies which are much smarter than I. The messages about the future of technology, the omnipresence of the cloud and the impact of machine learning are consistent and insightful. One of the messages is always about how all this technology must be customer centric.
Then we hear all the TLA's (three letter acronyms), like
Do you do IoT?
Does your SaaS provider SLA include planned downtime?
These letters about technology often mean absolutely nothing to our customers. One day sitting at a technology conference I was listening a representative from one of the largest public cloud providers is talking about globalization and moving your data center to the cloud where it can better meet the needs of your international customer base. A customer attendee who owned some local automobile repair shops turned to me and said his customer base is almost always within a 10 mile radius of his shop. At this small business technology conference, the speaker had no clue of who his customer was.
At another conference the technology partner was talking about what their partners can do to make the technology company better. This was at a conference where the partners paid money to hear how they could make the technology company more money! These partners tend to by like my company, a small business with under 100 employees, and are being asked to make a multi-national conglomerate bigger.
These same technology companies talk about being passionate about customer satisfaction and being customer centric. How can it be about the customer if the talk is about the technology and the company that provides it! The technology, cloud or the software in it are just tools. The publisher or service provider are important to the extent that you want stability and thought leadership, but it is really more about the individuals that are going to service YOU, the customer! Moreso than that, it really isn't about you, but about your customers. How will the tool make you service your customer better!
Speak to your customers in their language, about their business, and listen to them so you can position your products and services can help improve their business perfromance for their customers. To truly be customer centric, you mys focus on the outcome for the ultimate customer and not the tools used to create that outcome.