Taking a B2C approach within an enterprise for internal customers

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June 23, 2022

“All the world’s a stage marketplace, and all the men and women merely players consumers of its offerings”

This paraphrased version of Shakespeare’s famous quote symbolizes the real essence of our services and product-driven world. Ever wondered what is the key driving force behind this? The answer is simple. For every need that customers can possibly think of, there exists a dizzying array of user-centric products and services. To make a purchase, the customer simply needs to choose from the catalogs of one or more suppliers and then place an order. The process is simple and puts the customer in charge, encouraging them to consistently use more products and consumer services that meet their evolving needs. Similarly, all who are working in an enterprise are also the consumers of the services an enterprise has to offer to its employees to do their daily work. However, there is a considerable change in the way they do so.

In business, the tried-and-tested model in B2C setups, the catalog-driven and user-centric approach is often not leveraged to their fullest while implementing enterprise IT solutions. Simply because there is often a lack of customer-centric enterprise IT products that can deliver B2C consumer-like experiences. Even if these products exist,   the deterring mindset of the internal service providers (CEO/CIO) and the enterprise culture come in the way. The result? Enterprise IT solutions fail to deliver the expected value. Even if they have the capabilities to address workplace issues, the end goal is not met due to the lack of the needed knowledge and a guiding catalog for the users. Under such scenarios, most users fail to clearly understand the exact purpose and the fitment of the features and functionalities that are being bundled with the enterprise IT solutions. This affects output/productivity and end-user experience.

Hitherto, the approach was acceptable because older generations never anticipated the modern approach in enterprises and the value it offers. Thus, employees did not consider themselves as “consumers” as they do outside their work. But that would not be the case going forward. Today, new generation employees, the primary users of any enterprise solution, are increasingly demanding experiences that are centered on fitment, usability, transparency, and convenience. For example, more than 4.5 million people resigned from their jobs in November in the US alone. A move that is being heralded as The Great Resignation was primarily driven by the lack of employee-centered experiences. Clearly, now is the time for CEOs/CIOs to act.

Turning the tables for the greater good

Employee-enterprise relationships rely and thrive on mutual benefits at the end of the day. Business catalogs and user-centric products can be the stepping stone to building that. By telling employees how an enterprise IT product or service can function to ease their professional lives, they set a more transparent context to guide their expectations. This helps to deliver the best value that product features and functionalities can possibly bring to the picture as well as position business leaders as someone who focus on the greater good.

But is this the reality in companies across all industries? Definitely not! A lion’s share of these B2C enabler products/solutions is introduced by CIOs in ways that are no way near to the B2C platform that we use to buy ordinary products in our day-to-day lives. Most of these enterprise IT products and services are developed and deployed to merely make the lives of those who are internally implementing them easier and not the end-users. While in personal life, users can make more informed buying choices driven by their preferences, the same is still a far-fetched dream within their enterprise ecosystem. Not to mention how most enterprise IT products also limit flexibility in terms of device usage and choices.

Without catalogs and user-centric IT offerings, employees are forced to accept the consequence of poor implementation of ineffective products that they didn’t get to even choose. Even when B2C platform products for enterprises are designed keeping in mind the users, employees have no clear understanding of the advantages they can access by leveraging the consumer features in the enterprise B2C platform. This is exactly what goes wrong. Failing to satisfy the needs and expectations of those who actually use them, digital tools become redundant within no time. This impacts employee experiences and bottom lines in the long run.

The tables need to turn. Besides considering the needs of the management, enterprise IT products and services should also have features that can enhance the user experience. CIOs should focus on the catalog-driven approach to implement these products and services, as the model gives users a chance to explore product features, have better experiences, and eventually outcomes. CIOs considering the move can take a cue from Amazon. By simply focusing on the user-centered catalogs in its e-retail platform, the tech giant has seized 50% of the e-commerce retail market. While substantially different from the widely accepted approach used for implementing enterprise IT solutions, it is a more sure-shot one. Therefore, the writing is on the wall - designing user-centric products/solutions will provide a very strong foundation for employee loyalty and engagement, unlocking the long-term growth that CIOs seek.

Effective user-centered, catalog-based offerings

CIOs need to do more than just implement a host of user-centered products and adopt a catalog-based B2C approach. They also need to couple them with a dynamic change in organizational culture. There is an urgent need to create and sustain a culture that places employee convenience and flexibility as the focal point for decision-making. The benefits of such a model are far-ranging. By fostering a user-first culture, enterprises can unlock the true potential of IT products, creating efficiencies and clarifying purpose. Once an integral part of every stage of your product development and operations, user-centricity will boost your profits, sustainability, and efficiency. 

As pioneers of user-centered transformations, we at HCL have developed DRYiCE SX— a unified engagement system designed to automatically aggregate service catalogs. With this next-gen marketplace, we offer all that you could need to ace the user experiences you deliver. Purpose-built to allow ease of navigation through disparate catalogs, it offers a consumer-like experience while offering enterprise services. DRYiCE SX also supports localization and personalization and is the right pick for digital-first enterprises that have flat hierarchies. By digitalizing legacy service onboarding and delivery mechanisms, this industry-leading offering from HCL unlocks unprecedented business agility and growth. Powered by self-service capabilities and multilingual support, DRYiCE SX is the one-stop shop for delivering the best-in-class experiences that can reset the future of user-centricity.

Interested in knowing more? Contact us now.

Prafull Verma

Prafull Verma, Fellow and Chief Architect – DRYiCE Software

Prafull has been working with HCL for over 12 years. During his tenure, he has co-created and co-led HCL Gold Standard, HCL Gold Blueprint Platform, and HCL SIAM Framework. He has extensive expertise in service management application for any service relationship management scenario – with a wide scope, beyond IT. He has authored several methodologies and frameworks for IT service management including multivendor ITIL® frameworks, ITSM for cloud computing, and service integration.