Future scenario: driving the engine of change
This is the second future scenario exploring the future of intranets (and beyond) in organisations. The first covered Sarah’s first days at work, and this looks at innovation, product management and streamlining business processes.
It’s an impressive list. When all laid out on Morris, the intranet, there is a list of over 300 major products, sold around the world. Stuck in the airport lounge waiting for her delayed flight, Sarah has time to browse through the product details in advance of her meetings later in the day.
From what she’s heard, it was a big project to bring together all the product information together in the one spot, but the payoff has been obvious. Opening up the section for one product, Sarah can see everything from original research and product development through to packaging and current sales figures. Real-time sales figures feed into this, and while sales are moving briskly in Western Europe, there’s a red flag against Brazil, where sales haven’t hit targets for the last 2 months.
Reading through the comments added by staff against the figures, it seems that their major rival has just cut their prices, eroding their market share. Several suggestions have been offered, including one from a front-line sales person that repackaging into smaller units might help to reach their target market better.
Sarah can also see the flow of customer comments as they come in. These are gathered by the call centre and tagged against the product, immediately appearing here and on the homepages of the product managers. The regular scan of social media spaces also feeds into this list. For more expensive products, follow-up customer satisfaction surveys are conducted, and then folded into the collection of consumer information.
For one product, it’s immediately clear that there’s a problem with customer satisfaction, with comments suggesting a gap between the marketing messages and product reality. There’s also a high rate of calls into the call centre, so the installation instructions aren’t working well. Sarah notes down both these points to raise at this afternoon’s meeting with the product and support teams. She could also dip into the team’s working areas, but that’s too much detail for an airport lounge.
There’s also a lot happening in the innovation area. Having been given access last week, Sarah dips into the list of R&D projects currently underway. One of them relates to the use of new materials technology to deliver radically new versions of products, including some in Sarah’s area. The project space is a hive of activity, with team members contributing ideas and test results, and working towards a major milestone.
The project has also spun off a number of related ideas, which sit in the innovation space. Some of these have been picked up by staff, often in ad-hoc groups from across the globe. These will be pursued in the “10% time” that the product teams have. There are also several projects that have been outsourced to external innovation brokers, with individuals and organisations competing for the cash rewards to deliver solutions.
What time was the next flight again? Sarah goes back to Morris to check on the details. Glancing over the summary, she’s still got enough time for the connecting flight, even with the delay. Booking the trip was surprisingly easy. As is common, there’s an arrangement with a third-party booking service, but this time the system was brought straight into the intranet. Much easier, and no need for yet another password.
Morris also knew what hotels she is allowed to stay in, based on her pay grade, and listed the matching options in the city she’s travelling to. Staff who have recently transferred there have also filled in a lot of details about the surrounding area, including the best restaurants (if you’re into Thai food!), nearby laundromats, and how to get about on public transport. Flipping between these details, Sarah picked a hotel that was a little bit further out, but had a nearby jogging track, and was still in 15 mins of the office on public transport.
Being her first trip, Morris also reminded her that she needed to organise travel insurance. Clicking on the link in the email, a pre-filled form awaited her, requiring her to only fill out a few extra details before submitting. Several days later, an email arrived with confirmation of her details.
The travel insurance details were also added automatically to her ‘corporate passport’, which brings together all her key details in a single location. This includes key phone numbers, her contact people in HR and IT, pay details, trip information, upcoming holidays, and more. Very handy when travelling, and just as useful when working in the office.
Right, enough browsing the intranet! Time to close the laptop and dash for the flight.
- Act proactively, not just reactively
- Deliver end-to-end business processes
- Put people at the centre
- Deliver a seamless user experience
- Cross boundaries
What are your thoughts on this future scenario?