What are the roots, the origins of Outside-In Process Thinking?

On the BP Group LinkedIn area - http://bit.ly/8oK2wB - Ian Clayton (see http://bit.ly/5ioaUo) posed this interesting question?

Customer centricity, or market driven thinking is far from new. As a service management professional I have habitually started there - with the customer experience, their 'delight zone', their satisfaction levels.

I'm writing on the overlap and synergy between OI-P and Universal Service Management (USM) - borne out of Product Management. Can anyone suggest the heritage for OI-P... where was the phrase first coined and by whom?

As a die-hard advocate of the Outside-In way of being this is my understanding

The first book to clearly state Outside-In is the Outside-In Corporation (2005) and author Barbara Bund introduces us to the main themes, albeit with a marketing-sales emphasis. You can review this seminal book here http://www.theoutsideincorporation.com/

The actual of origins of Outside-In thinking however go way back into scientific management, and in fact Frederick Winslow Taylor "The first step in gaining control over an Organization is to know and understand the basic processes." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederick_Winslow_Taylor ) FWT's discussions around efficiency directly involved the need to be quite specific about the delieverable in objective and measurable terms and how they contributed to the overall product or service offering. We now call that the Successful Customer Outcome with a set of metrics that underpins its definition.

In recent times Virgin Mobile were one of the first companies to truly venture into the territory as we now understand it. In the book (I must claim an interest) published in 2006 - Customer Expectation Management (Towers/Schurter) we tell the story of how they emerged, understood the needs of a 'new' customer, and accordingly after 2002-3 organised themselves around a set of principles quite different to any existing model. You can link to an article and the book from here

The phrase Outside-In has been used in marketing terminology (for instance I came across its use at Salford University, England when I was studying for a marketing diploma in 1983.) I don't think the sentiment is therefore in anyway a new one. The times have changed now however to make the theory and practice a route to success for major corporations grappling with the issues of the 21c.

There are several emergent approaches and methodologies, some pure breed others adpated from earlier roots. The BP Group promotes the CEMMethod(tm) as the means to the end (
http://www.cemmethod.com ) and it is a broadly accepted approach by people who have completed the Certified Process Professional (CPP) qualification since 2005-6. See the latest syllabus at http://www.bp2010.com

So is there anything new really?
What is certain the time for OI is here and now (reference the 2009 brand value research of Millward Optimor where the leading brand names are all progressing decidely OI strategies). Companies in every sector are experiencing a Copernican moment and moving the customer to the center of their respective Universes.

You can link to the latest in this discussion at The Outside-In Process Group


Align your processes with Business Strategy?

Some very well meaning people should haul themselves into the second decade of the 21st century. A thread over on the ABPMP (yes I am a member) says...

I quote "For anyone who has not done so, I believe it's well worth your time to have a look at the standard for strategy ("The Business Motivation Model"):
Also an OMG standard, but you probably don't want to read about business stategy in UML(!). I believe a good number of your questions about 'alignment' can be answered simply by looking into the core concepts of strategy."


Let's get really clear here. if you business strategy is dumb you will align to the wrong things (go ask GM about that).

Much better to align to Successful Customer Outcomes (and they become your strategy) ala Proctor & Gamble and J&J.

A very recent article on this theme in HBR by Roger Martin, Dean of Rotman School of Management "The Age of Customer Capitalism" - Page 59. You can see the synopsis and link here > http://hbr.org/ < or visit Roger's site at http://rogerlmartin.com/

I would also recommend Roger's book for the readers amongst us..The Design of Business. A refreshing read from someone up there in academia :-)

The demise of BPM software vendors

After the announcement, just before Christmas, of IBM's purchase of Lombardi, hardly has the New Year started then we get the announcement at the beginning of this week that Progress Software... see IT Director

The consolidation of BPM software providers is nearly complete. The heady promises that automation of processes was the way forward (mostly by the marketeers of those 'solutions') seems now to be drawing to a fitful conclusion. Are we witnessing the death-rattle of BPM?

Most certainly if you are an IT vendor in the space. Absolutely not if you have moved beyond the confines of those inside-out powerpoint on steroids technical 'solutions'.
The business side of Advanced BPM aka 'Outside-In' is in its ascendency and that simple realization that overly complex software touted by aggresive sales teams just doesn't work is timely. In fact most of it has been a costly distraction from the original promise of BPM.

The excellent stories being told by sector leaders (Google, Apple, BestBuy, Disney, Ryan Air, Bank Santander, Southwest Airlines, Nordstrom, Virgin etc.) is that the technology should support business transformation, and when used to enhance the alignment to customer success, succeeds without the hyperbole of IT zealots.

OK let's get back to business :-) Join the Advanced BPM community on Linked-In