Let your customers pay for and run I.T

They do it already indirectly via your revenue from them, so why not go the whole hog and let them pay for it outright. At least if they are paying for it they will make sure it is focused on delivering value for them and hence is likely to result in much greater ROI than the I.T department could ever muster. So what happens to the I.T department? Well your customers become the I.T department, all of them! just imagine that, all of those folks providing you with support.

Here is a scenario, someone inside your organisation (Alice) has a great new idea for a widget, but doesn’t know how to implement the processes or systems to produce, package and deliver the widget. At the moment the widget is just an idea, not an actual product, so first Alice needs to talk to the early adopters support department (ASD) to refine the product idea. So who are the ASD folks? they are of course the elite task force members of the same department as I.T Alice’s customers. So Alice collaborates with ASD, establishes that it’s a go product and refines the widget requirements. She then hands over the widget reqs to the buying department (BD).

The members of BD actually have two roles, the first is to coordinate the just-in-time (JIT) manufacture and supply of widgets. Their second role is of course as the I.T department for a number of Widget manufacturers. Because Alice’s widget has never been made before a few of the BD folk are acting as the JIT supplier’s ASD task force. After collaborating with the JIT suppliers via your I.T systems a widget solution emerges to meet the costs and quality targets established by Alice’s ASD task force.

Alice is now happy to move forward with widget production and delivery, so she engages with the marketing and communications department (MCD). Who are the MCD? well the MCD are the same department as the I.T. department, her customers of course. What Alice needs to do is collaborate and engage with her customers in order to help them understand the new widget. She is hoping that they will like the new widget as much as the ASD folks. Of course the ASD folks are also members of the MCD themselves and collaborate with other members of the MCD by engaging in conversations around the new widget, assisted by Alice and here colleagues. But Alice has been here before and knows this is no time for sitting on your laurels, there is still much to do. So she listens to the MCD and tweeks the widgets to help them slip through the MCDs more quickly and in growing numbers, the widget becomes more and more refined and more and more slippy until one day Alice realises she has a hit. But she doesn’t go all Britney Spears about it, because she knows it wasn’t her achievement, she recognises she was just helping to Teflon coat the tubes, so she makes sure that all of the departments know how insanely great they were with this widget. Just as she is doing this one of her colleagues engaged with an MCD, notices they are doing something different with the widget and suddenly has this brilliant new idea….

Examples of customer I.T : Blogs, getsatisifaction, twitter, wiki’s, social networks, VRM and lots more coming…..

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