Businesses need a Solution for Omni-Channel Roadblocks. Is Omni-Channel really possible? By now, if you haven’t heard what you should be doing to make your customer’s experience more Omni-Channel, you must be on vacation a lot. The theories abound. But good examples are few and far between and certainly no one is doing it all right. The reality of making Omni-Channel happen in your organization is just not happening. So, what’s the problem? What’s getting in the way?

1. Organizations – Large companies are set up today so that they can take advantage of a talent force of specialists. We don’t have a lot of whole brain thinkers. We don’t have people that can look at a situation and see the whole picture. So, instead we create teams that together are supposed to be able to execute flawlessly. Is this realistic?

No. What is needed is a strong visionary thinker leading Omni-Channel that can conceptualize the big picture, communicate clearly by understanding all of the tasks that it will take to get there, creating accountability for the deliverables, and then project managing along the way. Does that cross the line of micromanaging?

No, it’s how great companies are run. Look at the most highly successful large companies in this space in recent years – To cite just the As – Apple and Amazon. What did they have in common? Leaders with a clear vision, articulated daily, with a ‘no excuses’ attitude. And no less important – we need followers that believe in their leaders to do what is necessary without a lot of debate, without political games, turf wars and power struggles. We need people that have personal agendas to advance their career by accomplishing the vision. Period. Take an example from my recent passion – scuba diving. You are accountable. Period. Or you die.

The Organizational structure and HR policies need to support this. Shared accountability never works. And if you can’t attract employees that are comfortable working in this type of system, hire contractors. The number of free agents available now on a project basis is staggering and only growing as the millennial generation starts to grow in their experience and confidence.

2. Old thinking, processes and systems
– Any organization that has been successful in years past has likely developed an ecosystem of thinking, processes and systems that contributed to their success. The problem is now those same things are holding those same companies back. That is why startups can leapfrog over them.

What is needed? Start fresh. Thinking should always begin in terms of what is needed in the digital world – Digital First. It is more efficient that way and is the only way to build the future. What thinking, systems and processes are needed to drive digital customer experiences? Start there and then gradually reinvent the old. Don’t “integrate” the old – that will only carry forward the old. Reinvent it. Start over. The temptation to do things the way we used to is a natural part of being human. Resist!

Is this difficult? Absolutely. Some people won’t be able to do it. But the choices are
1) Die a slow death while those people are holding on to doing things the old way and new competitors slowly eat your lunch.
2) Reinvent your company and yourself in the process. (You may even have to start by reinventing yourself).
3)Respect customer value, shareholder value and branding value. In the quest to reinvent, listen to your customers. Don’t change your value proposition like JCP, do watch your shareholder value sentiment, and do keep a pulse on awareness and branding impact. Those things are truly where your company’s equity lies, not in thinking, systems and processes.
4)Focus, Focus, Focus – Just like in scuba diving. You need to focus to get it right. The consequences of not focusing are death.

One of the key factors investors are looking at today is a company’s digital strategies. Does your digital strategy measure up to your competitors? Does your digital strategy impress your stockholders? Digital strategy is at the core of Omni-Channel initiatives. Make it the first priority and the rest of the pieces will fall into place.

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