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Taking the single most critically important process that Marketing is involved within lead generation, is a case in point. Today Cincom Marketing has project managers who often manage up to fifty to sixty projects across two or more product divisions, yet have only three writers on staff and a group of part-time graphic artists. This equates into a wait time for new projects in excess of six months or longer. Contrast this lead time wait for a new project in Cincom with its smaller competitors who are operating in Web 2.0 time who can create and launch a lead generation program in days, and the competitive disadvantage becomes clear. Compounding this process inefficiency is the resistance to change on the part of the Marketing Vice President who sees social networking as an excellent communications channel, yet is oblivious to its effects on the competitive response of his department. The Marketing Vice President has added in automation in the form of advanced lead scoring technologies from the leading software vendors, yet the results are the same because the underlying processes have not changed. In effect, Cincom may be automating mediocrity by adding more and more software to measure lead generation yet not addressing the underlying systemic broken processes.
In keeping with the methodologies as defined for Business Process Re-Engineering (BPR) (Davenport, Short, 1990) which begin with the developing of a business vision and process objectives, followed by identifying processes to be redesigned, then understanding and measuring existing processes to define which redefined process points will make the most impact, Cincom Marketing must confront the fact that their processes for creating lead generation campaigns vastly inefficient relative to competitors. Further, it must be shown through benchmark studies how Cincom Marketing is significantly behind its competitors who are all attempting to create their own unique identities using Web 2.0-based technologies and social networking websites including FriendFeed, Facebook, Twitter and others. In using the five step methodology as defined by Davenport and Short (1990) the first step is to define a revised process business vision and process objectives. Instead of allowing the Vice President of Marketing to create these which would most likely end with objectives the department could easily accomplish on its own without the need for collaboration, the CEO of Cincom must move marketing from being transactional in focus and orientation to being transformational. Only a senior executive with the credibility and trust of the employees will be able to evoke the level of effort needed to make this transition in the lead generation process. At the most fundamental level the lead generation process is one that is based on managing expectations as well. For the Marketing VP who can say his teams are swamped with work, there is the rationalization of hiring still more project managers. Yet the internal departments or customers in the organization are not being served. This is symptomatic of leaders who have become transactional vs. transformational in nature. "It seems fair to say that it took both active transactional and transformational leadership to be successful in this performance context. Being a passive leader waiting for problems to arise and then correcting them was obviously counterproductive in terms of predicting unit performance"(Bass, Jung, Avolio, Berson, 2003). This is the situation the Marketing VP finds himself in today. What is needed is a more collaborative set of metrics of that measure closed projects, not the volume taken on just by Marketing with no actual penalty for missing deadlines. Clearly transformational leadership must be used to re-define the lead generation process to ensure it becomes more collaborative in nature, less attuned to only having Marketing inflate its activity with no actual measure of results.
Attaining New Product Development and Introduction Objectives
Consistent with the empirically derived research regarding how organizations gradually drift in complacency and stay there (Chowdhury, Lang, 1996), the New Product Development and Introduction (NPDI) process within Cincom has degraded to low delivery readiness and depending on product or serving being launched, spanned the spectrum of market demand. Figure 2, AMR Research Grid of New Product Introduction Strategies, provides insights into how the well-known research consultancy defines the relative effectiveness of the NPDI process throughout organizations.
Figure 2. AMR Research Grid of New Product Introduction Strategies
Source: (AMR Research, 2004)
When initially analyzed, the NPDI process at Cincom is rich with online portals, Intranet sites, and many online information and data sharing tools. As has been shown in studies of Business Process Digitization (BPD) there is not necessarily a correlation between the use of these online tools and effectiveness of the NPDI process (Li, Merenda, Venkatachalam, 2009). The findings of this research however do show the potential of electronically-based knowledge management and information sharing systems to accelerate learning within an organization. "The extensiveness of BPD also allows the firm to develop unique, hard-to-imitate IT capability and IT enabled knowledge base through synergy and learning effects" (Li, Merenda, Venkatachalam, 2009). In addition, "e-collaboration helps expand the boundary of organizational knowledge and enhance the firm's overall innovation ability "(Ibid) according to the research completed. For Cincom the challenge is to reverse the trend of not meeting deadlines on new projects and incrementally creating product updates to meet the requirements of maintenance fee fulfillment. The processes in place for managing Cincom development celebrate again internal accomplishments; little attention is paid to the accomplishment of shared successes, even small ones, throughout the organization. This siloed approach to managing motivation throughout development forces the teams to be entirely transactional in scope when meeting with external groups. To counter this mindset, engineering management must adopt a more transformational role in managing the teams, concentrating on the shared benefits of collaboration over merely focusing on internally measured results (Bass, 2007). As the NPDI process is critical to generating revenue in successive years, the CEO also must step in and also define, through transformational leadership, a set of metrics that will enable engineering staff members to preserve their unique role in the company culture while also giving them the potential to completely redefine surrounding processes with their contributions. Like the Marketing VP, engineering teams in Cincom are rewarded on their performance relative to individual, not shared objectives company-wide. This tends to create a much more isolated set of processes within engineering and stops the NPDI process from being as efficient as it could be if more transformational practices were put into place.
Enabling Services Strategies That Reflect the Voice of the Customer
The Services strategies at Cincom are actually contract management workflows designed to enforce the maintenance fees customers have agreed to pay over time. Not surprisingly, customers often view this department with suspicion and a lack of trust. Cincom has often created Voice of the Customer (VoC) programs, customer advisory councils and other programs to seek customers' feedback and insight into next generation products and services. All of these efforts, including the development of social networking-based communities, have not been successful. Unlike the two previous process examples where a myopic approach to measuring performance had taken hold as leaders of Marketing and Engineering have sought to protect their organizations, this problem is more of one that is entirely based on how Contract Management teams in Services treat customers. It is a very transactional approach to getting the 22% of given software applications' purchase price paid with phone calls and follow-up letters used. Customers come to resent the entire process as Cincom makes them feel like they are not paying their bills on time. The actual process begins with a contract management staff member looking at the existing contract renewal dates and then sending out an invoice for the maintenance fees. If they are not paid in 60 days then the contact person on the account receives a notice. If they are not paid after 90 days, contract management begins calling them. If after 120 days, then legal action is threatened. To say the least this often makes the customer listening activities of Services quite difficult. The lack of participation in customer listening systems can be attributed to this practice, yet at a more fundamental level, Cincom contract management has not caught on to the urgency that is fundamentally re-ordering marketing and engineering processes as well. The speed and accuracy of information being transmitted between Cincom's customers and competitive companies to Cincom is gaining in velocity, and Cincom must seek to understand how the social networking value chain is impacting their business. The entire contract management process is highly transactional which is quite ironic given the fact that the company derives the majority of its revenue from these relationships. Contract management, as is the case with Marketing and Engineering, is measured as an independent entity. It is common in fact to see contract management staff members be at sales awards ceremonies and get the same bonuses and incentives as sales teams. They are incented to be as transactional and efficient as possible with customers to ensure…[continue]
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