I ended my last blog post with the statement “We are entering the age of smart computing and Big data which totally will change the social contract and the customer-relation.” I will in this post make some comments on why I think that the customer-relation will indeed change during the new era of Big Data.

Over time since the industrial revolution in the late 18th century we have passed basically four different ages as illustrated by a blog post from Forrester.

The change in the relation between the seller and buyer can be understood by looking on the main difference in these four ages as illustrated in the picture below.The main difference in the fourth step is that the relationship needs to be based upon mutual trust. This since, to keep the relationship in a perfect 1-to-1 relation, the seller needs to send back valuable information to the customer to be able to get even more information from the customer to include in the next iteration of the Big Data analytics. This in order to shift from a traditional campaign-centric view of the world to one of continuous customer engagement. Here Forrester sees the possibility of a new type of class of providers “customer engagement agencies” (CEAs) and define them as:

“Agencies that focus on defining customer-oriented business strategies and mapping them to tactics and execution. They help clients maximize customer profitability and optimize customer experiences by applying data and analytics to every interaction.”

For the organizations that succeed in this they may start to focus on high-resolution management. As prof. Biran Subirana stated

“High-resolution management is the next evolutionary step after lean manufacturing. High-resolution management is based on vastly lowering the scale at which you analyze space, time, products and business models. As a result, we have already started to see how a few different sectors have started fragmenting their products and services all with the aim of improving quality and reducing cost. In the long-term, we can cast our imaginations forward and imagine a world without a supply chain, and in its place a packetized distribution network, where each product contains all of the necessary information to essentially become its own store. As the resolution of each item increases, we will see greater randomization, more customization and increased frequency of delivery directly to the end consumer.”

The technologies of today in the age of smart computing and in combination with cloud computing makes it possible to start to implement high resolution management in an affordable way. And this will not only be true for commercial relations, this will happen for the relation between patients with health care systems, student with universities and citizens with governments. From that perspective the seller is coming to the customer – not the other way around.

So, as I stated in the previous blog post, in order to take the steps into mass personalization and an 1-to-1 relation that is based upon mutual trust organizations need to start establish strategies for

  • becoming more user-centric in dialog and offerings, i.e. mass personalization
  • handle privacy and ownership of data, i.e. to establish trust
  • handle governance around data itself, i.e. high-resolution management and the possibility for sustainable innovations
  • handle ethics related to Big Data, i.e. to avoid reputation risks

If your organization has not yet started to think how to adopt and take advantage of this you better do this. We are entering the age of smart computing and Big data which totally will change the social contract and the customer-relation.