Dave Gray – Balancing company and customer perspective

If you call, a customer service in most, in many companies, you know, it’s very clear that you’re, you’ve been put in the back stage. Not, you’re not in the front stage anymore. You are in the backstage voice mail system that’s really not designed to optimize your time as a customer. It’s actually designed with almost disdain for your time as a customer. It’s optimized for the efficiency of the cost, the cost efficiency of the company not for you.

And there’s a great example, there’s a great story I just read about. The guy, the team that actually invented, or maybe, started to invent the idea of service oriented architectures in IT, and they were working with Wells Fargo bank. And this is in, I think in the 1990s. And at the time, this is before there was internet banking of any kind. And the problem that Wells Fargo was starting to realize from a service perspective is that they could not see an individual customer in any of their systems. They could only see accounts. And they… a customer might have five different accounts, and to the bank that looked like five different people.

And as they started to realize that we want to be able to think about things from the customers perspective, well, of course the customers could have want to see all of their five accounts with the bank in one place, and they realized they had no way to do that. So they actually started to develop these technology architectures to be able to, you know, use the information they already had in their existing system, but to kind of pull the information together and make it accessible in one place, that kind of what you might call the service layer or the customer interface.

And this is kind of the beginning of service oriented architectures in technology and web services. This sort of came out of this idea that, well, we need to be able to provide information from systems that were build from company convenience, to systems that are designed for customer convenience. Because they are, you know, in many ways they’re in conflict. What’s convenient for customers is inconvenient for the company, and what’s convenient for the company is inconvenient for the customers. So how do you marry between those worlds? And of course a company that’s, does everything inconveniently and only cares about customers, probably will have trouble making a profit.

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