Who wants to be the specialist or intern or nurse who meets with this patient in the next half hour?
Thomas Stewart has an really interesting commentary about "the client inside the organization" in this video clip from the Association of Managing Consulting Firms' The Lords of Strategy discussion panel.
Of course, what Thomas Stewart is talking about the connectivity that comes with the Internet. Marshall McLuhan’s maxim: “The medium is the message” is at play. In the early days of the Internet, we thought the Internet was about easy access to information. It is. But we are now learning that the Internet and its associated technologies are about “connectivity”.
This has profound impacts for organizations when we discover that the client that used to wait in the salesroom for the new car to arrive is now inside the organization. “The client inside the organization” behaves much like the “wired” patient inside a hospital. The Internet connected patient today has access to as much information (and sometimes more easily) and interacts with business processes as much as the specialists and hospital staff who are caring for the patient. The specialist is no longer the expert. The conversation about the best course for treatment is disruptive and complex. And of course, the client is right. The choices are about her. She has emergent information that she wants considered.
And we get this result because we don’t have management processes to manage the “client inside the organization”.
The Internet changes the way customers behave. The Internet changes the way organizations organize themselves. And we have to get away from business centred processes to people centred processes. Because that is how people who are easily connected to each other and easily connected to information are going to behave.
If this is not good news for business processes that require efficiency based on acceptance of the expert's opinion (e.g. the medical and law professions), guess what is going to happen to the mass merchandising models at work today. The notion that they are "all about the customer" is going to get turned on their heads.