Posts Tagged ‘CSR’
What Canada can learn from Developing Countries on Public Financial Management sustainability, [Part 3]Thursday, June 7th, 2012
Part 3: Capacity Building
Demographic changes means need to build civil service capacity in Canada
Doug Hadden, VP Products
This is Part 3 of 6 parts detailing the content in my Financial Management Institute of Canada lunch presentation What can we learn about Sustainability from Developing Nation Governments?
Civil service capacity and public financial management sustainability
The lack of civil service “capacity” or the need to improve “capacity” is a consistent theme when diagnosing public financial management problems in developing countries. In a recent post on the International Monetary Fund PFM Blog, Capacity Building and Why Reforms Fail, David Gentry opens with: “Rarely can you find a technical assistance related document that does not refer to the need for capacity building.” Civil servants need the proper skills to implement government programs.
Developing nations are modernizing PFM processes rapidly. Sustainability, in this context, extends beyond implementing and maintaining PFM policies competently. Civil service skills need to improve as more sophisticated processes are introduced. In 2009, Sailendra Pattanayak, in the IMF PFM Blog, describes the Sustainability in PFM Capacity-Building in Post-Conflict Countries challenges including “general shortage of appropriate financial management and accounting skills” and the over-reliance on advisors. Peter Murphy in 2011, also in the IMF PFM Blog, in Who is “driving” the IFMIS?, describes the “classic public sector problems of retaining specialist ICT staff” and the problems associated with contracting critical Information and Communications Technology (ICT) support. This problem is particularly acute in developing nations with limited human capacity.
Civil service PFM capacity: a problem in Canada?
Canada has a high human development index. The Conference Board of Canada has found that Canadian education is effective. The OECD ranked Canadian education as one of the best in the world. Universitas 21 ranked Canada third in world colleges and universities. Legatum ranks Canada 10th in the world for education. Where is the civil service capacity problem?
Demographics and the long-term results of public policy.
The baby boom in Canada means that there significant numbers of public servants approaching retirement. This “exodus” from the public service has created a knowledge “brain drain”. And, budget cuts are eliminating more jobs. This creates uncertainty among civil servants who seek out private sector positions. And, it means that the public service is no longer an attractive option for university graduates. Yet Public Financial Management is becoming more complex in Canada including initiatives such as:
- Accrual accounting
- Management for results
- Performance management frameworks
- Risk management approaches
- Balanced scorecard
- Increased transparency
- Spending reviews
Cloud computing may be part of the solution
It can be argued that IT capacity in government inhibits automation and innovation. Governments can become stuck with legacy technology, often called “rust”. In 2010, the Auditor General of Canada identified the dangers of “aging information systems”. That’s why the call for cloud computing by former US Government CIO, Vivek Kundra, seemed so attractive: eliminate rust and reduce the IT maintenance footprint.
Governments are reluctant to farm out many back-office functions to the cloud because of privacy and security concerns. So, governments attempt to achieve cloud computing economies of scale through “private clouds” or “shared services.”
Shared services has had mixed results especially in reducing the need for highly skilled personnel.
The capacity to manage an “elastic” fault-tolerant infrastructure requires significant capacity. And, the governance of shared services requires orders of magnitude more capacity than departmental systems. The Gartner Group concluding that “shared services” is on the descent to the trough of disillusionment.
Some governments leverage Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software for private clouds. ERP software is complex to use and manage. Code customization is frequently required to achieve government requirements. And, this software was not designed for a cloud deployment. Some economies of scale in IT capacity can be achieved relative to numerous on-premises implementations. However, this approach does not make the ERP software easy to use. And, the customization requirement often means retaining or contracting for expensive staff. The software bloat described in the previous post also adds to complexity: more features to learn and more IT infrastructure to management than is necessary.
IT capacity building
Capacity building is a fundamental to sustainability – the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).That’s why there is significant attention to capacity building in turnkey Government Resource Planning (GRP) requests for proposal. The intent is to achieve government self-sufficiency regardless of the method for deployment which, in developing nations, is typically a shared service.
Turnkey PFM requirements, described in the last post, for developing nations include the following:
- Implementation of on-site help desk with government personnel that are familiar with the IT systems and the processes in use by the government
- Large training programs designed to keep a cadre of experts even in situations where there is a high turnover in the public service
- Expansion of training programs beyond the software to core PFM and IT training
- Change management focus to ensure that capacity building precedes reform
- Mentoring programs including making knowledge transfer from contractors a condition of employment
- Use of knowledge management, e-learning and adaptable help systems that include all policy manual and courseware information
Capacity in human resource systems
Developing country governments are beginning to use human resource management, or civil service management, software. The key objective for using software for civil service reform is to improve government capacity. Skills are identified and talent management queries are used to discover civil servants poised for career advancement. This can be accomplished across the entire public service. Training programs with schedules are published to self-service portals. This affords “technology leapfrog” opportunities to leverage critical advanced talent management software functions.
FreeBalance approach to capacity building
Many will argue that the software vendor has no place in capacity building. Software vendors build software. Consultants implement these solutions and are responsible for building capacity. Our business methods have been adapted to the PFM domain.
FreeBalance moved from a product-centric to customer centric company. Or, more accurately, continues the customer centric journey. The motivation came from realizing that there was an unmet need in making GRP software sustainable. The disjointed nature of what software vendors, systems integrators and training companies deliver meant there was a sustainability gap. New processes were required to overcome this gap. As a for profit social enterprise, we realized that someone had to be responsible for customer sustainability. No one else seemed to accepting the challenge. This “thinking outside the box” or traditional business methods is part of the maturing of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) where CSR is the core company mandate.
My sense is that governments in more developed countries can also make use of the capacity-building product features such as adaptable help and talent management. And, the training and mentoring that is part of our Integrated, Iterative, Implementation and Quality Methodology (i3+qM).
Capacity and self-reliance
It may be curious that FreeBalance measures self-reliance as part of our balanced scorecard. In other way of looking at this, we count score our ability to reduce our long term services revenue opportunity from customers. Some of the measurements we use are:
- Customer satisfaction rating includes important questions on whether customer thinks implementation is sustainable – it doesn’t matter how happy a customer is with FreeBalance, if the implementation isn’t sustainable, we’re not happy
- Number of Customer Exchange members, an invitation-only social network, to enable interaction among customers
- Targeted percent of services work by local or regional staff rather than from other regions. The need to bring in FreeBalance consultants from different regions means that we are not building FreeBalance capacity close to our customers.
- Number of FreeBalance SWAT teams required to overcome customer mistakes with our software. SWAT teams are formed whenever there is a significant customer problem. The team is cross-functional and includes executives to ensure the highest priority. Sometimes the problem is generated by improper knowledge of the software or underlying IT infrastructure. If so, we’re not building customer capacity.
- Targeted number of training days per country. This measure is to ensure that capacity is maintained in governments because there can be high civil service turnover.
James Elrick, FreeBalance
Wonderful news! SOS Children (SOS Children’s Villages) has been nominated for the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize. In fact, this is the 16th time SOS Children has been nominated.
The winner will be announced this Friday, October 7. As they say in the press release: “The nomination reflects recognition of our commitment to caring for vulnerable children around the world, through our 518 SOS Children’s Villages, as well as our Family Strengthening Programmes which support more than one million families to stay together in their communities.”
For those not familiar with SOS Children’s Villages, this group builds families for children in need. SOS mothers are responsible for upwards of 10 children. Orphaned children live with their SOS mother and 7-9 other siblings until they are teenagers. Family groups once formed are kept together as a priority. At that age, they transition to an SOS youth hostel, where they integrate into society at 21 years of age. At the SOS Children’s Village, children share the responsibilities of cleaning, budgeting, and cooking under the guidance and supervision of their mother in a compound of between ten and forty houses with shared facilities that are grouped together as a “Village”. This scenario may change depending on the country, but that is the general policy.
FreeBalance is a major supporter of SOS Children’s Villages, and is a Canadian Corporate Partner. We’ve raised funds and donated items through our Cornerstone Project to SOS Children’s Villages in Montevideo, Uruguay; Freetown, Sierra Leone; the SOS Kindergarten in Freetown, Sierra Leone (the kindergarten is part of a larger SOS Children’s Villages program in the country); Kampala, Uganda; and Pristina, Kosovo. And we hope to help many more.
Another example of our support for SOS Children’s Villages was when in 2009 FreeBalance hired an alumnus of the SOS Children’s Village in Freetown, Sierra Leone: Harry Ibrahim Turay. He joined FreeBalance as a Functional Support Specialist. Harry is still with us and is based in Freetown.
FreeBalance is a For Profit Social Enterprise (FOPSE) where Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is core. FreeBalance provides tools for good governance that are proven to improve development results such as reducing poverty. We want to have a positive impact on the countries and communities where we work and where we live.
As an active participant in the global community, we are committed to local community involvement, international development and corporate social responsibility. And SOS Children’s Villages is an ideal organization for FreeBalance to help.
We wish SOS Children’s Villages all the best for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. Who knows, maybe 17th time’s the charm?
This summer, LitWorld is bringing the power of story to hundreds of young people from Kenya to Harlem, and they need your help! Please note that the deadline is fast approaching as donations are being accepted until 6/30/2011. Visit the Amazon wishlist at http://tinyurl.com/litworlddrive
LitWorld is calling out to the community to help by donating books and school supplies as they embark on two important summer missions:
On July 8, 2011, members of the LitWorld team are headed to Kenya to visit our partners at the Children of Kibera Foundation. LitWorld works very closely with the Children of Kibera Foundation’s Red Rose School, where we run programs such as the Girls Clubs for Literacy Project. The Red Rose School is a beacon of hope for the children of Kibera, and is a positive learning environment providing education for children who are HIV/AIDS orphans.
Starting this summer, LitWorld will set up the Story Power Camp project, a summer reading enrichment program for the youth of the Children’s Village, Polo Grounds Community Center. The Story Power Camp aims to engage young people in reading and writing through fun, interactive activities, while encouraging each participant to boldly share their personal stories. The Children’s Village works in partnership with families to help society’s most vulnerable children so that they become educationally proficient, economically productive and socially responsible members of their communities.
FreeBalance has supported LitWorld in the past by participating in World Read Aloud Day in 2011 and 2010, a wonderful event that promotes community bonding by reading aloud together. This event brings attention to the importance of literacy for human development. And as FreeBalance has offices and employees around the world, we read aloud to children in local schools, SOS Children’s Villages, and orphanages in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic; Dili, Timor-Leste (East Timor); Guatemala City, Guatemala; Kampala, Uganda; Lisbon, Portugal; Ottawa and Montreal, Canada; Prishtina, Kosovo; Ramallah, Palestine; Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia; and Washington, D.C., United States.
To contribute to the LitWorld Summer Book Drive, view their wishlist via Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/litworlddrive. Please note donations are being accepted until 6/30/2011.
By James Elrick
Good news. FreeBalance President & CEO Manuel Pietra is an awards finalist for the OCRI Next Generation Executive Award. OCRI is Ottawa’s economic development agency. It is the rallying point to bring business, education, research and talent together to create the winning economic conditions that allow Ottawa’s knowledge-based companies to thrive locally and compete globally. OCRI promotes sustainable economic development to maintain Ottawa’s high quality of life.
This award recognizes an individual who has had a significant impact on the success and/or transformation of their organization as a direct result of their leadership. The winner will be announced at the OCRI Awards on April 7, 2011 at the Hilton Lac Leamy. Here are reasons why Manuel is an awards finalist:
In 2006, Pietra brought international experience to FreeBalance and introduced a new management team. FreeBalance was restructured into a global customer-centric company with a focus on government financial sustainability. The company added new customers in Canada, Pakistan, Panama, Palestine, Uganda, Kyrgyzstan, Namibia, and Liberia.
Pietra developed a unique approach to involve customers in the product development process, including the FreeBalance International Steering Committee (FISC). The steering committee is all about the government customers. FISC is an opportunity for public financial managers to share lessons learned. To discuss emerging trends. And, to set company direction. This is necessary for a customer-centric approach.
With the introduction of a new business strategy and customer-centric approach, FreeBalance is growing at a rate of 18-20% per year. And, the third quarter in 2010 has been the best in the company history. Global employee growth has kept pace as FreeBalance has been actively hiring to support the growing customer base.
FreeBalance customers span the globe and the user community includes public financial management (PFM) professionals in 18 countries, including Afghanistan, Canada, Iraq, Kosovo, Mongolia, Pakistan, Panama, Sierra Leone, Southern Sudan, and Timor-Leste among others. FreeBalance has more than 60,000 users around the world. FreeBalance software manages a global civil service workforce of 1.5 million and also manages a quarter trillion ($US) annual budgets worldwide.
Pietra realized that values were important to sustain long-term corporate success. Effective PFM transforms countries. He implemented the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) philosophy at the core to the company mission. Global citizenship commits FreeBalance to international country development, knowledge sharing and service improvement.
Since 2006, Pietra has ensured that FreeBalance offers leading-edge technology that uses sustainable and proven open-source middleware and modern component-level Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA).
Unlike competitors, FreeBalance does not hide old technology with a web “wrapper”. The FreeBalance Accountability Suite is pure web. FreeBalance technology is optimized for government needs for scalability, usability and maintainability. FreeBalance software is built with reusable PFM components. This lowers total cost of ownership (TCO) for government customers and makes the technology more extensible. FreeBalance leverages technology best practices to achieve technology leapfrog over our competitors. FreeBalance offers full support for any commercial technology stack, so FreeBalance can support customer requirements with both open source and commercial technology.
James Elrick, PR Specialist
FreeBalance is a For Profit Social Enterprise (FOPSE) contributing to improved governance and development outcomes. We also hire locally to ensure independently sustainable implementations.
So it’s always interesting to see another company that adheres to FOPSE values.
And the surprising thing is that it’s a bank. I never thought that a bank could be a FOPSE, open and transparent. But Banca Civica proved it can be done.
Banca Civica was founded as a Spanish savings bank. In Spain, savings banks are private financial institutions organized as foundations. Banca Civica is concerned on savings, focuses on the poorer classes, concentrates in a geographical area, and allocates its profits (Banca Civica allocates 30 percent) to social and charity projects. Download the brochure >>
Banca Civica promotes a type of banking known as “civic banking”. Civic banking turns traditional banking on its head as it places the customer at the center of its business practices. Civic banking gives customers rights and in the process creates duties for the bank to follow.
At Banca Civica, customers have five core rights:
The Right to Know.
Customers know how much Banca Civica earns with them.
- The Right to Decide.
Customers choose what social projects they will earmark 30% of the profits generated through the business they conduct with the bank. In 2009, over 6,500 non-profits and community-based organizations received more than $130 million. Banca Civica has a web portal that enables customers to pick social projects.
- The Right to Accountability.
The non-profits and community-based organizations explain to Banca Civica customers what they do with the money they receive.
- The Right to Participate.
Customers are able to support their social projects as volunteers.
- The Right to Traceability.
Customers know where their savings are being invested.
I can’t imagine customers at a bank in Canada determining the social project that bank profits will be used to help. I know Canadian banks have social projects, which I do value. But the bank chose them, not me, not the customers. Banca Civica listens to its customers and then does what they want. A true FOPSE with CSR as core.
Banca Civica even helps banks and businesses incorporate the principles of Civic Banking. They offer programs which provide those organizations with the benefits of the Civic Banking model adapted to social and entrepreneurial reality. Experts from Banca Civica work with other businesses in the implementation of advanced CSR systems, which combine economic profitability with social benefits. So not only does Banca Civica practice CSR, they also enlighten other organisations about the benefits of CSR and how to become a CSR. Very impressive.
The good news is that Banca Civica is opening branches in the USA. You can learn more at http://www.bancacivica.es/ (Spanish website currently).
by Doug Hadden
It’s the spam that never dies. Persistent. E-mail marketers have figured out that I might be in charge of marketing at FreeBalance. It is really easy to find out what our business is all about. We have a website. We blog. We tweet. Yet, I receive numerous offers for e-mail lists. That manage to evade the spam filter. Two today, so far.
Have I got a list for you
E-mail marketers promise lists of important decision-makers in business in the United States. Notwithstanding the fact that FreeBalance sells exclusively to government. This is not a closely guarded secret. And, our focus in Canada and emerging nations is not hidden.
FreeBalance is a For Profit Social Enterprise (FOPSE). This means that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is core to our company values. So, we avoid ethically suspect marketing activities. Especially spam.
FreeBalance is also a Canadian company. We must comply to Canadian privacy laws – PIPEDA, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act. This means that we cannot send e-mails to people unless they wish to receive them. Including non-Canadians.
How good are these lists?
You would think that e-mail marketing companies would now about PIPEDA. They should know something about the companies that are one their lists. Yet, they persist in sending e-mails to FreeBalance, a company that is clearly not the proper target. How accurate is their data? It is so easy to fix.
The last time I received a call about a “list”, I pointed out that our web site is very clear. “Why not check out web sites before calling,” I asked. “You can avoid calling non prospects and you can target your message better.” Her boss was interested in achieving the most phone calls, not the most effective calls. It’s no wonder that corporate performance management techniques have not been effectively leveraged in government – they’re not doing too well in business!
Towards a Manifesto on Ethical E-Mailing?
From now on, I will reply to this primitive form of marketing with a link to this page. I’m curiously tempted to list the names of these companies. Is this ethical? Have they not given up any rights for privacy?
There was a time when spam was amusing, not it’s a digital blight
Dili, Timor-Leste: Stephen was able to capture a good picture of FreeBalance President and CEO, Manuel Pietra, with school children in Dili. Manuel has been at the forefront of Corporate Social Responsibility at FreeBalance by advocating more activities with SOS Children’s Villages and other organizations that focus on children.
Stephen says that “a fun time was had by all” at Escola Primaria Numero 4, Fatuhada, Dili. Timor Leste.
Guatemala City, Guatemala: Miguel and the FreeBalance team read aloud at Public School # 80 “Angelina Acuña” in Guatemala City.
“Teachers of the school also organized other activities related with the WRAD. All of us including kids and teachers enjoyed all the activities and shared a great moment all together!”
Kampala, Uganda: Tiberius reports that Government of Uganda IPPS project and Computech staff joined FreeBalance at World Read Aloud Day from the oldest school in Kampala. SOS Children’s Villages in Kampala also leveraged the reading material. Great art work was created by the children, rated far better than that produced by Tiberius who has wasted his talents on computer engineering.
Ulanbaatar, Mongolia: Khurelbaatar reports a “great day for the kits with lots of joy and new information sharing.”
Books were read aloud in English and Mongolian. Children displayed their Read Aloud workbooks for the camera.
Every FreeBalance staff member reading aloud described the event as a wonderful experience highlighting the importance of literacy for economic development and innovation.
Pristina, Kosovo: Rehana reports that children were happy to hear books read in Albanian and English.
Certificates were provided to all the children who participated around the globe. Certificates were proudly displayed by all.
Kosovo was the first FreeBalance customer outside of North America.
Lisbon, Portugal: Antonio reports that the Portuguese children in the first year elementary class were intrigued with the subject matter. “When we explained this same thing was happening in classrooms all over the world, their eyes lit up and the questions flowed.”
Books were read in English and Portuguese.
Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan: Victoria describes the wonderful experience with school children in the capital of the Kyrgyz Republic.
“We are very much pleased with the opportunity of reaching the hearts of kids on behalf of the mission and look forward for more repeatable events in the future.”
Palestine: Hussam thanks “FB management for giving the opportunity to share this with the kids in Palestine and special thanks from the kids themselves.”
World Read Aloud Day is much more active than reading and listening. Activities, discussion and interaction.
Ottawa, Canada: James reports finding a school that appears like the United Nations.
“Some students already speak two or three languages and are now learning English/French. It’s a very diverse school that does a wonderful job at being inclusive.
All the students enjoyed the story immensely. And they were very excited about the colouring activities and the stickers. Did I mention they liked the stickers!”
Washington, USA: Anne reports that Michael dressed as Batman was big hit with the children at a Head Start Pre-School Program. “all loved the book and there was lots of talk about favorite animals during the Animal on the Globe Activity.” Anne and Michael were accompanied by Kathleen Guy from Global Action for Children.
Manuel Pietra outlines business case for establishing corporate social responsibility as the core of the enterprise
FreeBalance, a For Profit Social Enterprise (FOPSE) software company that helps governments around the world to leverage robust Government Resource Planning (GRP) technology to accelerate country growth, today announced the launch of a whitepaper titled “How to become a For Profit Social Enterprise (FOPSE)”. The whitepaper provides the business and ethic case for making Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) core to company strategy.
The genesis for the FreeBalance paper was a series of oversubscribed articles from the FreeBalance Sustainability Blog. The FreeBalance Sustainability Blog, articles received substantial interest and attention from social enterprises and the broader public financial management community. The FreeBalance whitepaper outlines the FOPSE business model and identifies the critical factors to transform an existing enterprise to a FOPSE. Companies who become FOPSE commit to CSR as core to their business models.
“Building socially conscious organizations is a business imperative with global consequences. This type of social entrepreneurship amplifies the impact of corporate social responsibility,” said Manuel Pietra, President & CEO of FreeBalance. “FreeBalance is dedicated to helping governments around the world accelerate country growth with sustainable GRP technology. Good governance and achieving development goals directly impacts local economies and the lives of each citizen. Social responsibility is integral to what we do. That’s why we operate with a customer-centric approach.”
FreeBalance has successfully transitioned to a FOPSE by directly impacting the civil service and citizens in customer countries. FreeBalance GRP solutions are now used by 25,000 civil servants in Canada and 35,000 civil servants internationally. FreeBalance software solutions are being used to manage a global workforce of nearly 1.5 million civil servants and a quarter trillion dollars in annual budgets worldwide. The FreeBalance Accountability Suite has now been implemented in 18 countries across 15 different time zones and in more than 200 government entities at the national and sub-national level.
FreeBalance contributes to customer country economies by forming local partnerships and hiring citizens ensure independently sustainable implementations. FreeBalance GRP technology accelerates country growth and helps improve governance, demonstrate accountability in public finance and bolster citizen confidence through transparency. Public financial management reform is a key element of good governance and sustainable development. FreeBalance is also committed to supporting children’s programs in the developing world. FreeBalance has established partnerships with organizations such as SOS Children’s Villages to directly impact the lives of thousands of children. FreeBalance recently had a unique opportunity to make a difference in the lives of 1,283 school children in Timor-Leste.Under the leadership of Manuel Pietra, President & CEO of FreeBalance, the company delivered 1,283 packages of school supplies to the Escola Primária de Fatuada in Dili.
FOPSE embodies the FreeBalance commitment to international development, active participation in the global community, and social responsibility. There has been a major shift in business thinking over the past decade. Today’s businesses have a global impact and should be stewards of social responsibility in the countries where they conduct business. CSR is at the forefront of the minds of executives, entrepreneurs, professors and students. Diana Middleton of The Wall Street Journal published a comprehensive account on grassroots social conscience mandates of future executives around the world in an article titled “M.B.A.s Seek Social Change.”Harvard professor Daniel J. Isenberg recently published a critical study which defines how FOPSE extends CSR to the core of the enterprise and distinguishes FOPSE from traditional for-profit company programs.
FreeBalance has embraced FOPSE and published this whitepaper to encourage entrepreneurs to consider this approach.
Founded in 1984, FreeBalance is a For Profit Social Enterprise (FOPSE) software company that helps governments around the world to leverage robust Government Resource Planning (GRP) technology to accelerate country growth. Proven FreeBalance GRP products and focused methodology supports financial reform and modernization to improve governance, transparency and accountability. Good governance is required to improve development results.
FreeBalance is headquartered in Ottawa, Canada, with sales and support offices in Washington, DC (United States), Lima (Peru), Lisbon (Portugal), London (Great Britain), Pristina (Kosovo) and St. John (Antigua and Barbuda). FreeBalance solutions have been implemented in countries across the globe, including Canada, United States, Sierra Leone, Guyana, Pakistan, Mongolia, Afghanistan, Antigua & Barbuda, Timor-Leste, Republic of Kosovo and Panama.
FreeBalance Showing Substantial Growth
At least that’s what the press release says! We don’t always use the blog for self-promotion. So, there is no reason to start now. It may be more instructive to our readers to provide some insight into how “Company growth since 2006 shows dramatic increase in size and scope of implementations worldwide.” Especially in this economic climate. In a global market.
Here’s a summary of our success blueprint:
- Increasing implementation scope is accomplished when companies adapt products and services to meet customer needs. Many companies have an “inside-out” approach where they define the “full product offering”. Often the product scope is defined by your home market. Global markets are different. Product and service roadmaps will need to adapt.
- Increasing implementation size is accomplished by focusing on the customer problem – to identify how products can be adapted quickly to support the local condition. This global/local or “glocal” approach can be supported by agile companies. Pricing needs to suit the local conditions and the country context. And, there is no short-cut: companies need to be experts in the domain.
- Increasing customer retention is accomplished through restructuring with a customer focus. This is a relentless exercise that requires improving support processes. It also requires focusing on what is important to customers.
- Long term success means customer innovation – helping to recognize the trends like social networking and leveraging customer steering committees. Recognizing the strategic inflection points in your market.
- Culture change needs leadership. The kind of leadership that moves a company to customer-centric and then to become a For Profit Social Enterprise (FOPSE). The company cannot be committed if management is not committed.
It also helps to be the best at what you do, and to continuosly learn to improve customer success rates.