Managing Customer Journeys in a Nimble Way for Industry 4.0

Managing Customer Journeys in a Nimble Way for Industry 4.0

Jurgen Janssens
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7865-9.ch008
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In the Fourth Industrial Revolution, customers expect companies to provide journeys in line with rapidly changing expectations. This allows for great potential for project portfolios that can enable tailored experiences, powered by technology and insights coming from the 360° view of the customer, to improve the experience and touchpoints before, during or after the main interaction of customers with a company. This chapter will illustrate that project managers need to master a dual dynamic to do so. On the one hand, new types of projects, changing expectations and shifting habits offer humbling challenges. On the other hand, governance, change and delivery continue to be the foundational baseline. By integrating theoretical insights and real-life cases from conservative and progressive industries, the author wants to stimulate project managers. Rather than seeing Industry 4.0 as a transformational tsunami, they should see it as an opportunity to remain curious, nimble and committed, while working in a reality where rapidly changing demand entails growth, learning and great value.
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Every industrial revolution is driven by new technologies. In the Fourth Industrial Revolution, new technologies get combined with technologies that finally become mature and affordable, like computing power, connected devices, genetic sequencing, artificial intelligence and the like.

From a corporate perspective, facts are available in spades to illustrate the vastness of the impact of this evolution. In 2016, the CEO of technology and consultancy company Accenture stated that digital transformation is one of the main reasons half of the companies on the Fortune 500 have disappeared since 2000 (Nanterme, 2016). The growing impact of the GAFAs and the NATUs1 only confirms this.

From a human perspective, the way people live, work and interact is transforming at high speed: more than 2 billion people were on Facebook in 2017; some predict that more people will have mobile phones by 2020 than will have electricity or running water in their homes or villages; and children born in 2017 may never drive a car (Arbib & Seba, 2017; Javelosa & Marquart, 2017; Schwab, 2016).

The transformation of physical and digital worlds entails great potential. At the same time, this leads to (pressure for) increased human productivity. Customers expect businesses to anticipate their needs and provide personalised service through any communication channel. Business-to-Business (B2B) and Business-to-Consumer (B2C) businesses alike need to shift therefore from a model focused solely on selling products, to a service model driven by deeper connections with customers (Janssens, 2017).

This deeper connection is embodied through the concept of ‘customer journeys.’ Customer journeys are the sum of experiences and touchpoints customers go through when interacting with a company, before, during and after the main interaction (Schadler, 2018; Truog, 2018; Van den Brink, 2018). By improving customer journeys, companies can remain relevant in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Scrum: Iterative and incremental product development framework used in agile projects.

Digital Transformation: Process in which human and corporate society is shifted to new ways of working and thinking with digital and social technologies. Involves a change in leadership, a different mindset, the encouragement of innovation and new business models, and an increased use of technology to improve the experience of internal and external customers.

Kanban: Agile method to manage work by limiting work in progress. Team members pull work as capacity permits, rather than work being pushed into the process when requested. Stimulates continuous, incremental changes. Aims at facilitating change by minimizing resistance to it.

360° View: Ability to capture every part of the end-to-end relationship a company has with its customers. Includes sales and service information, marketing data, transactional information and information about who they are.

Agile: Project management methodology, in which the development is characterized by the breakdown of tasks into short periods, with frequent reassessment of work and plans.

Customer Journey: Sum of experiences and touchpoints that customers go through when interacting with a company. Includes experiences and touchpoints before, during and after the main interaction.

Teal: Stage in the evolution of human and organisational consciousness. Focuses on the development of a culture of self-management, wholeness, and a deeper sense of purpose.

Fourth Industrial Revolution: Industrial revolution driven by cyber-physical systems involving entirely new capabilities for people and machines. Represents new ways to embed technology in society and induces new ways of working and thinking for human and corporate matters.

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