Michael D. Moberly April 13, 2010
The newly published (2009) book ‘Reorganize For Resilience: Putting Customers At The Center Of Your Business’ by Ranjay Gulati is, in my judgment, not merely another book that describes an alternative view or re-emerged importance of customer centricity.
Rather, it’s a book about recognizing that customer relationships are intangible assets. And, as intangible assets, in order for customer relationships to be as effective and profitable as possible, consistent engagement and high level inquiry with customers that extends beyond the often times siloed boundaries of a company’s products and/or services, is essential.
There is an analogy here that is not unlike conducting an intangible asset assessment for a company. Wherein company management teams may not fully recognize or be dismissive about the potentially valuable and revenue producing intangible assets that are routinely embedded in (their company’s) processes and practices and contribute to a company’s value and revenue through better products and/or services.
In part due to intangible assets and customer centricity essentially lacking a conventional sense of physicality, and neither being reported on balance sheets, there is a tendency for both to become neglected and distanced abstractions, rather than the ‘in your face’ realities they really are!
An adverse alternative Gulati suggests, is that if customers’ real needs go unrecognized as conveyed in his book, they (customers) will likely commence ‘commoditizing’ a company’s products and services by making purchase decisions based primarily on price rather than retaining a personal connection to a company.
Also, management teams and boards that continue to assume that a company’s brand (an intangible asset) standing alone, will serve as a perpetual life saver, is an assumption, Gulati points out, that no longer reflects the realities of a globalized market place that is filled with competing options, products and services.
Thus, to more effectively compete, companies must define themselves beyond a single intangible asset, i.e., a brand, product, and/or service, especially in the increasingly globalized and knowledge-based economy. Being first to identify and address ‘problem spaces’ for clients represents a powerful business intangible asset that can produce value, revenue, and serve as distinctive foundations for future wealth creation.