When I was in university, we had an interesting class on philosophy. The discussion at hand was about whether the progress of technology was a good thing or that it would ultimately lead to the destruction of the human race. Quite the topic on an early Monday morning class…
The opponents of technological progress had a simple rhetoric that can most easily be summed up as rendering humans obsolete. Everything would be standardized, automated and there would be no need for diversity. As an example take the Ford Motor Company, where car making was standardized. These days mass-production is everywhere of course, not just cars.
On the other hand, the proponents of technological advancement argued that at first indeed technology would be used to standardize production. But ultimately the machines used to do production would be so advanced that they would be able to custom produce every single item. Instead of having machines that make the same thing every time, these machines would make different things each time.
I believe that what the proponents were arguing can these days already be found. For example, these days you can get a single print for the same price as five hundred prints. So whether you print five hundred different prints, all personalized, or a single standardized print five hundred times, it will cost you the same. Because the machines have gotten better.
Coca-cola used a similar technique when they made their ‘Share a Coke with …’ campaign. At first, they collected names on their site and then they printed all kinds of different names on the cans and bottles. They also differ per country, so it comes as close to personalized cans as currently possible.
Apart from printing, there have already been a lot of other fields that have personalized their product. Think of Spotify or Pandora for example, which is arguably personalized radio. If production and other fields are already going towards complete personalization, the question that immediately comes to mind is: what aspects of our lives are next?
It is my belief that we are on the brink of a huge change in the way we think about business processes. Business processes are rigid, demanded by the systems that support them and hard or very expensive to change these days. But that too, can be changed.
Personalized business processes
In the analogy of the machines becoming better at customization, can’t we make the software used to support business processes better too? What would happen if it was easy and affordable to change your business processes often, or to make your business process personalized for specific customers?
If business processes are no longer rigid, but instead can be fluid, personalized business processes are what we are going to see. We would adapt the process to the customer’s specific needs, instead of standardizing it for an entire market. Now that would be customer service, changing your business process to best serve your customers!
At Triggre we believe that this is where the world is going; more options due to better software. And in turn this is going to drastically change the way we think about business processes. Just like personalized printing changed how we think about printing today.