The future of business in the era of the customer

The following post is from Kirill Tatarinov, Executive Vice President, Microsoft Business Solutions.


This is an amazing week celebrating great milestones in our Microsoft Dynamics business solutions family.

On Monday at our Microsoft Dynamics CRM Global Premier launch event, digitally attended by more than 70,000 people, we displayed what we truly mean when we say we are changing the game in CRM. Three innovative and successful companies – Metro Bank, Pandora and Servcorp – all shared with us how important it is for businesses to better engage with and nurture their customers. Moreover, they all stressed how a uniquely differentiated Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 will help them win the hearts and minds of their customers.

On Tuesday at the Convergence EMEA event in Barcelona, more than 2,700 customers and partners attending live, and some 50,000 more virtually, heard directly from senior leaders at major global companies on how they are using Microsoft Dynamics to transform their businesses. We also announced new breakthrough capabilities in the next update of our ERP solution, Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 (with details in today’s press release).

We also discussed how the world of business is experiencing a dramatic change caused by the confluence of several mega trends in the global economy, demographics and technology.

Consider this: By 2015, IDC predicts there will be 1.3 billion mobile workers. Today, the average worker carries more than three devices while travelling. Ninety two percent of workers believe their smartphones should be enabled for both work and personal use, causing a massive impact of consumerization in IT and business.

Businesses are reacting. Sixty percent of companies are already adapting their IT infrastructure to accommodate employees’ personal devices rather than restrict employee use, according to Gartner. In addition, 67 percent of businesses are using social media for work.

This empowerment of the people at work knows no geographic boundary and is, in many ways, a great equalizer. According to forecasts, more than half the world’s biggest companies will come from emerging markets by 2025; up from just five percent in 2000. Emerging markets are changing where and how the world does business.

The altered business landscape is accentuated by the influx of a new generation of young and socially engaged consumers who have no deep-seated brand loyalty, emphasize lifestyle over other status markers, value autonomy, and look to explore, experiment and come up with different ideas about how things work.

With a constant connection to the Internet and their social networks, today’s customers are informed, smarter, give feedback that can go viral and are therefore more empowered than ever before. We have truly entered the era of the customer.

Customers have the power. Research shows that more than 90 percent of unhappy customers do not complain, they simply leave and never come back. Seventy percent of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated. This is not a zero-sum game and rather than plot to take power away from their customers, successful businesses today will embrace this new era and look to ways to better engage and nurture their customers to build long-lasting relationships.

So, what does this mean for the future of business? What should we take away from all of this? For organizations to adapt and develop a new way of doing business, a new way of leading and a new way of engaging with today’s customers, they need to transform in three important ways.

First, businesses must change from the inside, and humanize their organization. Today’s mobile, digital, connected economy needs a different kind of leadership. Smart, dynamic businesses will start to take a look at their existing cultures and even consider some different, less hierarchical understanding of what leadership means if they are going to successfully adapt to this new world. Those who confine social just to sales and marketing will soon be at a huge disadvantage to those that integrate the human-powered principles to their leadership.

Second, leaders must better align their businesses to meet their customer’s needs. It starts with providing great experiences. Many businesses recognize this. Eighty percent of firms would like to use customer experiences as a form of differentiation. Moreover, many see the value of highly integrated, end-to-end business solutions to help them get there. The advancements we have made in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 and the capabilities we are delivering with Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 are specifically designed to help businesses align with their customers’ needs and deliver amazing experiences.

Third, businesses must unite to succeed. The question that plagues all businesses: Who owns the customer? Is it sales, the CEO/President or the CMO? In this new era of the customer, the answer is all of the above. Businesses need to change their thinking and strive toward an organization where everyone is aligned to the customer with an organizational culture that places the customer at the center of everything they do. Businesses must unite their people, their processes and their technology to enable a single view and focus on the customer. This is of paramount importance!

This week, at the Dynamics CRM 2013 launch and Convergence EMEA events, we celebrate those businesses that are succeeding, that are thriving in this era of the customer. Through people-centric leadership and intuitive, agile business solutions, they are the ones who are bringing their organizations together, who are uniting their front-end operations with their back-room infrastructure. In my keynote this morning, I was honored to speak to a number of these organizations – BioCop, BoConcept, Carrefour, Chanel, and Heineken – about how they are transforming their businesses. They are just a few examples of impressive companies focused on one thing – delivering amazing customer experiences that will turn smart, independent and connected customers into loyal fans! And we are proud to serve these and hundreds of thousands of other organizations around the world with our Microsoft Dynamics business solutions, helping every business become a united Dynamic Business.