I am excited about this year despite the gloom of the credit crunch because it means that all good organisations that wish to thrive under an economic downturn are companies that will look to technology to deliver the "Better / Simpler / Cheaper" rule.
I have expounded on this rule in a number of presentations - even to the point of getting delegates to say "better simpler cheaper' in different languages to drive the message home.
In short, whenever I review technology for a possible use in Tesco.com, I apply the "Better / Simpler / Cheaper" rule to see what priority (if any) I should give that technology:
- BETTER for customers - does the technology aim to offer the customer a much better service or experience than previously, something that they really want or have been asking for? If they haven't asked for it, why do we think it's good for them? Could it annoy some customers and they stop shopping with us? Do we keep the 'old way', whatever that is?
- SIMPLER for staff - will the technology make the jobs of our staff easier than before because it simplifies one or more of their tasks and reduces the possibility of human error, or could it add annoyance and complexity? What will be the fallout if the technology breaks and staff have to go to manual processes again?
- CHEAPER for Tesco - will we save money using this technology that we could not save just by improving some business process or other? Bear in mind that technology requires support and maintainance (both for itself and for supporting infrastructure), which itself costs money. Will we lose potential savings because it costs a lot to program? What about proprietary implementations versus open standards?
Any project that satisfies at least one of these three criteria in a positive way gets looked at further.
Any project that satisfies all three criteria positively floats its way to the top of my priority list!
I am giving a keynote presentation at the Cisco Retail Executive Briefing in New York on Sunday (11th January) where I will expand on this 'rule' in the field of mobile phone use by staff and customers. It takes place at 4:30pm (Eastern) at the Bowery Hotel, 335 Bowery Street, New York City and forms part of the "NRF 2009 - Innovation in Retail Forum".