From inside-out to outside-in
Every business is a mix of internal and external facing activities. Major horizontal functions – such as finance, accounting, HR, legal, and admin – tend to have an inside-out service and stewardship mission based on the needs of the firm. In contrast, key vertical functions – such as product development, sales, marketing, and customer service – should adopt a more outside-in mindset based on the needs of the marketplace. An effective C-suite should look to balance both perspectives.
Given its roots as a cross-company business support function, it’s not surprising that enterprise IT has grown up with its own inside-out culture. Large internal IT organisations typically view their employees as their ‘customers’. Internal service provision, difficulties in measuring value and ROI, lack of direct marketplace contact, and cost-based budgeting have been the inside-out, day-to-day norms.
But as IT becomes pervasive and moves to the very front of the firm, our research shows this is changing. To succeed in today’s marketplace, businesses need ever-shifting combinations of customer-centricity, collaboration, co-creation, open innovation, ecosystem development, and real time sense and response mechanisms. Meeting these demands requires an outside-in approach to information technology strategy.
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