Reading business books can at times lead to frustration and disappointment. You often buy a bestseller that fails to hit the spot or a tome that goes off in multiple tangents and loses its meaning. Very rarely do you come across a book that really gets you thinking differently about the business world around you.
A recent visit to a high street bookstore led to me buying one of the most heavy yet rewarding business books I’ve ever read. It made me sit up and think about the clients I work with and even why I’ve faced some particular challenges during my career in several customer experience roles.
The book is titled ‘Enterprise Architecture as Strategy – Creating a Foundation for Business Execution.’ I admit that the title doesn’t exactly jump off the shelf in the way ‘Black Swan’ does but its content will blow you away. The book concentrates the bulk of its effort in explaining why putting IT strategically at the centre of your business can help it transform and meet the challenges of the future. However, the book’s focus on the different types of business operating models is probably the most interesting for those working in customer experience.
The book describes the four major types of operating model. These are: coordination, unification, diversification and replication. The different types each have their own unique characteristics, whether it’s having a shared centralised IT capability or a devolved company structure where each market or operating company and division acts independently and without central control and governance. I could spend days talking about the ins and outs of each model. The crucial point is that you need to change your behaviour and working practices depending on the type of operating model you’re working in.
For most people reading this book they’ll immediately reocgnise the type of business they work in. Whether it’s a centralised (unification) or a devolved (replication) business, readers will appreciate how the type of model will and should influence the strategy, approach and tactics they deploy to make change a reality.
For those of us in customer experience it may give you the support you need in trying to deliver a complex programme of work over a complex organisation.
Trust me. Read it. Be prepared to start re-drawing your plans and engaging with people in a very different way.