Technology will not create a customer-centric organization

In a recent destinationCRM article, a couple of Oracle execs say:

Transforming your business to a customer-centric organization starts with a CRM-focused services-oriented architecture.

I have to disagree. While I concur that well-architected solutions will make it much easier to integrate multiple systems, software architecture will not create a customer-centric organization.

A customer-centric organization starts with people and culture. It empowers people to make the right decisions. The culture shifts from a break-fix reactive mode to that of a proactive mindset. It aligns the goals of service, sales, and marketing around the customer.

Technology can help achieve these goals. But by itself, it does nothing. There are plenty of technology solutions out there that abide by good SOA practices. Just because a corporation adopts one of these technology solutions, it does not make them customer-centric.

There are plenty of organizations that are customer-centric, and they do it without SOA.
Likewise, there are plenty of organizations that have adopted SOA, but are far from customer-centric.

Microsoft has SOA all over the place, but my experiences in dealing with their support and partner groups certainly doesn’t reveal to me that their business processes are focused on me, the customer. Yet my barber shop is very customer-centric, with not a lick of SOA to be found.

Combining technology with the right leadership, culture, and mindset – that puts you on a path to customer-centricity.