Its About Time
Sanda Communications recently helped Axium, a Beaverton-based software company, with a market research and branding project. We redesigned their logo, helped create a company story and developed a positioning strategy. We also came up with a new corporate tag line, Its About Time. Axium develops project- and time-management software for architecture and engineering firms. This kind of software is part of a larger class of Professional Service Automation (PSA) application software.
PSA software keeps service firms on track, productive and profitable, much the way factory automation software helps plant managers stay on top of parts and processes. During my research for Axium I revisited a number of my favorite business books related to time and management. Ive worked as a consultant since 1981 and have always been acutely aware of the value of time. After all, time and know-how are the lifeblood of the trade.
Peter Drucker, the godfather of modern management thinkers, wrote in the 1961 book The Effective Executive, Time is the scarcest resource, and unless it is managed, nothing else can be managed. The main theme of the book is doing the right things. Managers never have enough time to do all the things their organizations demand from them. Executives must choose to focus on those tasks that are most important for them to address and must allow themselves sufficient time to do a good job on those critical tasks where they make the most significant contribution. It does little good to do the wrong or unimportant things well. I think its time for us to apply similar standards to our companies. As executives we must make sure that our companies use time and other resources most efficiently so that we build effective enterprises.
Its been a long time coming
In 1993, Michael Hammer and James Champy wrote in Reengineering Corporations:
Another favorite marketing author is Regis McKenna. In his 1997 book, Real TimePreparing for the Age of the Never Satisfied Customer, he wrote:
Real-time is money
In the Nov. 11th issue of eWeek Craig Conway, president of PeopleSoft, said his company saved $157 million in the first nine months of this year without laying off a single person! They did this by working over the last two years to put their company online to achieve their real-time enterprise vision.
Conway stated, The real-time enterprise is created when a company moves its business process online, onto the Internet and extends them directly out to their customers and their suppliers. The end result is that the business process becomes immediate because there are no intermediaries.
Your way, right away
If Ive teased you into learning more about real-time performance, take a look at a recent issue of CIO Insight online. The lead article, Keeping Pace with the Accelerating Enterprise is a great place to start for an in-depth discussion from all sides of the subject.
Its good to see that there is so much attention on improving customer services and enterprise performance. We know that it will take time for these changes to take hold. But where theres smoke, theres fire. What were reading about today will become practice tomorrow.
Perhaps we're not too far away from where I think modern marketing ultimately needs to take us. This was best expressed by the old Burger King motto, "Your way. Right away." At our We Know Jack seminars, we demonstrate how relationship marketing can help you learn what your customers want and how, with real-time processing, you can get it to them when they want it. New technology combined with improved processes and focusing our employees energies on customers can help us build an effective enterprise. And Id say its about time.