Commercialising Products and Services


Commercialising your organisations products and services is not just about financial gain.

Where are we today

Technology is everywhere in our lives both professionally and privately.We all know we need it in varying forms. We also know that it provides professional and personal advantages if used correctly.Email is a prime form of how many people now organise their lives with calendars and appointments providing a structural backbone of day to day existence both at work and privately.So even at a basic level we should all be starting to become technologically proficient and more comfortable with using it in general.

Wrong on every level.

Research shows that 13% of Americans  still do not use the internet regularly, and in the UK only 77% of the adult population have basic digital skills allowing them to communicate online by sending either a message or text.This leaves 23%, or an estimated 12.6 million adults in the UK who don’t have the required level of Basic Digital Skills.In the UK Ipsos undertook a basic skills survey in 2017 that showed only 50% of the population use information technology for basic problem solving and coincidentally only 50% of the population use technology for the creation of something.Nearly nine in ten of all adults are capable of ‘managing information’ and ‘communicating’ online. However there is variation across differing demographic and social groupings:The digital skills level starts to decline amongst the 45+ demographics culminating in the 65+ groups having a Basic Digital Skills level of 43%. This group have the lowest digital device ownership, the bulk of this age group are retired, suggesting they lack the opportunity/ desire to acquire the skills.So in the workplace we are ignoring a key problem, because we are making and distributing technology predominantly to a sizeable amount of the population, that fundamentally doesn’t understand how to maximise the benefits that can be gained by incorporating that technological capability into their day to day lives.Remember we are not talking about understanding how to use core technology like email and browsers we are talking about how to really extract business benefit and creative elements from the technology that is available.

So why is this the case?

Three significant reasons jump off the page.

1- Fear.

When confronted with something new we tend to push back against it.Basic change management tells us that fear and angst follow any significant change, but perhaps we don’t necessarily do all that we could to eradicate that fear and anxiousness when distributing new technology and processes.Help and advice is usually quite generic, not tailored to the receiving audience, and not at a level that the end user can readily function with.The fear of losing control is paramount to acceptance.Technology and its rapid march makes us feel as if we are always struggling in keeping up with technology rather than it augmenting us in our day to day lives, and in many cases users are scared to admit it or do something about it.

2 – Organisational Expectation.

It is well known now that the 35-45 year old age group struggles with the adoption of technology the most, of all the working age groups out there.This is because invariably they have the most to lose as they are often at a level of managerial capability whereby it is expected that they are the ones who should be setting examples of working practices and standards for their teams.They also have the most to lose as they are often 10-15 years into a career that still has at least 20 years to go, so caution is the order of the day for this particular demographic because the future is supposed to lie with them.There is nothing worse than being the employee who doesn’t look like they will be a good fit for the future.The older generations have years of experience to fall back upon and the future is not thought of as being in their hands, whilst the 18-30 generation are starting out and could probably be retrained if necessary.The third and last reason we encounter when readily accepting technological change is so obvious but at the same time so overlooked it is almost ridiculous.

3 – We think we don’t need it.

Every salesman’s dream is to find that trigger in their customer that means the customer has to buy what is on offer.Compelling sales points are the best type of sale because at a sales level you know that they know they just have to buy what you are offering.When coupled with fear, not believing that what is on offer can make you better as a person or business, provides the underpinning belief that it’s ok not to be interested.A crutch to be less interested in new technology can always be found in performance data that is tailored to prevent investment or significant change. Knowing that you are striving for 100% of something when analysing performance data related to a specific role or service can always “tick the right boxes” when relayed back to senior management, but what if that ceiling was removed and the organisations cultural aspirations were 500% or 10,000% better than current statistics. New technology, business models, and transformation can all provide this uplift, just don’t get fooled into thinking that 100% is enough because your competitors are not thinking that way.

So why do we spend millions of pounds on marketing and advertising for external users and very little in comparison for internal users?

Various well known CRM’s record everything we send to external customers but how many organisations do the same for internal end users? How many companies do not allocate the time or budget to training and priming internal end users to the same levels.Perception is everything in the commercial world, but most organisations do not feel the compunction to strive to lift the level of proficiency within their employee user base, even though these people are often providing that external perception.Perhaps the answer to these issues is to commercialise our internal portfolio of products and services that we deliver to employees within our organisations.This way, everyone has the opportunity to educate themselves to the very highest standard and the service they can provide to external clients will be heightened significantly.

Employees will feel invested in.

This will create a slower rate of churn, accelerated buy in to corporate ideas and policies, better technology roadmaps due to improved end user feedback, and most importantly a better more holistic client experience.A report “Basic Digital Skills, UK Report in 2015 prepared for Go ON UK in association with Lloyds Banking Group”. Showed that improvements in basic digital skills had a direct correlation with higher salaries and general renumeration.What better carrot could anyone have for becoming involved in their organisations digital skills programme.

Final thoughts

If an organisation can get around the fear factor that exists when venturing into areas of business practice that it has not ventured before, the opportunities to fundamentally commercialise functions of the business that have historically only ever been a “cost”, into revenue generating concerns will be many.Changing the way an organisations thinks is cultural not just a financial challenge, and it is better to start at the same time with senior, middle and line management in order to present a collaborative sense of focus to the organisation as a whole.Transparency of information is key to obtaining cultural buy-in and acknowledging how that information is distributed is key to any successful execution.

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