There is a chicken-egg-interdependency of business- and Intellectual Property strategy. This explains, why IP-strategy discussions without a deep understanding of business makes no sense.
Seeking the core of business transformation in digital technology adoption only is not enough. The Intellectual Property Strategy will likely decide who takes control on the whole value chain and the underlying business model - who sits in the front seat and who must find a place on the backbench.
Even though that patents represent a part of innovation only, they still indicate where the energy is in a respective geography, industry, or even company. The annual reports of patent offices provide some interesting perspectives worth exploring.
The factory of the future will have only two employees, a man, and a dog. The man will be there to feed the dog. The dog will be there to keep the man from touching the equipment.
With the separation of Software from Hardware arriving in automotive industry, a whole set of new proprietary software with respective End User Licensing Agreements (EULA) will be coming down the road. It seems we soon have to familiarize ourselves with the fact that we can´t own a car entirely anymore - primarily not because we all move into the share economy model but driven by the fact that the car manufacturer will no longer own or control the required software IP. Automotive Industry for years pushed towards external innovation and external labor to reduce capital lockup - Software IP will be a game changer for car vendors who want to keep control on their core business.
This idea is intriguing us because manufacturers need to go beyond selling physical car assets and must discover us drivers as customers - welcome to next generation Customer Relationship Management and the essence of customer intimacy for an old economy!
However, transformation in software industry is going deep as well. What has worked in a traditional productized Sell-To model needs to get complemented by Sell-With and Sell-Through approaches to meet the new customer expectations. Software IP gets embedded in products, cloud-based services become essential part of other products or your current customer may want to join forces with you on innovation. Either way, it´s time to revise value propositions, to reskill the salesforce and to tune the commercial backbone towards new ways of monetization. Digital Transformation, Industry 4.0 and a solid IP Strategy belong together and form the common ground for your business in near future, so let´s prepare for it now.
Good news, the cheese may already have moved on but the opportunity maybe bigger than ever and the driver seat is not decided yet!
No matter where you start doing things differently it will be a journey without final state of perfection. My personal experience in software industry started with empowerment, trust, investment and an innovative environment - all invaluable assets to be successful and certainly something to secure to back your own digital transformation!
The New World of Work offers more than saving commute time and a better CO2 footprint for the individual. It´s certainly more than saving office space, reducing travel cost and increasing employer attractiveness scores. Optimizing work and life for more productivity means a fundamental change of habits - professionally and privately.
The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem - Do you understand me?
Let´s not confuse, the digital transformation of our work- and lifestyle remains a cultural challenge, a social responsibility and it mandates innovation in leadership approaches. What may work on an individual- or team level requires a more systematic effort to organizational structures. Conventional Change Management is not sufficient to address the topic says Barbara Josef, Partner at 5to9. It requires general management attention to orchestrate the cultural transformation and realize the productivity potential. All functions from IT, Finance, HR and the Line Organizations need to be onboard and synchronized. Make sure, you keep it simple and rational in your approach to policies.
"Now that it's definitely not cool anymore, it feels safe for me to start tweeting as well ..."
During my career, I had the pleasure to work in mobile workplaces, use flexible- and drop-in offices, collaborate during intense travel, perform in international roles, manage remote teams, lead business in distributed environments and experience diverse cultures. Still, I keep exploring, learning, optimizing and innovating my environment - always aware that there will be no perfect time to try new things.
The next big transformation in sales is within reach. Therefore, I dive deep into Artificial Intelligence to further benefit Business Insight and, I look into seamless channel integration to imagine teamwork with our future colleagues, the AI Bots. If sales can add value to customers through well articulated procedures, repetitive activities and standardized offerings, than the combination of new technology with experienced sellers will lead to new exciting ways of customer experience.
I don't know anything, but I do know that everything is interesting if you go into it deeply enough.
This usually is the point where measuring the world starts and big data is put into action. It begins with identifying statistically significant parameters. Try to understand what sets a successful contract renewal apart from those which did not renew. If you want to go beyond anecdotal evidence, a lot of data points are involved, but the effort is worth it. Aberdeen Group research states that Analytically Grounded Sales Teams average a 2.7 times greater annual increase in customer renewal rates. Meanwhile, such data analysis is well supported by BI tools or even Artificial Intelligence engines and it is backed by external business consultant experience.
Taking the recurring business scientifically to the next level implies a lot of work but it is the right choice in the digital era. Even if you decide to start small, next time you assess the feedback of your customer satisfaction survey with your teams, make sure you especially understand where the bullet holes are missing - it might well be your blind spot hiding the lethal risk to your business mission.
Account Planning means planning for results. In a number driven world of sales, the decomposition of an aspired revenue goal is psychologically the first step to accepting the challenge. While SMART goals and respective objectives may well fit on a small napkin, they by no means are the plan. I would even argue that it is the wrong end to start with - relevant account plans are starting with the customer.
In recent years, Business-to-Business sales has evolved in various dimensions, redefining how we engage with customers:
Account Planning is a reflection on the evolution in sales but even more, so it is a yardstick on the sophistication of your teams work - what a great coaching opportunity or moment to personally benefit the customer relationship in form of executive sponsorship.
Imagine the business potential of getting the perception right by moving away from a necessary evil and abandoning the disrespect which a napkin implies.
Probably it is both, the no fear approach rooted in the own strength and the believe, that innovation should be routine - The inventor produces ideas, the entrepreneur “gets things done” [J. Schumpeter, 1947].
... There's an angel, with a hand on my head
Closing my pleasant conversation with the gentleman, I directly asked him on his personal fear. He responded that in future quality journalism may commercially not find it´s sustainable place. However, messing with the checks and balances in our democratic societies would get him sleepless nights.
Auch der stärkste Mann schaut einmal unters Bett.
In sales business this is true as well, it comes down to the everlasting question of Art & Science. The fine arts of dealing with people, emotions, expectations and the fact based, systematic, scientific approach. Provocatively speaking, neither wine & dine nor bean counting is the answer. The journey towards the right blend is the master discipline in sales leadership, since it is closely connected to both, organizational culture and customer intimacy.
Diversity needs room in every healthy organization but it must reside with the people and perspectives. It is not defined by the variety of proprietary spreadsheets in a room. We all have attended far too many meetings which did not follow the courses of action.
Actually, it´s great to rely on intuition and discuss different standpoints but let´s calibrate it with insight, driven by relentless curiosity – trying to avoid justifying ones own personal bias. In memory of Hans Rosling, the founder of gapminder.org, who recently passed away: “I want to talk about mindset; Does your mindset correspond to my data set? – if not, one or the other needs an upgrade!” [TED 2009].
Keep it simple for all parties: What can you do in your next business meeting to stimulate the customer mindset and concrete plan of action through valid and compelling facts? – Think about it!