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Organizational Design Needs Deep-Rooted Change

Sharyn Leaver Vice President, Group Director
Victor Milligan Chief Marketing Officer
July 9, 2018

Every day, executives lean in and light up when we describe the virtues of operating with true customer obsession, vowing to make a change . . .

. . . and then they return to their reality. The entrenched design of their companies’ organization holds them back. Our research asserts that any modern organization needs to design operations to be customer-led, insights-driven, fast, and connected — but most were designed on the principles of stability, accountability, and control. They protect entrenched politics and create hard-walled, politically laden silos, long decision cycles, and disjointed customer experiences that stymie change — and frustrate customers. It’s no wonder that customer experience (CX) performance has stagnated. It’s not surprising that digital transformation efforts have failed to deliver the expected returns.

Some have named new cross-silo leaders like chief digital officers, built isolated innovation centers, or even stood up multidisciplinary teams to take on big initiatives like CX or digital — often with a lot of talent but little political capital. These efforts are telling: They create pockets of new and sometimes powerful capabilities while avoiding organizational disruption. They speak to the underlying fear of making deep-rooted changes in the spirit of managing risk.

But today’s markets are unforgiving, customers are intolerant, and new competitors are ready to pounce at any sign of weakness. Enter the gig economy, robotic outsourcing, and disruption-as-a-rule innovation cycles.

We took a hard look at the far-reaching and durable dynamics that will shape the organizations of tomorrow and landed on the shape-shifting organizational structure that is alien, dramatic — and well tuned to a high-velocity, disruption-rich market.

Enjoy reading about the shape-shifting organization of tomorrow.

Forrester’s customer-obsessed enterprise research is based on findings from in-depth interviews with C-level execs, plus a survey of more than 1,000 executives in the US and Europe. Clients can view our newest report on the subject, “The Customer-Obsessed Enterprise,” here.

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