home Customer Experience BAU vs Innovation: The biggest CX challenge

BAU vs Innovation: The biggest CX challenge

Most enterprises understand what they need to do in terms of CX and their digital strategy. They appreciate the need to be agile, innovative, and to engage employees as well as customers with the brand. Their challenge lies however, in deciding what resources to allocate to innovation and new strategies vs Business as Usual (BAU) activities required to keep the existing business ticking over.

This challenge was raised in numerous discussions and presentations at the latest Chief Customer Officer event held in Sydney last week. Not only is finding and allocating resources a challenge, but deciding in what order to roll out change is a major challenge. The following questions are common to all organisations starting their CX journey:

  • Where do we start making changes?
  • What technology do we need and when do we need to implement it?
  • Do we have the right people and leaders in place to make the necessary changes happen?
  • How much can we afford to spend on innovation vs BAU?

The challenge of multiple brands

The challenge is more significant for corporate entities that encompass numerous brands. As businesses grow, merge and acquire other businesses the level of complexity and legacy systems grows. Structure upon structure is intertwined with a range of incompatible technologies, communication channels and corporate cultures that fragment the view of the customer.

The ability to integrate these channels to provide an omni-channel experience can be severely hampered. It’s not clear in regards to which brand or entity owns or should own the relationship with the customer.

Industries, such as financial services, that need to adhere to a strict regulatory regime need to devote significant resources and investment in technology to comply with legislation. This takes precedence over investments in new CX technology or initiatives around product and service innovation.

Risk vs Safety

Innovation is about making changes that adds value to a business and its customers. It’s about trying new things, allowing the business to produce better products and services for customers. This of course involves risk. But risk and innovation are the very heart of doing business .

On the other hand, BAU is doing what we know that works. The tried and true methods of generating revenue and keeping the lights on within the business. It may have been innovation at some stage but it’s now the standard range of day to day activities a business and its employees perform.

Most businesses try to navigate a path that incorporates both facets.

Many organisations ring-fence innovation with a separate budget and team allocated, to protect BAU. Once something has proven to work it can then be introduced to the rest of the business. Some argue this is unlikely to bring true innovation. Conflict can arise between the typically much smaller team devoted to innovation and the rest of the business who will remain highly resistant to change.

It can also lead to innovation being viewed as an extra that only happens when budget becomes available.
Other organisations try to make innovation a fundamental part of BAU. There is no separate innovation or CX team, innovation is a facet in every part of the business. It’s hard to change a large organisation. Aligning cultures, technology and processes can take years to happen. It may be easier for an enterprise to start with a dedicated innovation team and over time integrate innovation into all parts of the business.

Mark Atterby

Mark Atterby has 18 years media, publishing and content marketing experience.