I’ve worked for a few system integrators (or SIs) over the last decade, and they all do sterling work in the space of integrating systems, they really do. ERPs, CRMs, IMSs and MISs……. amazing stuff, and all coordinated and communicated through UCs and IMs. Which is great, if only we all knew what all those TLAs meant.
Fact is, systems are boring
They exist behind the scenes. Our ecosystem is one of the most important systems to the human race— only, you can’t see it, or touch it, or feel it, not the ecosystem itself, at least. You experience it through the things it presents to your senses: The warmth of the sun on your face, the sound of crisp leaves underfoot in the forest, the smell of fresh rain on bare soil—it’s called petrichor, in case you wondered, and is possibly the greatest word and smell on Earth.
Thank goodness we have David Attenborough to bring all this to our attention and highlight our impact on the systems that have knock-on effects everywhere else.
It’s the same with data systems and system integrators. A CRM isn’t exciting in and of itself. It’s the ability to stay connected with your clients, build relationships with them over time, and manage their efficacy to you and them at the same time is what matters. It helps you achieve your goals of servicing their needs, of creating a next-gen workplace experience, and of driving productivity and profit within your business. A CRM system allows you to enhance their experience, but it doesn’t form the experience itself.
So, what’s important about the integration of all these systems then, and why are some of the biggest organizations on earth engaged in the pursuit of their seamless assembly of these system integrators?
Well, without realizing it, they’ve been in the game of creating experiences, and for the longest time, inadvertently.
Its experience that counts
I’ve argued for some years now that the focus should turn from the systems that inadvertently create experiences, to focusing on the experiences first, working out what we want people to see, feel, create and do, and integrating those things, with the help of technology, which eventually forms a system.
If we were to focus on integrating an experience, we start to think about the many aspects of what creates an experience, and set about creating the best versions of them that we can, in the hope that, when integrated, they begin to create a comprehensive and cohesive workplace experience that makes everyone see and feel the right things for them.
We no longer consider our employees resources to be managed in an ERP, but as humans who deserve to be treated appropriately. We don’t look at our clients as a series of relationships to be managed in a CRM database, but as the people we want to do business with on a regular basis for our mutual benefit. We don’t look to unify all our comms in an unwieldy UC platform, but to simply communicate better with each other, and for the greater good.
It’s for that reason, we have been evolving at HCL to become Experience Integrators, bringing with us our vast capability in designing, deploying, and delivering systems, only now, focused on the workplace experience those systems are bringing to the people that they serve. After all, the system is supposed to serve its purpose, and not the other way around. It’s what’s driving an industry shift toward experience-level agreements (XLAs), and HCL is enabling many of its clients on that journey.
The next time you’re thinking about a large, multifaceted set of systems, all of which need to integrate seamlessly, try and think about the point where they all converge first. In end user computing, that’s the desk (or home) of an employee, on a screen, which is a very tricky way to make anyone experience anything. You have to work within the constraints of a two-dimensional grid of pixels, capable of limited colors, whilst trying to put a smile on the face of a productive three-dimensional employee capable of an infinite number of emotions.
Integrate experiences, not systems.