The End-to-End (E2E) customer experience is paramount; however, achieving it is difficult. We demand organisations become everything for everyone thereby diluting the specific value propositions on offer. With information overload and the world speeding up asymptotically, something usually gives when having to consider everything from every perspective to meet the E2E objective.

How do you get that E2E external customer experience when technology can’t keep up, expenses can’t be limited, and your forgotten internal customers (your staff) can’t/won’t spend 20 hours a day in the office?

Even in the 1990’s, technology couldn’t keep up and organisations were accepting an ever-increasing mountain of architectural and technical debt. Technology has done well to compensate for this with more advanced (yet still costly) solutions, but these typically only resolve recent (surface) technical debt and not the deepest technical debt. This, therefore, is a catch-22 because changes take time to implement, compounds the complexity further, and therefore reduces the accessibility and possibilities of dealing with the deepest technical debt.

But it is not just technology that limits an organisation’s ability to deliver in a versatile, resilient and innovative manner. Compounding this issue is organisational debt, which didn’t really exist in the 1990’s. Namely, the role of government and the pressure it exerts on businesses. Organisations fractured and crumbled, and, in recent years, were allowed to be displaced by a whole host of much smaller organisations (even if for a fleeting moment) – the fintech, regtech and disruptives of our world. Technology was required to compensate the structure of the organisation on top of the individual teams and individuals, too.

This would explain why individuals are getting more stressed: they are unable to cope with the scope, scale and moving parts individually let alone in tandem with one another. Humans are incapable of visualising any more than three dimensions, which makes visualising the E2E customer experience impossible.

This is partly why I think an individual’s longevity in a role or even an organisation is shrinking rapidly. They are being asked to do more than before without the necessary recognition and rewards. They don’t see how they fit in, or what is their real contribution, or what material impact their contribution has in the grand scheme of things. So, they start to job-hop, to compensate through starting-salary increases for “promotions” that they are unlikely to get otherwise. This means that they rarely get to an “effective contribution” or net-positive level within an organisation (at least until after two years from joining).

The individual sees, even at an instinctive level, an asymptotic limit being reached. This may explain why proportionately fewer people now even bother to contribute to a pension, even with the incentives led by government legislation. They are more interested in life experiences, holidays while they can, and living for the day because the future is too far away and no one can predict what life would be like then. So why not enjoy life now while you can, and deal with your problems when you are required?

The individual cannot see themselves working for an organisation for life, or even a few organisations. They are looking for their own niche, either to do a safe, dependable job for job security and consistency (and be valued for that), or to find somewhere, somehow, some value that the individual can themselves control to add value to society and be able to provide themselves with some lifetime security.

How all this works itself out is a mystery. We are in the equivalent of transitioning from a Newtonian mechanical world of size, scale, order and low velocity, into a quantum mechanical world of potential states and possibilities, with particles popping into and out of existence. Maybe a starting point is considering the way our internal customers change and using that as roadmap to understanding the external ones, too.

Robin Davis –

Article by Robin Davis