By David Loshin

In my last set of posts I began to examine the integration of the concept of “customer centricity” into business processes, starting with the ability to uniquely differentiate individuals in relation to their “contact-based” identifying characteristics, such as street address and telephone number.

Interestingly, from one part of the discussion, we could draw a conclusion that
due to the lack of prescience regarding the many different methods of contact
that exist today, a large number of application data models are insufficiently
designed to accommodate a comprehensive capture of the different ways to
interact with a customer.

For example, thirty years ago it might not have occurred to a data modeler that
an email address would be a common method of interaction, although perhaps by
twenty years ago, one might have begun to see data models that had a column for
email.

At the same time, the data modeler might not have anticipated social network
channels (“heavier” ones such as Facebook as well as “lighter ones” such as
Twitter) that provide means for both direct and indirect customer interaction.

In fact, if we focus solely on one “channel” – the telephone – we start to see
some critical issues that reflect changes in the telecommunications business
that might actually break some typical business assumptions of yesteryear, such
as:

Single point of household contact: In the past, there might have been an
assumption that there was a single landline telephone number associated with a
single household. But a number of factors may have changed this assumption –
lowered costs enable more landlines coming into a house, more people have mobile
telephones, and internet services enables home-based VOIP telephony.

Presumption of location: Calling a landline telephone number involved direct
routing of a call to a specific connected end-point that is physically situated
in a specific location, so it used to be that if you called a number and an
individual answered, your could presume that individual was located in the
associated location. Virtualization of telephony “softens” that assumption,
especially with the means to set up call forwarding to multiple destinations.
For example, I have a VOIP telephone account that I forward to both my office
number and my mobile phone.

“Area” codes and regionalization: The concept of an area code was to help in
routing landline calls and establishing the network connection. The area code,
as well as the next three digits known as the NXX, or central office code, were
both indicative of specific locations. Again, mobile telephony and IP telephony
have changed that; mobile phones can be transported anywhere, and IP phone
numbers can be set up to route anywhere as well.

This is just one example where the past assumptions may potentially limit our
abilities to enrich our applications from a customer centricity standpoint. In
my next post, we’ll consider why we really care about precision and accuracy of
location characteristics.


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