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Capturing Insights at the Front-Line

In every business the people who touch the product and interact with customers are a useful well of insight, but more often than not that insight is squandered. The information from these front-line employees is interrupted before it gets to where it needs to go. Managers end up making decisions and the IT/Engineering teams end up designing software/processes without a solid link back to the front-line.

A great example of doing this right is Uber. Most people are aware of Uber the disruptive transportation company. Uber’s trip from start-up to 1 Billion rides in under 7 years is an impressive feat, but the behind the scenes work might be just as interesting. They won races with competitors in dozens of countries simultaneously; beating them to market. Doing that meant, among other things, building processes that would take most businesses decades. They were able to do this because all their decisions were securely tied to the front-line. The same people who signed-up drivers, responded to customer inquiries and dealt with accidents helped design the processes the company would use and by and large the decisions were good ones.

The next time a management decision has to be reversed because it overlooked critical points or a software update wreaks havoc because it is misaligned with the current process, ask yourself if these decisions lacked a proper link to the front-line. The result likely won’t be surprising.

This blog was written by Mark Mckittrick, Engagement Manager at Trindent Consulting. He has extensive experience increasing productivity and developing standardized infrastructure product offerings for several industries.