Note: This post was originally published by Catherine Courage on LinkedIn, December 3, 2014.
Citrix is a technology company, but another way to think about us might be as a human outcomes company. That’s our real focus, and it informs not only the technology we deliver, but also how we deliver it and the experience we provide for our customers across their lifecycle. By spending time with our customers, we can better understand what really matters to them—the needs they’re trying to address, the changes they’re going through, the new opportunities that excite them. It takes the conversation beyond features and capabilities, and inspires us to create solutions and experiences that really transform our customers’ lives. When we get it right, everyone becomes more successful—the individuals who use our products, the businesses they serve and Citrix itself.
Here are a few of the ways we think about human outcomes in our work at Citrix.
Human Relationships Are a Journey, Not a Moment
Businesses too often think of their customer relationships one transaction at a time. In reality, the sale is just one in a long series of interactions through a diverse array of touchpoints. From the customer’s perspective, the relationship extends from the earliest stages of awareness and online research, through demos and trial downloads, to installation, upgrades, support and renewals. Your brand experience needs to be consistent and coherent across all these moments, and always keenly focused on the customer’s needs. People want to feel like they’re building a real relationship with your brand, without always having to reintroduce themselves, remind you of their situation or search for answers that you should have thought to provide already. Transactions are important milestones in the relationship, but the connections among them and the way they flow into each other are the key to building loyalty.
The same is true for your partners and employees. These individuals don’t just support and enable your business—they constitute it. Their experiences with your brand are crucial, from the resources you provide to empower them, to the vision you articulate to inspire them. Just as your customer relationships shouldn’t amount to take-the-money-and-run, your partner and employee relationships should transcend transactions and metrics. Help the members of your ecosystem achieve better outcomes, and they’ll help your business do the same.
Technology Should Set People Free, Not Tie Them Down
The first generations of the technology industry held a simple, seemingly self-evident assumption about how people would work: in a set place, using specific tools in predetermined ways. When you think of things that way, it might make sense to develop solutions designed for delivery to a desktop computer on an office desk, and to ignore whatever might be happening in consumer markets and lifestyles. But there are two problems with this viewpoint. First of all, fewer and fewer people actually work that way anymore—we move from place to place and device to device throughout the day. Secondly, and more profoundly, this approach means that the tool sets the context for people to work in, instead of designing the tool around the individuals’ needs.
Work is no longer a place. It’s something people do, defined by the tasks they need to complete. Sometimes those tasks will take them from place to place; on other days, it’s their own personal lives that will necessitate mobility, such as when they need to respond to a client while sitting in a doctor’s waiting room or complete a project while waiting for a child to emerge from a dance class. An insurance adjuster meeting a policyholder at a Red Cross facility, tablet in hand; a design engineer working through a technical challenge right on the production floor; a law enforcement officer completing paperwork from the front seat of a patrol car—this is what technology users look like today.
When people have a task to complete, they shouldn’t have to stop and think, “Can I do that here, on this device?” Their technology resources should be available and transparent in any scenario, so they can focus on their work, not their tools.
This also extends to device ownership. It shouldn’t matter whether the individual or the business owns a given laptop or tablet—people should be able to use whatever they find most productive. Organizations might reflexively see bring-your-own-device (BYOD) as an IT nightmare, but it doesn’t have to be. There are solutions to make BYOD fully secure and manageable, and we’ve found that support calls often go down because people already know how to use, troubleshoot and maintain their own devices. It’s one more way to stop telling people, “Use this and do it this way,” and instead ask them, “What’s the best way for you to get your work done?”
Beyond its implications for product and experience design, a human outcomes perspective can be a powerful motivator for your organization. In my subsequent blog next week, I will discuss the perspective further as it relates to change and growth, the effect of Big Data and the value of treating everyone like a consumer. I’m excited to go to work each day knowing that I’m helping make people happier and more effective—that’s a more compelling vision than just rolling out more technology. It’s also a good guiding principle for your business. Success today comes from truly understanding your customers’ needs and how best to meet them by adding both business value and human value. When you weave that sensibility into your design thinking, your customers and your business can reach their full potential.