Response, Reexamined


In a Harvard Business Review blog post on October 20th, Ray Wang discusses the innovator’s desire to apply “disruptive consumer technologies to enterprise class uses.” Instead of managing static data on customer transactions – historical and backward-looking – disruptors are turning to advanced analytics and unified communications to drive long-term engagement.

Wang describes engagement systems (versus transaction systems) as prioritizing scale, conversation, user experience, speed, and multichannel reach, among other identifiers. Wang’s strongest point is his argument on the importance of designing an engagement system for “sense and response.” While he likens this to a listening platform of sorts, that seems a little bit 2007. Sense and response comprises more than assessing status, context, and sentiment to recommend an action. Making recommendations is essentially what’s flawed with the current business intelligence landscape.

Technologically, we’re well beyond the need for static reporting. Why then are such solutions so pervasive within the enterprise?

“Response,” implies action. When people speak of “first responder,” they’re describing the first person to assess a situation and take action. Rather than responding to a negative product review with a phone call or discount, what if the system just acted on its own intelligence?