Accessibility: the key to business success

Whether you are a start-up, small, medium or large organisation you are looking to boost your growth and profit by introducing new products, expanding into new markets, growing your customer base, new acquisitions or cost synergies.

As a leader and depending on your circumstances you will go down the path of adding more discovery, innovation, invention, technology, sales, marketing or acquisition. However, you wonder if it will work i.e. will it deliver the growth and profit you are looking for?

Yes it will work only if you have a plan for accessibility. The literature is full of buzz words like innovative technology, innovation, invention, breakthrough, discovery, etc. and yet we hear little about accessibility. Companies like Apple, GE, Google, Life Technologies are good at defining and executing on accessibility. This explains why they have been successful with their innovative technologies, breakthroughs and discoveries.

Accessibility is the human factor in your mathematical equation that will determine if your innovative technologies will be commercially successful. We sometime forget that our customers are humans with feeling and emotions evolving in specific professional and personal ecosystems that are overlapping. An ecosystem where they are not alone or isolated. We forget that humans are not robot that will in five seconds ingest your product manual and become experts in using it. It is about their dreams and aspirations.

Accessibility is not about trying to bring customers into your ecosystem but about you understanding their ecosystem. You will understand them not by performing tones of market survey and customer focus groups but observing their behaviours, what make them smile, what annoy them when they interact with your products. It is about what they like and use outside the work place. Accessibility is about reducing or eliminating the emotional barriers that will stop them from using your product. Make them love your product. This will not be achieved by overloading your product with technological features, having an ugly product or not capable to connect and fit with their workflows.

Apple has not invented their successful products. They worked on making the existing technologies accessible to wider audience and ensuring the negative emotional barriers are reduced to the minimum. They made their customers love their products.

Accessibility is not owned by sales, marketing or R&D function. It is the space where these functions meet to serve the customer profitably. It needs to be driven by someone or a group who have the ability to truly connect with the customer, understand their ecosystem and influence the product design and configuration to meet the customer and the company needs.

Accessibility is not only about new product launch. It is also about your customer care, operations and commercial functions post-product launch. With this culture you will ensure suitability of your growth and profit. Accessibility is a process that can be implemented despite the fact it deals with variables. Embrace it and you will see an improved top and bottom lines in your financials.

Amr Abid