April 3, 2008

Procter & Gamble and Enterprise Architecture

Procter & Gamble Co. (P&G) is a Fortune 500, American global corporation based in Cincinnati, Ohio, that manufactures a wide range of consumer goods. As of 2007, P&G is the 25th largest US company by revenue, 18th largest by profit, and 10th in Fortune's Most Admired Companies list (as of 2007). In 2007, P&G has revenue of $76 billion, net income of $10 billion, and 138,000 employees working in over 80 countries. (Wikipedia)

P&G has a plethora of billion-dollar brands including: Actonel, Always, Ariel, Bounty, Braun, Charmin, Crest, Dawn, Downey, Duracell, Folgers, Gain, Gillette, Head & Shoulders, Iams, Mach 3, Olay, Oral B, Pampers, Pantene, Pringles, Tide, and Wella.

What makes P&G such a successful consumer goods company?

P&G is an all User-centric EA company. P&G is focuses on satisfying the end-user and developing products that are truly innovative and improve lives.

Fortune Magazine, 17 March 2008, quotes P&G CEO A.G. Lafley stating that at P&G “we put the consumer at the center of everything we do…our goal is to delight our consumers at two ‘moments of truth’: first, when they buy a product, and second when they use it.”

“At P&G the CEO is not the boss—the consumer is.” Moreover, they “seek out innovation from

P&G is tailoring their target architecture to their end-users, by truly understanding their needs. And P&G has some terrific new ways of capturing their end-user requirements and building new products to meet those.

  1. Innovation labs—“One looks like a grocery store, another like a drugstore, and another like different rooms in a typical middle-class American home…By watching how they navigate the aisles and what catches their eye, the company is able to unlock deeper insights into their behavior.”
  2. “Living It”—“enables employees to live with lower-income consumers for several days in their homes, to eat meals with the family, and to go along on shopping trips.”
  3. “Working It”—“employees work behind the counter of a small shop. That gives them insight into why shoppers buy a product, how the shopkeeper stacks the shelves, and what kind of business propositions are appealing.”

The idea behind [innovation labs,] Living It, and Working It was to sit down with the [consumers and the] bosses to hear what they needed, even if they couldn’t articulate it directly.”

What a cool EA concept. We can’t always ask our user directly what they need to achieve mission results and conduct business processes—they may not be able to articulate their needs—so we can instead embed ourselves at times in the mission to learn and understand firsthand what the needs are—by using all of our senses (not just listening). Living It and Working It are terrific concepts for architects to better understand the businesses they are planning and governing. Asking about needs and requirements is a first step, but it isn’t enough. We need to see for ourselves what the business needs to be successful in the future.


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