Before I was an Engineer, a Consultant, a Tech Seller, a Solutions Strategist…I was a Dancer.
Okay…bear with me for a moment.
From ballroom to hip-hop, contemporary to jazz, no form of dance caught my attention and passion better than Argentine tango. To me, Argentine tango is the perfect blend of what dance is meant to be – visually beautiful, musically complex, emotionally intimate, mentally challenging, and physically connected. Depending on who you dance with, the music you dance to, and flat-out how you’re feeling that night, that one dance will be unique, and unlike any other time you’ve danced before.
Tango lessons for beginners pretty much always start the same way. The premise is simple – it starts with balanceo – the art of feeling the weight of your partners feet, and the connection with their core. Once you know what foot your partner is on, and learn to “drive” their core, which is connected to yours through some almost-tangible, viscous and elastic medium, you can practically do anything. Its just a matter of understanding the effects timing, power, space (or lack of it), and torque have on that very fundamental platform of understanding around balanceo.
Okay, here’s the punchline: a smart, successful commerce solution strategy is like Argentine tango.
Back in the heyday of ERP, it was all about defining and building a complex, rigid system from the inside out that governed and provided consistency around how an organization’s employees operated, how their customers interacted with their available channels, and ultimately how their business measured success….kinda like a cheer routine. A cheer routine is dependent upon critical components playing specific roles, all choreographed to a specific song. The result is an intricate, shockingly well-choreographed dance number that clearly illustrates a team’s dedication and skill in pulling off something amazing. A cheer routine is great…until something changes.
All of a sudden, the day before the big dance competition, the judges decide all dance entries need to be less than four minutes, one of the girls gets sick, and Gartner analysts report that in Q4 2013, 86% of winning dance teams wore bowler hats. The Forrester Wave undeniably concurs.
Now, let’s go back to tango. Tango, like a smart, successful commerce solution strategy, provides a flexible, context-based platform that enables two dancers – ANY two dancers – to come together and create something seamless, beautiful and intricate, regardless of how corporate, social, or environmental influencers change the rules of the game. It doesn’t matter if its a different song, or if dancers need to change out, or if bowler hats are imposed – its still tango. It still works.
The challenge most businesses are faced with today is not that change is happening too fast, or that changes are not being pre-emptively recognized and addressed – the challenge is that businesses have not adopted a strategy that accepts that “outside in” change WILL inevitably happen, and have not implemented a commerce solution platform that can flexibly and effectively adapt to that change. A decade ago it was dotcom; two years ago it was ship from store; today its mobile – is your business ready to tackle whatever 2020 has planned, regardless of whether its “mind-shopping” or “teleport to locker”?
Don’t get me wrong, cheer routines are great. But I’ll take a tango anyday.