The wide spectrum of user centricity semantic map
The spectrum of the concept of user centricity fluctuates from pin pointed data management of relations between users and online identity providers, the technical federation of computerized identity schemes and up to a holistic user centered disintermediation paradigm.
User centricity is not just a concept for implementation in computerized protocols, federated identity management or CRM processes. Nor is it a corporate cliché’, a marketing lip service for “we serve you best” as “we see what’s best for you”
The above is a manifestation of business and process orientation of customer centric approaches that corporates, providers and organizations claim, in top down unilateral relationship schemes, based on their mediation. They define what, how, where, when and in what way, in the name of knowing best what users need.
In that spirit, even in the distributed web and in social networks, users are deprived from direct access to many services or information strings that are provided for free (no free meal..) or fee of a sort. In exchange for services, users’ data become the provider’s property, to be manipulated at will, without the user’s consent and many times even awareness. Commercial offerings are wrapped in schemes of captivity, profile base stickiness and a golden cage of web services that menace our privacy and freedom. The centralization of provider-side service platforms makes sure that the data accumulated remain hosted on company’s servers, even when the architectures are cloud based.
Even claims of focusing on end- users require modifications. Taking a business oriented view, Brian Solis claims that that customer centricity begins with creating a climate of change. He claims that organizations need to really listen to their customer, tap into social networks where customers converse and adapt the corporate culture and inner processes in the organizations to the expressed customers attitudes and engagement, and thus be able to create change by placing the user at the center of the design of the organizational systems, adapted to what they have learnt.
Still that approach assumes a patronizing top down intermediation. In a world where commercial offerings and social services are wrapped in schemes of captivity, profile base stickiness and golden cages of web services that menace users’ privacy and freedom. The centralization of provider-side service platforms makes sure that the data accumulated remain hosted on company’s servers, even when the architectures are cloud based. Even when providers try to humanize
What combats that?
One approach was open source and free. Services, offerings and source codes created bottom-up or through crowdsourcing
However, user centricity is more. It’s a culture, a paradigm, a lens.
Real user centricity starts with taking the point of view of the individual, and not that of the corporate or organization. A human point of view, of people flesh and blood that converse, engage, adapt and influence is different than that of corporates, even if those providers claim that they care about us, users. Organizations don’t care.
The human side, really looking at the users and adapting a culture that puts them in the center, requires a paradigm change. Looking at the digital world through a prismatic view of each individual Itom , creates a new vantage point for web based relations. Once we look at it as a people’s web, it’s an “I in the center” paradigm, where each user becomes a distinct anchor, an Itom.
In that paradigm of total disintermediation, the self sovereignty of users rules. They are independent, free, at the center of systems that serve them, equal partners to the processes and food chains created around them, with total control of their data, privacy and sharing – pulling services at their choices.
We are not there yet. Neither technologically nor commercially. The culture is already fermenting. User side services are beginning to bud, the road is still long. Yet the free spirit, independent state of mind and natural sense of entitlement that real Icentricity required, should become adapted by organizations who want to adapt to the emerging digital landscape where users are the real center. Embracing transparency, compassion and engagement – soft values that enhance trust and a true sense of partnership.