Customer Arena

In my role as Global Program Manager I hire data specialists and architects from “the smart data company” Kadenza. Last month Jeroen Blankendaal (MD) invited me to join a so called customer arena to openly discuss the current relationship, both tips and tops.


As I embrace the idea of a fully open and transparent way of giving feedback, I accepted the invitation gladly.


The preparation:


Some days before this “arena” we (eight customers including me) received the following questions regarding the performance of Kadenza and their staff to prepare ourselves.


  1. How would you mark Kadenza as supplier?
  2. What is important for you in your relation with Kadenza?
  3. What should Kadenza never let go?
  4. What should Kadenza change in the next three years?
  5. What should Kadenza develop in the next three years?
  6. Are the people from Kadenza proactively helping your organisation?
  7. Is Kadenza on top of their market, are they innovative enough?


Just before the actual discussion we and the moderator discussed briefly the most important topics. We also added the following additional question to the list: ”What would you never like to experience from Kadenza again?”. We believed that this would give them good feedback to improve their business.


The customer arena:


The eight of us were sitting in a circle in the middle of a large room and all the staff of Kadenza were sitting around us in a larger circle. This created a special environment. The moderator triggered us with questions to open and guide the discussion between us as customers. “The Kadencie” (staff from Kadenza) around us were not allowed to react and were asked to write down the feedback (tops and tips) we discussed. Soon we had a good discussion how we would like to see that the Kadencie should help us to excel our business. Of course this was focused on the area of smart data, data analytics, data-warehousing and architecture.


After about one hour the moderator invited our hosts to ask us questions. The atmosphere was open and the interactions were executed very respectful.


During the entire session Jeroen Blankendaal added sticky notes with all our feedback and statements on a brown paper. In the next weeks they will consolidate the feedback given and will plan follow up meetings with us as customers. Afterwards they will create the focus areas to work on and this will be added to their annual plan.


My compliments to the organisation Kadenza and their staff. I have never experienced a session like this before, in which a company, in all its vulnerability, is eager to listen to the voice of their customers and is prepared to act accordingly. I think it’s a great idea!


I look forward to see the follow up actions to be embedded in their company.