More than catchy words and shiny objects, it is time to fundamentally rethink the modern-day enterprise as we know it. Crises always highlight the limitations of an existing system and provide directions of rectification. The current crisis manifests this rectification by showing us that what is required is not just superficial feature additions, but true transformational change that will strengthen a firm’s ability to remain relevant and consequential in the face of upcoming disruptions. To alleviate this burden, firms need to consider three concepts:
- Tempo: Preparedness and Reactiveness have always had a pull and tug relationship. But with technological evolutions occurring increasingly faster and the increasing emergence of new market demands, today reactiveness trumps preparedness. A good carpenter never blames his tools. In the same vein, firms need to rethink their tools and move past the temptation of adding extra features on an app, or a new CRM solution that is solely the purview of the sales team. It is here that tools such as AI and cloud migration will be of particular use and offer firm’s an operating model that allows them to respond at the same pace of the market. Existing value chains need to be reconfigured quickly to ensure that the mechanics of transformation and innovation can collectively address the needs of users, who are looking for mediation and support as they undergo their own transformations.
- Frictionless: Achieving rapid changes to the operating model is not just a question of applying technology but also of aligning the teams and departments to a singular vision. Technological investments therefore go hand in hand with clear directives from leadership, to ensure that every department has a clear understanding of what is being done, why initiatives are being modified, and how this impacts their roles. Ambiguity, after all, is the parent of disconnection. Hence, technology’s application needs to provide clarity across the firm so that KPIs, processes and outcome goals can be aligned to combat against frictions between departments. Silo-busting should be the consequence, and not the objective.
- Collaboration: One of the only redeeming features of this crisis is its universality – we have all been affected by it and we all need to find a solution out of it. No firm exists in a vacuum. Thus, if Tempo and Frictionless address the internal dynamics of the firm, then collaboration with the outside world completes the triangle of transformation. Firms need to analyze the assets, processes and talent strongholds, to see how they can work with ecosystem players who share the same objectives. A sword and shield may help protect against enemies, but they a poor substitute to the bond formed by a handshake.