Today’s leaders are being faced with unpredictable and disruptive environments driven by digitisation. And the rate of adoption is accelerating fast.
Enterprises are digitizing essential functions within their supply chains to further enhance their suite of products to improve productivity, design, quality and service. It’s somewhat essential especially as enterprises seek to stay relevant.
However, for most C-Suite leaders and CEO’s in particular, their exposure into what technology actually does and can do has been limited. It’s important for leaders to understand, times are transitioning towards a digital platform. Information Technology (IT) is driving business potential, accelerating innovation and performance.
For this reason, the future success of an enterprise depends largely on its ability to shift the focus on technology from a cost prohibitor to a business model enabler. After all, the ultimate prize for an enterprise is a very special one – the prospect of achieving significant revenue gains, empowering professions and industries with improved efficiencies while simultaneously reducing costs.
Despite these earnest benefits, it’s understandable that some leaders are confused. They are primarily overwhelmed with the enormity of the transition towards a digital economy and are seeking answers to questions like;
- How do we set enterprise agendas with the introduction of digital transformation and change?
- What is the value of Big Data and how can leaders capture the upside?
- How are social technologies impacting enterprises?
- What are the cyber security risks in the move towards digital business?
Getting a handle on where to focus and how much to invest against opportunities and threats will be a frequent discussion in the boardroom. Leaders must focus the discussion out of tactical details and into increased performance and driving innovation – shifting the discussion from necessary cost to business enabler.
So where can technological change be most useful to most enterprises? Here are some of the ways enterprises have applied technology to redefine their competitive playing field;
Technology allows a customer to do business on their preferred channel(s) while enabling enterprises to take advantage of every customer interaction.
Enterprises have the potential to open their value chains to take advantage of multiple often competing or network of suppliers.
Data, Information and Security
Enterprises are creating data at rates never been seen before. The challenge is to turn useful data, with into greater intelligence in cost effective ways.
New Products and Services
As enterprises apply new technology to their core business; they are finding opportunities to create new revenue streams.
The Challenge Is How To Start
Enterprises need to identify ways to strengthen their offerings, either by digitizing existing products, integrating value chains or by developing new digital products to remain competitive and current.
These transient times are forcing leaders to think differently about how to effectively respond and more rapidly to customer demands, and anticipate future customer needs in a range of predictable ways. The integration of big data and analytics across internal enterprise functions including value chains can deliver a step change in productivity.
The new insights gained have the potential to enhance professional capabilities, improve efficiencies and competitive advantage. Integrating web based technologies into the daily workflow is the most effective way to maintain competitive position or become more empowered to better understand customer needs and behaviours.
Empowering the Culture
As infrastructure develops, a new focus towards empowering company culture and management models must also be high on the agenda.
Flat management models are ideal in this instance. They enable teams to be more nimble and respond to a rapidly changing environment and encourage teams to contribute to cross-boundary dialogue and make decisions in ways we have never seen before. Here are four effective ways to bring about systemic change in today’s changing world;
1. Keep a true commitment to change in the face of challenges and uncertainty
If leaders want to bring systemic change, they need to understand that the road to change is paved with many challenges.
2. Develop an ability to listen and a capacity to understand other viewpoints
To address the challenges of an enterprise, leaders will need to embark on a listening tour. Take the time to visit all the business functions and meet with a diversity of staff members to hear them out on ways they see new efficiencies within their own service levels.
3. Inspire commitment at all levels – not just the top. Address the challenges and how they can transpire into potential opportunities.
The horizontal platform mobilizes a multi-stakeholder response to change. Forge a partnership within the workforce to fortify collaboration towards a deeper understanding on the new growth potential. Equally, collaborate with industry stakeholders in bilateral and multilateral contexts to develop new standards and improve data sharing across value chains. So the strategy shifts from the reactive problem-solving of a disruptive environment to co-creating the future of innovative relevance.
4. Be open to new ways of working and show a willingness to innovate, adapt, and take risks
From concrete to virtual borders, leaders must open the door to new ways of addressing the strengths of innovation and growth. Openness to new technologies and social media will enable leaders to adapt to the new frontier and drive brand relevance well into the future.
As the challenges are non-linear, so is the development of new leadership. Coming at all angles, leaders need to be agile in listening, discerning, synthesizing, acting, adapting, and forecasting in collaboration with many different individuals and industry associations and institutions. Therefore, traditional management models of the 20th century with its emphasis on linear processes and vertical command and control, is ill fitted to meet these challenges of today as it tends to create silos and bureaucracy.
As enterprises move towards digitization, leaders need to shift the focus away from necessary cost to business model enabler. They also need to communicate to their employees so they understand how the company is changing and how they can be a part of it, improve team skills, source new talent, empower culture and gain a new appreciation for the way the enterprise does business.