In my recently concluded transformation series, I identified Systems of Engagement as a key enabler of the future enterprise. A recent Survey conducted by Forrester suggests that systems of engagement will soon rearrange the landscape of IT organizations, technologies, architectures, budgeting, funding, and governance. It is not surprising that in this age of the customer, systems of engagement are finally getting attention – but as the survey reports, they require more than organizations are prepared to deliver.
As I described in my closer look at transformation, one of the key enablers of the future enterprise is Structural Change. This slide from a conference presentation I delivered this week speaks to some of the drivers of structural change. A key driver on this list is the ineffectiveness of command and control models in the future business environment.
As command and control slowly disappears, new models emerge and questions about effective ways to manage in flatter organizations arise. I recently fielded one such question during the above mentioned presentation on the future enterprise. The response focused on culture, the corporate value system, collaboration, communication, openness, transparency and trust. One great example of a flat company that exhibits many of these characteristics is not surprisingly an Internet company – Google. Google’s approach is outlined in a recent Article from the Harvard Business Review . Additional thoughts on moving towards an open and transparent culture can be found in this IBM CEO Study from 2012.
Examples of companies that are starting to create these new models are emerging – and I firmly believe that it’s only a matter of time before structures suited for the digital age take hold. There are still many skeptics out there – and no one has this all figured out. Leaders of the Industrial revolution era created the management structures that enabled business in that era. It’s time for leaders in this very different era to re-imagine these structures for the present day environment.
In October, IBM released a report from their Institute for Business Value titled Analytics – A Blueprint for Value. IBM releases these reports on a periodic basis, and this one is focused on the growing importance of analytics to business success. Through their analysis, they came up with nine levers that represent the sets of capabilities that most differentiated leaders exhibit:
- Culture: Availability and use of data and analytics within an organization
- Data: Structure and formality of the organization’s data governance process and the security of its data
- Expertise: Development of and access to data management and analytic skills and capabilities
- Funding: Financial rigor in the analytics funding process
- Measurement: Evaluating the impact on business outcomes
- Platform: Integrated capabilities delivered by hardware and software
- Source of value: Actions and decisions that generate results
- Sponsorship: Executive support and involvement
- Trust: Organizational confidence
Next up in this transformation series is the ninth and final enabler: thinking differently. How can we enable the characteristics so important to future success, if we don’t start thinking differently? Status quo thinking is the cause of many transformation failures – a trend that will continue without the re-imagining necessary to support the coming transformative period. The keyword to reflect on is “re-imagine”. To do this in the context of where the world is heading forces us to think differently and involves creativity – a trait that consistently heads the list of key traits that CEOs look for in leaders. It requires design thinking, innovative approaches and a willingness to let go of models built for another time.