When change is a constant, organizational transformation is an ongoing imperative. And we are living in an era of unprecedented change and business complexity. The best of yesterday's strategies seems barely adequate to the challenges you as a business leader wake up to today. With organizations large and small needing to continually adapt and innovate, organizational transformation is no longer about one massive project you hope to undertake when the time is just right. It is no longer about waiting well into the future to realize those tangible downstream benefits.
New products and services are being introduced at a dizzy pace making existing ones, some of which are even useful - redundant. Consumer trends and consumption patterns are fast-changing, and new markets are opening all the time. The availability of a global, virtualized, and digital infrastructure has enabled knowledge workers across the globe to compete for work with local players successfully. Service organizations have access to large pools of high quality, low-cost knowledge workers from across the World.
The following changes impacting the business environments are highly visible.
- The rate of speed of change has significantly increased. Companies like IBM took 100 years to reach from $1 billion to $100 Billion. There are many companies like Apple, Facebook, Nvidia, Amazon, whose wealth grew and is growing much faster.
- Economies are becoming more and more globalized. Many new consumers across South East Asia and Africa got added. The World has become both the market and the service provider. The British exit from the European Union, American protectionism, and other cross-border phenomena have the potential to make structural realignments in the global economy, but without changing their essential nature
- Consumption of goods and services is increasing rapidly. Modern devices are proliferating everywhere.
- Information spreads very fast. Social media and mobile devices make information reach everywhere much faster.
- Businesses are worried about their brands, accountability, and online reputation. For example, cigarette consumption is fast reducing despite being a profitable business; sales of energy-efficient cars are increasing. People are showing concerns about the ill effects of junk food.
- Compliance issues have gained complexity in many ways and will continue to pose challenges.
- Technologies are becoming disruptive. The Cloud has made ample storage accessible from everywhere, and the Internet of things is increasing the control of facilities we handle. Big data provides valuable information about accessibility to various market segments. Analytics provides processed data to support decisions. Robotics, Machine learning, Deep Learning, and Artificial Intelligence are taking automation to the next level and have disruptive potential both in the short and long terms. It will take just a couple of breakthroughs in these fields for it to begin significantly impacting the way we do business.
- Middle managers and middle-men may not be required in the future. Technology itself has become a great general manager. It can closely monitor performance, provide necessary feedback, and create reports. Skilled teams are increasingly self-managed. The same is true for middle-men. Producers and consumers can interact more closely thru multiple technical solutions
- The 21st century is also experiencing massive human migrations. People are leaving their earlier ancestral homes for work either to other countries or within the country. Families are becoming nuclear. Demographic disparities are also shaping the mobility of labor and skills Resistance and hostility to immigration is a natural corollary and is introducing its dynamics – and not just in the most advanced economies. Its effects are visible even within state borders, with regional groups coming into more significant contact with each other.
'Transform' or 'Perish' is the norm in modern business environments. All these changes are putting enormous pressure on organizations to transform all the time. Disruption and volatility are the norms since the beginning of the century, and the business environment since then is a lot more dynamic than the previous two decades. New and nimble players with better technologies and smarter business models have displaced well-entrenched players in the market who could not cope with the pace of change or innovate in time. Only 64 out of 500 businesses ( S&P listed companies) have vanished in the last 50 years. Two examples that come to the mind from recent times are Nokia and Kodak, and the lessons from their demise have not been fully assimilated.