Several recent articles have focused on a world that is changing faster than anything the world has ever experienced. From the socioeconomic front, to the geopolitical, to the technological, and more, the pace is accelerating. This Acceleration is not new, but it seems that it finally made the radar of organizational leaders. This phenomenon calls into question the traditional view of five-year plans. The world in five years likely looks quite different than our current world. This puts the ability to pivot and change at the heart of future organization success criteria. This new-found awareness highlights the need for flexibility, resilience, and adaptability, likely accelerating the path Towards Digital Transformation.
It’s easy to view the current crisis as a catalyst for change. Lying beneath the surface are signals that major change is required, and when crisis emerges, hope for that change emerges with it. In most cases however, that change never materializes. The last two months have brought countless predictions of what is to come. While we need to consider the low percentage of successful post-crisis predictions in the past, two trends look likely to materialize: accelerated digital transformation, and a rapid path to automation.
Agility is the capacity to detect, assess, and respond to environmental changes in ways that are purposeful, decisive, and grounded in the will to win
A recent Article describes how Target transformed from a Retailer with stores in disrepair and leaders that struggled to adapt to changing consumer behavior, to a company that is thriving. Their first quarter results for 2019 beat analysts’ expectations, the store’s private-label lines are exploding, and the stock price is trading at an all-time high.
Target CEO Brian Cornel made a huge announcement in March of 2017 that it planned to invest over $7 billion in a turnaround strategy – Wall Street was not impressed, as Target suffered its largest stock plunge in almost a decade on the day of the announcement. But Mr. Cornel took a page out of Jeff Bezos book and pushed forward on a plan that included:
I recently authored an article on ecosystems and digital transformation along with leading platform strategist Simon Torrance. Here is a brief abstract of the article. You can read it Here on the TCS website – along with other perspectives on digital transformation.
As Frank Diana and Simon Torrance explain in “Defining Your Digital Ecosystem: The First Step in a Machine First™ Transformation,” many leaders are no longer looking at strategy and industry structure in the ways of a non-digital world. Instead, they’re analyzing how emerging ecosystems—networks of stakeholders, including business partners, suppliers, customers, and competitors that interact digitally to create value are supplanting traditional industries as the organizing construct. For example, in a mobility ecosystem, automakers no longer just make cars; they must redefine the very notion of automobile ownership and how people get around.
Colleague and fellow Futurist Simon Torrance has developed a new online course titled: The New Growth Playbook. It provides new research and course content focused on business model transformation for the digital economy. You can access this new online course for senior executives Here.
It’s based on new in-depth analysis of the business model performance of over 500 leading companies, and provides an holistic approach for moving the valuation needle, particularly for incumbent organisations.
Special offer for my network: 20% discount if you book using this link. There’s also a free sample video case study here: How Amazon creates new growth flywheels. The course is getting some great feedback already, so pass the details along to others. Some early feedback is highlighted below:
- “Brilliant analysis.” Senior Partner, Global Management Consultancy
- “I recommend this course to all leaders.” Digital Director, Global Bank
- “Simon is at the forefront of digital trends.” Group Chief Strategy Officer, Global Telco
- “Simon is one of a very small number of senior consultants who truly understands platform-based business models and how traditional enterprises can successfully incorporate them” Senior Director, European Media Company
- “Simon is a thought leader extraordinaire!” Director of Leadership, Global Training Company
- “Simon adds a lot of value” CEO, Global Packaging Company
More at: http://www.newgrowthplaybook.com
To transform is to change in form, appearance, structure, condition, nature, or character. It is an overly used word that can be made to fit several narratives. Yet, given its definition, the dynamics of what is sure to be a volatile and complex future should compel us all to transform. I believe however, that the narrative must change. This is not a technology discussion, and it is not a digital discussion (although digital is the reason we are here). Rather, it is discussion of likely structural shifts that alter our beliefs and intuitions. These shifts will fundamentally change the way we think about organizations.
Digital transformation means different things to different people. As I strive to change mindsets, I am sensitive to these distinct perspectives and the individual filters applied to terms like digital and transformation. In my view, Digital has been more narrow than holistic, while in some organizations ERP implementations are considered transformation. So, does digital transformation represent the narrow use of digital technology to improve some aspect of our organization? Or, is it the wholesale change of a set of structures, institutions and paradigms built for a different era? Although I have mostly abandoned the phrase, when I do use it, I mean the latter.
Let’s call it what it is, starting with the term transformation. To truly transform means to change from one nature, substance, form, or condition into another. I’d maintain that the pace of change has made the archaic nature of our industrial era structures, institutions, and management paradigms very apparent. Therefore, to transform in this sense means to change from the nature, form and substance of our industrial past, to a state that is viable for our digital future. Digital is foundational: the building block for which this future state is built upon. Therefore, for clarity sake, a better way to describe digital transformation is:
TRANSFORMATION FOR THE DIGITAL AGE: a change in the nature, substance, and form of our industrial past, to a future state that allows us to thrive in our emerging digital future.
In a recent book titled Dual Transformation, the authors (Scott D. Anthony, Clark G. Gilbert, and Mark W. Johnson) focus on the challenging task of transforming the core while simultaneously creating a growth engine. They refer to it as dual transformation: Transformation A – repositioning the core, and Transformation B – creating the new. This complex tension is represented in this visual from our upcoming leadership course: Reimagining the Future: A Journey through the Looking Glass.
At a recent KPMG Robotic Innovations event, Futurist and friend Gerd Leonhard delivered a keynote titled “The Digital Transformation of Business and Society: Challenges and Opportunities by 2020”. I highly recommend viewing the Video of his presentation. As Gerd describes, he is a Futurist focused on foresight and observations – not predicting the future. We are at a point in history where every company needs a Gerd Leonhard. For many of the reasons presented in the video, future thinking is rapidly growing in importance. As Gerd so rightly points out, we are still vastly under-estimating the sheer velocity of change.
With regard to future thinking, Gerd used my future scenario slide to describe both the exponential and combinatorial nature of future scenarios – not only do we need to think exponentially, but we also need to think in a combinatorial manner. Gerd mentioned Tesla as a company that really knows how to do this.
The notion of value creation and capture is a core component of business and the models that drive it. While historically viewed with a traditional product mindset, several emerging forces will alter this basic tenet of business. At its core, the way businesses create and capture value will change – the degree of change ranges from transformative to historical. The last several posts focused on the historical – namely Jeremy Rifkin’s view that we are heading towards A New Economic Paradigm. The foundation of Mr. Rifkin’s argument is a Third Industrial Revolution (TIR) platform that takes the marginal cost of production to near zero. Enabled by the Internet of Things, this General Purpose Technology (GPT) Platform could alter our landscape more dramatically than previous GPTs (steam-locomotive-printing press, electricity-auto-telephone). What happens to value creation and capture in a near zero marginal cost scenario?
Over the last three months, I have presented a framework for thinking about transforming the enterprise to the type of enterprise that can succeed in the year 2020 – What I call a digital enterprise.
Throughout this multi-part transformation series, I have focused on those forcing functions that push us to transform – the drivers that stir us to action. Old models that were created for another time cannot lead us into this future – we must think differently. We must invent the models that define business in the decades ahead.
So, I wrap up this closer look at transformation with the hope that I’ve convinced you in some small way that we are indeed heading towards what is likely to be the most transformative period in history. My hope is that leaders everywhere think differently to usher in a period of prosperity and societal advancement. Instead of talk of disruption, let us talk of enablement and advancement. May we each have the wisdom, vision and courage to lead in this emerging transformative period.
For a review of this entire transformation series, here is an intro and link to each of the prior posts. As a reminder, forcing functions are those things that force the enterprise to invest in a future state. The enablers are those facilitators of change that allow us to address the forcing functions and build a path towards the future. Click on the underlined title to access each post.
Next up in this transformation series is the eighth enabler: the evolution from descriptive to predictive analytics. At the heart of future success lies the ability to leverage insight for competitive advantage. Yet, analytic capability and data driven cultures are lacking in most organizations, and most executives when assessing their positioning on a descriptive-to-prescriptive scale answer level one. The table below defines each level:
Next up in this transformation series is the seventh enabler: Collective Intelligence. One of the key themes throughout this transformation series is the clear movement from an enterprise entity to an extended enterprise of stakeholders. This extended enterprise – or what I alternatively call value ecosystem – increases complexity and requires a new management approach to be effective. I use the term collective intelligence as an umbrella phrase that combines the critical need for both collaboration and analytic excellence. This includes other forces like crowd computing, crowdsourcing, co-creation, and wisdom of the crowd – all of which stem from the connectedness of our world, and the growing realization that value creation requires a broader community.
Next up in this transformations series is the sixth enabler: sense and respond systems. These systems are critical to the transformation agenda, as most of the disruptive technologies likely to impact the enterprise in the next decade have data at its core. The resulting data explosion promises to complicate information management for most companies. As the speed of business accelerates and the amount of data flowing through company ecosystems expands, the need to sense stimuli and enable a real time response intensifies. Fortunately, rapid advancements in the price and performance of technology make realizing this sense and respond paradigm achievable and economical for a wide range of use cases – but this is arguably one of the most difficult components of transformation road maps.
Next up in this transformation series is the fifth enabler: systems of engagement. Geoffrey Moore introduced the Systems of Engagement concept about two years ago. This vision for the future of Information Technology is gaining broader acceptance – but a surprising number of executives are blind to the coming sea change. Where current enterprise systems are designed around records (systems of record); these new systems are designed around interactions. Where technology investment in the last two decades enabled transaction workers and executives – these systems enable the middle of organizations with a focus on growth.
Next up in this transformations series is the fourth enabler: next generation experiences. As we are now deep into this transformation series, some of the drivers and tactics are similar across the various enablers, so you will start to see some redundancy across posts. The issues of customer experience, customer-centricity, and customer intimacy are top-of-mind and dominate many executive discussions and conference agendas. According to Forrester, only 3% of companies manage to succeed at delivering an excellent customer experience, but 60% intend to use customer experience as a strategic differentiator. Driven by the rapid commoditization of products and services, the speed at which new market entrants emerge, and the rise of consumerization, experience is now the new battle ground – and sustainable competitive advantage is the prize. But as Forrester concludes in their book Outside-in, customer experience remains the most misunderstood element of corporate strategy today.
The next focus of this transformation series shifts to the emergence of value ecosystems and their role in driving the Enterprise of 2020. As we look at the Apple ecosystem and offerings like the connected car, mobile commerce, energy efficiency, electric cars, eHealthcare, and energy performance contracts, we can see the lines between industries blurring. Some even question the relevance of Industry constructs in the future. As this phenomenon accelerates, more and more companies must identify the relevant ecosystem(s) that enable their growth strategies. These value ecosystems are complex and relationship-oriented, representing future growth opportunities that are increasingly outside a company’s traditional business.
Next up in this transformation series is edge-driven design, the second enabler. This key enabler is growing in importance as developed economies are moving away from command and control models and towards edge interaction that is value-based. The design principles of our past where the core (Systems of record) drove design and the edge adapted do not support this shift. This future state requires the edge to drive design from the outside-in and a core that is adaptive. This reversal in design principles supports two future dynamics: 1) Value is increasingly created by an ability to connect capabilities across organizations within an ecosystem of services, and 2) The shift from a transactional paradigm to an experiential one. An edge-driven design addresses both of these dynamics and begins to instill a fast, iterative and responsive culture.
This closer look at transformation now shifts to the enablers. By way of summary, we have covered the forcing function piece of the diagram below; those forces that drive leaders to invest in a future state. In the absence of a burning platform, one must turn to vision as a catalyst for change in what promises to be the most transformative period in history. Once the impetus for change is established, what are the enablers of change? Where do companies invest to move towards that future state? The enabler side of the visual identifies those facilitators of change that allow us to address the forcing functions and build a path towards the future. The next nine posts will address each of these individually, starting with structural change.