Old industrial business models habits die hard; in fact, many companies still apply old physical value–chain thinking to the emerging digital value chain, and this adherence to outdated processes is severely undermining their competitiveness.
Astute decision–makers are starting to recognize this shift. Economic volatility and pressures are combining with new technologies to ignite a fundamental shift that sees companies reforming work into digital value chains powered by new social technologies. Many entrenched organizational strategies, principles, methodologies, processes and systems are decreasing in relevance, so decision–makers are rethinking Old World organizational blueprints to manage this fundamental shift in how business will be conducted in the coming years.
Redefining Work: Deconstructing the Social Enterprise
Social technologies — integrated with mobile tools, big data and cloud enablement — are already embedded into our daily lives, but now they are moving into the enterprise. This is not executives saying, "Let's just give Facebook to our teams to keep them happy." What's new is that these technologies — and the mindsets for using them — are driving companies to actively modernize and reform work. And these changes will only accelerate.
Winning 21st century businesses will look and feel different because social collaboration and mobility are built in. As such, they will be open, global, tolerant, informal, passionate, iterative and zealous. They will exemplify leading–edge thinking about business and technology models by functioning in an asset–light model and a cloud–first, mobile–first, supplier–first, global–first manner, built to thrive in an era of acceleration and dynamic volatility. They will, in our view, be social enterprises.
Below are six macro–level activities that define all 21st century businesses. Outperforming 21st century businesses will rethink, reinvent and rewire these six elemental activities with new organizational principles, mainly by applying what we call the "New Master IT Platform," or SMAC Stack (social, mobile, big data analytics and cloud).
Each of these six elements of organizational activity will need extensive re–imagining to employ SMAC stack tools that deliver tangible business benefit. What follows is our blueprint for delivering benefits across the emerging digital value chain. (For more information on these activities, as well as examples and recommendations for how these activities should be transformed, read the full version of this white paper, Build A Modern Social Enterprise To Win In The 21st Century.)
Create a Social Enterprise Blueprint for Your Organization
Decision-makers are wrestling with questions about what the future of work will bring. All are looking to build — some quickly and some incrementally — a social enterprise to win in the future world of work. Organizations should start now with these actions:
Build a vision for modernized work. Start by thinking about the work to be done. This plan should include technologies, but it must focus on work processes that require modernization. "Core" areas of business activity should be fast–tracked for modernization.
Target work for modernization. For many organizations, the journey to the future of work should start with identifying processes (and their enabling systems) that are ripe for reformation. Look for processes that meet these criteria:
- Emphasize your digital value chain. Begin with work that is already digitized but that can be injected with innovative social and mobile technologies.
- Empower globally distributed work teams. Target workflows that can benefit from collaboration by distributed team members. Collaborative tools can heighten the quality of interaction and output for globally distributed teams, allowing the enterprise to fully benefit from talent residing anywhere in the global network.
- Let your customers guide you — really. Start by targeting work where the value chain can be "rewired." Chances are, if you are really listening to your customers, they are telling you where to start.
- Find needles in your haystack. "Let's do analytics' is hopelessly broad, so — here again — focus on the work. Targeting a specific work process will allow you to leverage big data analytics to uncover new opportunities and risks previously unrecognized and unrealizable, buried amid exponentially growing transactional data.
- Look for "plateauing" processes and sun-setting systems. Decommission or reconfigure processes and systems where productivity improvements or brand differentiation has hit a wall.
Develop ecosystem governance acumen. Managing the social enterprise will require precision governance to implement and run sophisticated partner ecosystems and manage hybrid internal/external service models.
Drop your asset anchors. The virtualized, disaggregated, asset-light, social enterprise will exist in a cloud–first world where information services such as those provided by Amazon will originate from data centers more secure than any organization can achieve itself. Work teams will participate in 24/7 follow–the–sun process flows; asset acquisition will become the last — not first — resort; and leadership will stem from exploiting new uncertainties rather than milking conventional wisdom.
To learn more about social enterprise, read the full version of the white paper, Build A Modern Social Enterprise To Win In The 21st Century (PDF), or learn more about Cognizant Business Consulting and Cognizant's Business Process Services.