Our world is changing dramatically, Stock Markets have become more like Roller coasters, many businesses are now satisfied with sustainable business models as opposed to rapid growth and many technology companies are suggesting that hardware and software sales could be in for a difficult time. The result of all of this? Zero to Low confidence within businesses on their journey of business evolution as they continue on their journey in the increasingly global and competitive landscape. At this point I can already hear a few people wondering how this has anything to do with the common topic of my blogs, the impact of technology on the world we live in? Well it does, so let me explain.
Today’s businesses and technology are intertwined to such a degree that you can’t look at one without understanding the implications, limitations or even changes required to the other. Many CXO’s that I speak to lately are concerned with the balancing act they are facing – how do they invest in technology to ensure they can support their business requirements but at the same time manage a tight rope balance of cost vs. business benefit without knowing what is happening in the next 3 months let alone 3 years!
Many businesses are offering increased flexibility in their products but they are equally concerned with their own business models and outlook resulting in their own business concerns. On that basis it is time to throw out the guide book and reconsider business models for a new era, a period of sustained unpredictability as a vehicle for change. I have said it before in one of my blogs, we as individuals and society drive technology, we should not accept that technology will limit our own choices or for that matter determine our own path to success. Consider for a moment what would happen if we knew our oil would run out (I know not a pleasant thought!), we would adapt and look at alternatives to ensure our needs were met ensuring we could continue with our journey as we already are starting to do so!
Each and every business has a vision or a goal they are seeking to achieve over a 3 to 5 year period, many are concerned that the current instability in the market is placing that goal at risk. What is required is for businesses to reassess the path they are taking to achieve their goal. It may take longer, it may require acceptance that they are evolving from a straight highway to a windy mountain path, which requires a more graduated approach to ensure the business does not slip backwards as it progresses towards its goal.
Once we have identified the new path to achieve our goal and/or vision businesses can then look to what role technology could and will play in supporting the journey along that path. This is a crucial pause point, looking to technology in the same way as we have done in the past will simply result in reliving “Groundhog Day” (for those of you who don't understand that analogy watch the movie!). We need to look at the principles of what technology can provide in its simplest form and redesign the manner in which that technology is both delivered/implemented and supported. What I mean is we need to look at how we reshape the use of technology, from its commercial, integration and utilization aspects. Business are looking for new ways of working as they seek to break the cycle of change they find themselves in today with various factors pulling their decision making in different directions.
Technology can support businesses in continuing their journey to their goal by ensuring that communication and IT developments are not static and that they can be moulded to the needs of the business. The end benefit of this approach is a return to three year planning, an increased confidence in formulating longer term decision making and commitments … Why? Simply because if you know that your business can access levers across your organization from commercial, technology, geography and people in order to adapt to your changing business environment then your business will equally grow in confidence and will increasingly develop an inherent ability to adapt and anticipate market change.
On that note I leave you with two final comments – Stay on your path, your vision is the key to the sustainability of your business and remind yourself that technology is only an enabler. Accept that the path to realizing your goal may change and that it is your adaptability as a business that will result in the greatest chance of achieving success!