The clichéd phrase that change is the only constant rings true as business leaders seek to drive innovation and foster business growth in the face of an ever-evolving landscape. Given the interplay between technological developments and economic forces, I believe that decision-makers are constantly pressured to future-proof organizations, drive innovation, build resilient architectures, and rethink operational efficiencies.
I’d like to share my thoughts based on my interactions with leaders at a recent roundtable discussion. Here are four pathways I recommend for driving business value.
- A Change-Enabled Mindset
Considering the rapid strides of change today, leaders prefer to use the phrase “forward-looking” instead of “future-proofing.” Harvard Business Review uses “future-readiness” that doubles as a source of resilience. A change-enabled mindset or the DNA of flexibility allows organizations to respond swiftly. For example, understanding the ROI of novel technology investments and integrating them into the existing models puts service providers ahead of the pack. A case in point I can think of would be the banking industry, which is known for its conservative stance and cautious approach to adopting novel technologies. Banks have started to adopt a change-enabled mindset, but there is still a long way to go. Strategic acquisitions with innovative fintech firms that have tested novel ideas would be the way for banks.
I believe that a change-enabled mindset that embraces changing consumer behaviors and patterns should be the common pathway toward future readiness.
- Percolating Innovation and Agility
From my experience, I’ve realized that innovation’s real value arises out of analyzing the Voice of the Customers (VOC)—i.e., what customers need. Inculcating an innovation culture is the secret code to translating out-of-the-box thinking into a fruition stage of real value. I suggest leaders to take the time to discuss with internal employees (customer support or digitization teams) to understand their readiness and acceptance of the change. Organizations must have an accelerator lounge to evaluate ideas and study competitors and market developments. Incorporating innovation into everyday operations is essential to stand apart. Three critical pillars for percolating a culture of innovation include:
- Understanding the realities or clients’ core challenges. Take the customer-first engineering approach.
- Tagging employees along the customer journey to infuse the latest ideas, and
- Inculcating an agile operational mindset across teams, so it becomes second nature to them.
What I’ve witnessed is that nimbleness has become the common thread across every industry and will be the critical success driver in managing the unknowns of today’s market. In today’s competitive market, agility is about operating like a garage boot-strap startup with limited funding, and one needs to earn the right to survive.
But what is agility and innovation without the right culture? Organizations need a culture that supports agile strategy, innovation, and the right technology to deliver customer value in today’s business landscape.
- Laying the Guardrails of EA
Forrester concurs that Enterprise Architecture (EA) is a critical capability to scale up operations and remain competitive over the long horizon. EA forms the digital spine of digital transformation. EA teams need to have an eye on the latest developments besides readiness to adapt and respond to challenging times. For example, bringing together the best-in-class modules so that services are customer-centric. The popularity of DevOps and microservices in recent years has proved this point. EA must be at the forefront of the discussion table with the teams. One size does not fit all customers, so being transparent about what works and what is practical is helpful.
From what I see in the shifts in the landscape, adapting for tomorrow is critical; hence, laying the guardrails of EA at the sandbox phase is an invaluable pathway for driving value.
- Value through Reimagining Operations
Gartner states that leaders can no longer take a slow, reactive approach toward building digital capabilities. Digitization is still evolving and will always be business as usual. For example, 4IR (4th Industrial Revolution) technologies provide a unique opportunity for organizations to reimagine operations. Though I see much innovation happening on the customer-facing front, a lot of it is happening at the back-end operations. Under the umbrella of digital transformation, leaders need to be strategic about approaching their solutions and process improvements—intelligent automation, platforming, re-platforming, or any combination of tools—and think through the use cases and ROI of projects. Embarking on massive digitization projects with huge investments is not for everyone. Leaders can consider incremental steps toward bolstering operational excellence through minimum acquisitions and faster delivery. The way forward is to leverage new-age technologies (automation, deep analytics, and AI/ML) for gleaning insights into customers’ intent. The company I work for is committed to helping clients drive value through a host of Digital Engineering Services (DES).
Considering what every industry underwent in the New Normal, the big question today is whether any organization can stay future-ready. I find that amidst the volatilities and headwinds in the market, one thing is certain: making strides along these sure pathways goes a long way toward driving business value.
Author: Syriac Joswin, Senior Vice President, Movate