onStrategy

essay

What is the way to the new 'normal' for organisations?

December 8, 2022
3 minutes

Strategy | Business Models | Tech

Almost ten years after the article “Software is eating the world“, Marc Andreessen returns with a simple message: it’s time to (re)build! The author reminds us that no state has been prepared to fight the pandemic effectively, but that the culprits should not be looked for in one party or the other because a society’s problems are always multi-causal and complex.

How can we get out of this situation? Simply put: by building. From roads, rail infrastructure, factories, and farms to products like the computer, the chip, the smartphone and the myriad of things that make our lives easier and that until now we have taken for granted.

I summarize below an action plan for a recovery from organizations and governments that can be implemented within six months.

 

A. Rethink all products and services in a strictly customer-oriented digital manner.

Step 1: Align the organization to the new digital priorities. This will also involve a recalibration/training effort for current employees to obtain the necessary skills. In some cases, external recruitment will be made to fill the skills gaps.

Step 2: Deliver products and services at the level of the best players in the market. For example, if I am a bank and I want to have an online-only product I would have to ask myself how many clicks does it take to get that product? 28 clicks like Revolut or 120 for another bank?

Step 3: Launch digital products/services no more than 180 days after the start of Step 1.

 

B. Using Artificial Intelligence to improve operations

Step 1: Assess the performance of critical systems in the organization. The key question is: can I decide by visualizing key information while commuting or in a cafe?

Step 2: Recalibration to current requirements like Intelligent automation (i.e. total automation of workflows through various combinations of several technologies such as RPA, Chatbots, Intelligent OCR), use of dashboards, etc. On the Robotic Process Automation side improvements can be both at company level, but also at individual level using dedicated software.

Step 3: Develop capabilities internally or with external help to operate the network created. Whether it will be called Center of Excellence or otherwise, the back-end team will work as business partners with the operations teams.

 

C. Selective upgrade of technology capabilities.

Step 1: Create a two-axis graph (urgent and benefit) as in the figure below, where the size of each circle represents the required budget associated with technology acquisition.

 


urgency x benefit assessment graph

Source: course material “Online Business Models” taught by the author at the International Master of Business Administration, FABIZ – ASE

 

The cost of technologies in quadrant A will have the highest priority but will also return the highest benefits. The prioritization of the quadrants will be done alphabetically: A, B, C and D.

Step 2: Move operations to the cloud. Everything must be a few clicks away accessible from any device, given that a vaccine against COVID-19 may never be developed.

Step 3: Think about staff recruitment and training from a digital perspective. At the World Economic Forum they presented what skills will be most in demand in the labor market in 2030. These include analytical and innovative thinking, active learning, programming, and complex problem solving.

 

D. Rethinking the organizational chart

Step 1: Audit how the organization makes decisions, adapts, and reacts to what is happening in the market. We are already seeing in many companies the complete disappearance of intermediate “layers” in organizations coupled with near-total standardization.

Step 2: Develop working models that combine effective remote teamwork. Burdening employees with endless video conferencing leads to accelerated fatigue, loss of focus and demotivation.

Step 3: Rethink the personal development plan for each employee. As I said above, each of us can be more effective by automating small tasks: reports in excel, marketing campaigns, emails automatically sent to clients, organization mode, etc.

 

E. Strategic leadership

The company’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) oversees communicating, promoting, supervising and making sure all A-D actions happen as planned.

Moreover, other key actions fall under the CEO’s action, such as: engaging and maintaining more than formal relations with the board of directors, dialogue with all stakeholders (e.g. authorities, associations, trade union, etc.), working with the business lines to achieve concrete results, assessing the relationship between objectives and the company’s actual performance and, last but not least, constantly updating what we call the Process Roadmap.

 

We already know that a lot of businesses have emerged from economic crises (e.g. Microsoft in 1975, Apple in 1975 and 2001, Netflix in 1997 or AirBnb in 2008) and that is why I believe that the current crisis is not only a test of survival, but a huge opportunity to reinvent and create what we all want: a Romanian Mittelstand or a local Silicon Valley.

 

Note! This article first appeared in Financial Newspaper (link)

 

Discover essays:

railway track layout

What is the way to the new ‘normal’ for organisations?

Almost ten years after the article “Software is eating the world“, Marc Andreessen returns with a simple message: it’s time to (re)build! The author reminds us that no state has been prepared to fight the pandemic effectively, but that the culprits should not be looked for in one party or (...)

Read more