We are witnessing a fresh acceleration of technological change which is affecting the established ground rules within companies and across industries alike. In this unpredictable scenario Big Data is set to play a key role.
How can Big Data be understood, how can companies deal with their impact, how might they affect society and governments, and how could they be managed to harness their potential benefits?
The technological revolution is rendering company and industry-wide structures obsolete, regardless of their success up to now. Business models must be rethought for a new setting that requires closer customer involvement, enhanced agility, and ongoing innovation.
People, Talent and Culture
The transformation of companies in step with technological and societal change is a task that has to be planned and carried out by people. Job quality must be enhanced in order to encourage innovation. However, making better use of high-quality resources calls for changes in working practices and culture. Collaboration becomes the driving force for the digital era—co-creating, co-working, sharing, co-designing, and co-thinking—in a diversity rich framework that fosters creativity.
One key factor of diversity is gender diversity. We must make the most of the inexorable shift towards different power relations among the genders, which is shaping new leadership styles and the rise of “soft power.” We also need diversity in professional and personal values and aspirations. Governments and—all the more so—companies should create a flexible work framework that accepts and encourages greater empowerment for individuals.
New Customers and Markets
Companies have two central concerns: their customers, and the markets in which they operate.
The changes we are seeing in customers—their requirements, and the technologies used to relate to them—are bringing about a radical transformation in sales and marketing functions.
In addition, market structures are changing in two fundamental ways. First, business is shifting towards emerging areas, which are becoming major markets and global competitors. Secondly, the ways in which companies create value are also changing. This means that business models must be redefined to adapt to new supply opportunities and new requirements in terms of demand and competition.
Workplaces and Cyberworkplaces
The need to generate higher quality, smarter, collaborative, flexible work, which brings enhanced satisfaction and a better work-life balance, has led to a revolution in working practices and management, embracing technology to develop new physical and/or virtual workplaces in keeping with these new demands.
Technology and the design of the working environment are employed to drive the shift towards a far more flexible and open collaborative working culture that encourages collective intelligence and nurtures innovation.
Leadership, Strategy and Management
Adapting the company to a radically changed environment in which production functions, distribution channels, customers, markets and human resources change, implies changing the way businesses are lead and managed.
Corporate governance must form a vision and strategy for change and provide a flexible, transparent framework: this way the entire organization can align itself with change, and the process can be properly directed. New structures must be created to support and encourage change while keeping the organization fully operational while the shift is under way.
This transformation process requires opening up the company to a wide range of stakeholders and to society at large, with a twofold goal: to set in motion an ongoing process of open innovation and to respond to the social demand of values, good practices, respect for the environment and sustainability.
Find out more about these and other keys of the companies of the future in the latest OpenMind book.