The Traditional Organization Is Dead — We Need To Get CollaborativeLili | May 31, 2019 | 0 | Traditional
There’s never been a more difficult time to make a business work–no matter what size or sector. With Brexit looming, geopolitics constantly up in the air, and economies still recovering from the crash of a decade ago, leaders are wondering how on earth they can ensure their business succeeds.
To make matters more complex, customers are demanding seamless digital experiences across the supply chain, retail, financial services, and even the public sector. Initially, this seemed an insurmountable challenge for businesses already pushed to the limit. But in reaction to changing customer demands and the growing needs of employees–who should be seen in parallel as internal customers–the barriers in business are breaking down. Focusing on both customer- and employee-centricity is transforming organizations around the world, inside and out.
Businesses running on old operating models won’t cut it anymore–the traditional organization is dead. Now is the birth of a new type of organization: customer-centric, connected, and collaborative.
Reacting to new customer demands
Customers have become more demanding than ever before. From banking to shopping, customers want immediacy, efficiency, and personalization–and businesses have to react. Fast.
Optimizing supply chains is one key way that businesses have changed in reaction to growing consumer needs. We’re seeing organizations around the world connect to enable mass personalization of products or 24/7 customer service. Technologies such as blockchain are enabling this interconnectivity without sacrificing on security or efficiency. And this isn’t the only impact of blockchain.
By ensuring traceability for products around the world, blockchain is making businesses more transparent and trustworthy for consumers who are beginning to care much more about where their products come from. Iceland’s recent “Rang-tan” Christmas campaign will now be the precedent for consumers coming together behind sustainable and ethical provenance of products.
A truly connected value chain means businesses can innovate more quickly and provide better–and more ethical–products and services to increasingly demanding customers. Consumers want to see brands walking the talk–and brands need to give customers what they want, when they want it.
Collaboration in and outside the organization
Organizations aren’t just reacting externally to manage pressure from consumers. Internally, businesses are transforming the way they work from the bottom up. Siloes are being scrapped, and business units that once ruled the roost are being dissolved forever, all in the name of “agility.” Buzzwords aside, this change is happening here and now.
Bringing departments together to react better to customer needs means businesses are building mixed-skill teams. For example, bringing engineering together with design, then drafting in data and consultancy teams means that businesses can understand the customer journey from beginning to end.
Even office spaces are being broken down and integrated, bringing different teams together physically as well as professionally. Advances in smart buildings and the creation of truly digital workplaces are enabling collaboration for businesses around the world, which has a huge impact on the experience of employees–and ultimately benefits customers too. After all, employees are internal customers, and having them on their side is the biggest asset a company can have.
Fostering this sense of collaboration goes beyond offices, projects and individual products. Ensuring interactivity and creating partnerships across the whole value chain is key for businesses to react more quickly to the market and to customer needs.
Looking for inspiration
We can look to some of the world’s biggest companies for examples of how innovative collaboration is already taking off. Google’s journey from search engine to tech behemoth was helped in no small part by breaking down barriers. From building innovation teams around Google Glass to jumping on the IoT train through its acquisition of Nest, Google is a classic example of blurring product lines and transforming far beyond a traditional service in order to grow and meet consumer demand.
Looking to tech giants might be daunting for smaller or more niche businesses–but frankly, you don’t need to be like Google or Amazon to beat out the competition (although taking a leaf out of their customer-centric book wouldn’t go amiss). The organizations that will succeed, regardless of size or funding, are those willing to crack collaboration inside their offices and out, from the back office to the shop floor and beyond.
Putting it into practice
In a challenging global landscape for businesses that shows no signs of slowing down, nailing your unique selling point is the key to success. But without maintaining customer satisfaction by focusing on collaboration, both inside and outside the organization and across the whole value chain, this competitive edge will go to waste. In times of uncertainty, customers and employees know what they want–and organizations must be ready to deliver.
The bottom line is that “success” as we know it has now changed. Now, it’s collaborate or die.