Changing times require different strategies, thinking and actions. Many IT companies in India have made things unnecessarily complicated. Instead of going to the core of the problem & addressing it most keep on identifying solutions on the surface. No wonder many companies have caught themselves only chasing new terminologies, jargon, technologies failing to make any significant impact and hence losing out on old & new clients.
Digital era has brought in significant change to IT world. Many successful companies have transformed themselves to adapt & adopt to the new reality. Yet there are many other companies that are still struggling to transform, because they aren’t ready to go beyond the traditional IT model.
To remain competitive, IT companies –Small and large need to understand & embrace the changing Business & Operating Model. Applying this in individual business context will make them carve out their niche, a differentiator and gain competitive advantage
Let’s consider few approaches that can help companies come up with different operating models suitable in their business and client context;
1. It’s Sprint, no more a marathon
Time to market has become extremely crucial in most cases. There is need to quickly bring in new innovative product or services to mitigate competition or eroding market share. In such cases the entire team has to be like a SWAT team, Navy seals or surgical strikers moving extremely fast and conducting the operation with precision. Companies will have to develop process for rapid assembly, team with diverse set of skills formed in a shortest time-frame and assimilation culture; these individuals must be able to quickly become productive working together for a common purpose.
2. Co-Creation with business
IT has moved out of silos, as far as systems, applications and product development is concerned. Most businesses have successfully merged their development & operations team to create agile model with continuous development and integration reducing the cycle time and iterations.
This model now needs to be extended further to integrate with business teams. In order to innovate fast they need to take risks, develop and test quickly and if they fail move on to next idea. This is possible only by closely working & tightly integrating with business team. Better communication, higher transparency and co-creation are the faster & better ways to come up with innovative products or services.
3. Heterogeneous teams
Few companies have started experimenting this. Blending freelancers with employees or contractors, assembling a team of not just software engineers, project managers with diverse IT skills but designers from Arts background working on UI/UX, content creators and other people with different experience profiles that can bring in the required diversity to foster innovation and creativity. Academic profile is no more becoming an entry barrier, it’s not what you have or have done in the past but what you can do now, immediately is what is becoming prominent.
4. High depth & breadth
Conventional consulting model is dead but the need of higher business & technology knowledge has increased exponentially. Clients today don’t want IT consultants to just provide advice or recommendations to their problems. They want the companies to also provide solutions. Companies therefore need to assemble a blended team of technology staff with higher business knowledge. The million dollar question; whether business has to learn IT or IT has to learn business, is no more relevant. It’s inevitable that we need people with both deeper business knowledge together with IT skills. Innovation needs depth and breadth of business & technology knowledge joining hands. Companies need to think how they can identify such individuals within or hire them to provide immediate exposure to further their skills, experience and benefit from it.
5. A house of Start-ups
Most companies by now had seen the start-up model through either working with them or incubating few start-ups. They would have realized, start-up is a mindset. It is all about having complete freedom to pursue one’s dream, to develop something that will solve a complex problem or address a gap or a customer need. Companies need to form internal Angels, Seeds & Ventures investing in individuals forming their own teams-internally or by hiring. Internal / open hackathons and similar events should culminate into getting the right teams to present their ideas and win the funds dedicated for innovations. It’s all about leadership readiness and mind set change.
IT leaders have a lot to unlearn, dropping their traditional approach and conventional thinking. As business models are changing and evolving they need to think of different operating models.
While the case in point apparently may seem to be applicable only to IT industry, today since every business is becoming an IT business; it’s applicable to almost every organization. Same operating models can be replicated / leveraged by other non-IT businesses to come up with innovative products and services; e.g. Banks to come up with new age fintech products & services.
In-Unison can help. We work with businesses to change mind set & transform leadership that thinks differently to come up with innovative business and operating models in context on their business.