because we can. We’re now able to use these new
technologies to access, sort and gain meaningful
insight and change from our masses of data which
we couldn’t do in the past. The fact that these
new technologies are coming together at the same
time, whether it’s IoT, blockchain, together with
things like AI. It’s the convergence of these varied
technologies and what we can do with workflows
that’s creating a dramatic step-change in what you
can do. You’re not working around the edges, this is
not Lean Six Sigma, this is a 30 to 40 percent shift
in either cost or value.
Consulting: What would you say are the biggest risks
Foster: Because everybody’s trying to do it, there
are going to be winners and losers. We’re very
much in a platform battle world. Whether that’s
a platform battle within an industry to see which
platforms come out on top, but also to recognize
there’s also the opportunity for the adjacency
of other platforms around you that will create
another battleground of people coming into your
industry from somewhere nearby. Telco is trying
to become mobility platforms, squeezing the roles
that motor companies might play in that ecosystem.
I think the big risks are that it’s going to
be difficult, and that it’s not on the edges of
organizations. It’s about changing the core. It’s
about trying to embed and create these platforms
while you’re continuing to deliver on your legacy
business. To me, that’s quite a big thing on a risk
front. Another risk is you might also pick the
wrong thing to be your source of differentiation.
You may find your data isn’t differentiated enough,
that your workflows and the IP and what you can
do around them doesn’t set you apart, traditionally.
Or, perhaps most importantly to the CEOs we spoke
to, culturally, your people, your workforce, can’t
reskill themselves fast enough to take advantage of
this opportunity. Those are the things on the risk
side people have to work their way through.
Consulting: How would you say this is transforming
the fundamental idea of the business model as we
Foster: I think we’re in the early days of seeing
business models shifting this way, but clearly
what it will mean is the old way we’ve organized
ourselves in functional silos or geographic models,
etc. may be shifting again. If you started to organize
yourself around a platform that might cut across
end-to-end workflow across your business you want
to differentiate yourself around, it would make for
more process-centric organizations, cross-functional
process centric organizations would start to emerge.
Because technology becomes the business rather
than enabling the business in this world, how you
interface between technology and the business
shifts, how you operate these platforms, and how
you build them, starts to have dramatic impacts on
how you govern change in an organization.
PERHAPS MOST IMPORTANTLY
TO THE CEOS WE SPOKE TO,
CULTURALLY, YOUR PEOPLE,
YOUR WORKFORCE, CAN’T
RESKILL THEMSELVES FAST
ENOUGH TO TAKE ADVANTAGE
OF THIS OPPORTUNITY.