MNP Business Insights

The Business Model for Tomorrow: Empowering People

June 14, 2021
Presented by:

An interview with Geoff Flood, MNP, Tech Advisory Leader – Atlantic Canada

Opportunities Lie with Digitalization

There are lots of facts and lots of opinions, but COVID is an opportunity to make change. At the end of it, I think it will all be good. It’s forced us to think differently, and that’s a positive. From a technology domain, we’ve accomplished more in the last 12 months or the last three months or the last six months than we did in the last five years. The acceleration in digitalization – by necessity – in operations and services has been extraordinary. The notion of long-term strategic planning has taken a back seat to a different tactic: digitalization. Digital is part of every business and every strategy.

Accessing Talent

We’ve had this skill shortage before this pandemic happened, but now we have broadened our horizons in terms of access to talent. The notion of being global in your recruitment and employment activities is easily accepted. It will take some time to work sort itself out, but out of necessity, we figured out a way to tap into more talent. I think that universities and colleges are moving quickly to help with talent development. They have their own challenges with regard to instruction, but they’ve moved online fairly expeditiously, and I give them full marks.

The Power of Automation

There is an acceleration in digital transformation, and companies are looking at technology with more urgency than they were before. Their technology investments are now in support of their strategy, but there is a sea change in some other areas, like ecommerce and in direct-to- consumer selling and communication. It’s facilitated by the fact that everybody is online. This is not necessarily related to that, but productivity has changed too. The lack of a two-hour commute every day and the opportunity to work 12 hours a day online have probably had a positive effect overall, at least from an output perspective.

Digital Audits

Today, digital and corporate strategies are synonymous – they are one and the same. Companies have to figure out what their core business is and how digital technology is going to support it. Companies need to review their technology and digital infrastructure and look for ways to restructure or reposition themselves when it comes to new ways of delivering service and products.

The Competitive Advantage

The driver behind technology investment up until recently has been cost savings, and that will continue to be the case. But now, it’s all about investing in technology for competitive advantage. There is a general understanding that we are in a global market and that our competitors exist everywhere, not just in the sectors that we play in, but in every sector. It’s a totally different mindset, so a key driver for investment is to think about how your business model is going to work in the years ahead. Companies need to look to into their crystal ball to see what they can do to differentiate themselves.

AI and Robotics in Manufacturing

There is a huge level of activity in artificial intelligence, robotics and machine learning. Every manufacturer needs to understand the benefits of these technologies and the multiple, creative opportunities to employ sensor technology in their operations. As well as to augment that with advanced analytics.

Business Models on Steroids

We’ve talked for years about the flattening of organizational structures, increasing collaboration and the participatory nature of organizations. Today, idea sharing is on steroids. Now, it’s about the best ideas being acted on and floating to the top, and that requires a different kind of organization – an organization that demands leadership that focuses on putting the organization’s vision out there to enable its troops to act accordingly. Leaders today have to empower people to make decisions that we never would have imagined 10 years ago in the hierarchical business world that we come from.

Empower Your People

For all these good ideas to surface, you need to empower your people – you need to enable your people to be heard and you need to have the best people working for you. Workforces are changing and companies are looking at rescaling or improving the mix in their workplace. You can’t accept the status quo anymore. You are not going to be nimble enough and agile enough to change if you don’t have people who can think outside of the old structures that we’ve been used to.

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