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Embracing the business models of tomorrow

By Geoff Flood Tech Advisory Leader – Atlantic Canada

From a technology perspective, we’ve accomplished more in the last 12 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.


  • Your organization’s future depends on your ability to tie your core business to emerging technologies.
  • Embracing technology can change your business model going forward and help you differentiate from competitors.
  • The traditional corporate hierarchy is fading. Look critically at empowering your people and ensure they have ways to communicate their ideas to leadership.

Acceleration in digital transformation is increasing, and companies are looking at technology with more urgency than ever. Most technology investments are now firmly in support of achieving the strategic goals of the organization. At the same time, having almost everyone on-line has delivered a sea change in areas like e-commerce and direct-to-consumer selling and communication. Productivity has changed too. The lack of a two-hour commute every day and the opportunity to have more flexible working arrangements has had a positive effect overall from an output perspective and likely on the quality of work.

Today, digital and corporate strategies are synonymous. Companies must constantly examine the validity of their core business and how digital technology is transforming the competitive landscape. Without exception, companies need to assess their technological and digital sophistication and look for ways to restructure or modernize their delivery of products and services and methods of managing customer relationships.

The competitive advantage

Traditionally, improved efficiency and cost savings were the key drivers for technology investment. That will continue to be important. But now it’s all about investing in technology for competitive advantage and, in the more acute case, survival. There is now general acceptance that globalization has permanently changed the competitive dynamic. Our competitors exist everywhere, not just in the narrowly-defined areas that we are used to, but in every sector.

A totally different mindset is required to succeed. The main determinant in investment decision-making is to consider what business model is going to work in the years ahead. Organizations need to be aggressively forward-looking to identify future risks and opportunities and to differentiate their offerings appropriately.

The notion of the data-driven organization is a reality. The increase in the use of tools like artificial intelligence, robotics, and machine learning needs to be supported with an accompanying increase in digital literacy in the workforce.

Supercharged business models

We’ve heard for years about the flattening of organizational structures and the increasing participative nature of organizations. And now, idea sharing is moving faster than ever. The new imperative is to surface the best ideas and to act quickly, decisively and with agility. This reality requires a different kind of organization — an organization that demands leadership focuses on putting strategy out in front and enabling its team to act in concert. Leaders have to free people to make decisions at every level of the organization. This would have been unimaginable in the hierarchical business world of the past.

For all these good ideas to surface, you also need to imbue your workforce with a shared vision for the organization. You need to have the best people working for you and you need to maximize communication across all channels to take advantage of their brilliance. The composition of the workforce is changing, and companies are looking at rescaling or improving the mix in their workplace daily. The status quo won’t cut it in this new age. Agility and nimbleness and ultimately success depends on your ability to raise the emotional and intellectual capacity of the entire organization.

And you need to look internationally to source talent. Being global in your recruitment and employment activities is now a necessity. Successful businesses will be the ones who find a way to tap into more talent and employ more flexible working arrangements to their benefit.

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