CE0 concerns : network driven business models

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What are CxOs real concerns ? How do they undertsand current issues ? Lots of people are talking about the need for companies to change in order to evolve in the context that is theirs now but it supposes the “information” has reached the highest decision makers and that they really understand what it’s about if we want things to slowly happen.

It would be very usefull for all the people who are “pushing” ideas and evangelizing to know the gap (if any) between their ideas and what CEOs really think.

Fortunately the work was done by PriceWaterhouseCoopers in its 11th “CEO Survey”, titled : “Compete and Collaborate : What is Success in a Connected World”.

One year after predicting that three main trends will impact enterprises (Globalization, connectivity, communities), PWC follows the same way and focuses on the way business models will evolve and, most of all, on the way to create value with employees but also with competitors. With an underlying question : is building business networks a prerequisite to create value in today’s economy ?

Said in practical terms, companies are torn between two forces : collaboraton and collective actions in the one hand, competition and individualism in the other hand. The whole while considering the impact of a strengthened collaboration on power diffusion and control loss by management.

The report being freely downloadable, I’ll only focus on a few points.

1°) Current context

• New growth levers will be agility, talent and technology

• The downturn will bring many opportunities for mergers.

• An interconnected world is more exposed to risk but also offers much more opportunities

2°) Impact on business models

• Companies say their people are more important than ever but they still don’t translate it in concrete facts.

• Middle and junior management weakness is a real barrier to change

• In order to face this block, companies have to involve employees in the change process, build connected organization, develop people continuously, make people accountable at every level and make change become the norm.

• The HR function will have to work in front line, besides top management in order to drive change and not only being a support.

• Companies know of to collaborate on an opportunistic basis. But they still can’t “industrialize” that and learn from their experience. Opportunistic collaboration does not have to be an exception anymore but an organizational principle.

• Higer productivity will only be reached through new communication technologies, global networks and innovative management.

• Networks that were only use to transfer knowledge in a small perimeter will have to be deployed to deal with wider strategic issues; both internally (employess) and externally (partners,cliens…)

3°) Conclusion

• Growth must be responsible

• Defining the conditions for a long term success with clients is essentials. Short term objectives are not enough anymore.

• To make collaboration efficient, the objectives, the operating modes must be redefined, involving all the stakeholders?

PS : not a word on enterprise 2.0 : the evidence that the work around the concept has ended and the time of implementation has come. Lucky we are, it’s on CEOs agendas !