Business reborn

How can you prepare for a new life as an organisation? What happens when business as usual doesn’t work anymore and you have to do something completely different?

For an individual person, this is not so unusual. Divorces, illness and work related factors could force a person to make huge changes to their lives and they usually manages in some way or another. But what about companies, can they handle huge changes?

First of all, the more consolidated and integrated your IT-systems are, the harder will it be to spin off a part. This is difficult, especially if you sell the division to another company. It’s doable as show by both Ford a few years ago and now recently Nokia. If you just cancel a product line, it’s simpler as you don’t do anything at all, but the consequence is that your IT-costs as percentage of business will rise substantially.

The other challenge is how to prepare for a something unknown as a start-up. It is little like going to college when you are middle-aged and your kids have moved from home. 

As a start-up, you have to iterate your business model really fast and change if needed. You can’t start a two-year program to build up something new, as the business opportunity will disappear faster than the sun during a Swedish summer. You need to be fast and flexible to do something new. This is when an enterprise architect can assist in building up new capabilities. 

The solution today is to rent cloud-services for everything from financial to sales and product development. Your business is not to build and maintain IT-systems. What’s important is that you could start using these cloud services at once. If you need to run a project for year to configure an ERP-system in the cloud is it to late. You have to go for standard processes, standard interfaces and standard information models to support your products & services and customers.

If in start-up mode, you will have more flexibility in manual processes than using configuring IT-systems. It’s very much dependent on volumes of different tasks, but this also sets demands on the level of skill for the staff. You may start with manual labour, but when the production ramps up, you automate the process. 

This start-up mentality also impacts the role of IT in the new organisation. If the company is a product or service based, then IT should be part of product development. If the company is sales oriented, then IT should be part of sales and marketing. There is no IT anymore, just business in one way or another.  

First published internally in Capgemini, September 2015.