A Communications Revolution is Happening – Will your business survive?
November 27, 2009 Leave a comment
NOTE: Pacific-Tier Communications invites guest bloggers to provide articles that would be of interest, and benefit to our readers. This week we are happy to introduce Mr. Andy Slater, CMO, Presence Networks.
‘‘The ‘Command and Control’ management style enjoyed by many CEOs in the past has gone. Today teamwork and collaboration are the norm. Leadership the accepted management style, people orientated collaboration the culture, people centric technology the facilitator.’’
We stand at a transition point in business. As the global economy starts to work its way out of recession CEO’s and management teams around the world are beginning to plan for growth. But they won’t do that by simply taking back into their businesses the bottom line costs they just spent 18 painful months getting rid of. The enlightened are looking for a new ways of working, how to unlock the people power in their organization in a secure and focused manner, to accelerate speed of decision making, reduce costs, and drive productivity.
Technology has been at the centre of social and industrial change since the printing press. Through history there have been transition points. The invention of the flying shuttle by John Kay heralded the start of the industrial revolution. The spread of democracy around the world can be traced to the invention of the telephone by Graham Bell and its adoption around the world. Suddenly totalitarian states could no longer constrain the flow of people’s ideas, information, and aspirations.
More recently mobile devices and the internet has accelerated the flow of information with images and video, so now international public opinion can be formed and galvanized by what were once isolated events. The video of student Neda Agha-Soltan’s shooting in Iran caught on a mobile phone started an outcry around the world which is still vocal today.
Social networking has become the norm for many who ‘tweet’ their way through the day sharing thoughts on everything, from the mildly interesting to the creative. The need to communicate is infectious and has a profound effect on the way we live – and work. Given a common cause, people power is unstoppable.
The ability of these new people networks has been recognized by business where the more enlightened maintain Online Brand protection programmes, write blogs, tweet, and endeavour to instigate viral campaigns to manipulate networks to their own advantage.
But is this relevant to business ?
A ‘company’ is called that simply because it is made up of people. How many companies say that their most valuable asset is their people? How true it is. Try running a railway without drivers or signal men, or running software development without programmers. People matter and leading managers recognize what’s happening in social networking can be harnessed to drive their businesses – people power, or business collaboration. Indeed, some would say it can’t be stopped – adapt or die.
The nature and culture of management in business has changed already. The ‘Command and Control’ management style enjoyed by many CEOs in the past has gone. Today teamwork and collaboration are the norm. Leadership the accepted management style, people orientated collaboration the culture, people centric technology the facilitator.
IT has to step up to this challenge to enable these new strategies – only if it can deliver business solutions, not just fancy names for the same technology, will it meet the true business need. Collaboration in the business environment is recognised as being one of the key tools CEO’s are looking at to drive productivity for the next decade – particularly if it can be delivered without complexity or capital investment.
To make the successful transition their vision has to be converted into a strategy. A strategy that addresses the three pillars of change – Culture, Technology and Process.
You can’t identify at the start of a shift in business culture all the business aspects that will be impacted, but you can describe the vision; a culture where information travels to the right people, any time, in any place, on any device. Where virtual teams form rapidly to solve business problems then dissolve just as quickly, without management intervention. No more ‘I sent an e-mail’ excuses but effective communication between empowered people.
The process of creating this culture needs to be led by a management that believes and demonstrates it through the way they act and how they communicate. The benefits are business processes that will be changed, new ones invented, and many scrapped. This is long term business development, a journey, not a light-switch change – but a revolution when looked back on from the future.
The technology to achieve this has to be invisible. People centric technology is intuitive, adopted because it engages its users, inspires and opens up new horizons. You know its right when your people can’t function without it.
Cloud Computing, Software-as-a-Service, and Unified Communications are all technical developments which alone do not deliver cultural change (except maybe in the IT department). These will be part of the solution, but are not the ‘end game’.
The application that runs in the world of the users, that gives them a real-time window on their business world, enables them to interact with people based on their availability, skills, interests and knowledge in a secure way, will be the deliverer of cultural change. This will be the application that grows productivity for businesses, for the next decade.