Over the last few decades, the business ecosystem has changed rapidly. Earlier, the key drivers for setting up a business were resource availability, government benefits or regulatory frameworks. Now, businesses have to take into consideration two more drivers: Globalisation and technology. Technological advances such as Mobility, Robotic Manufacturing, Internet ofThings, Machine to Machine Communication and Intelligent Automation are all changing the ecosystem for businesses across sectors in a major way. Even the government is striving to create a cashless society by promoting digital initiatives in a big way such as urging people to use mobile and internet banking, opening up new avenues for digital transactions such as Unified Payment Interface and increasing the access of technology and connectivity to rural areas.
It is not just the businesses, but the customer has also changed. The customer is now mobile and social. Since he has access to multiple options, he can be both the influencer and also influence others. While the customer is impatient, he seeks immediate attention. This is the Age of the Customer and the only way to survive in this Age of the Customer is to deliver your business fast and seamlessly across all channels. For this, businesses to exist they need to undergo digital transformation. I have been speaking to entrepreneurs to get a sense of how they see businesses evolving in this digital world and they were unanimous about one thing—it requires transformational leadership.
Need for transformational leadership
“Every country needs a Minister of the Future,” said Saleforce’s founder and CEO Marc Benioff.
A leader must be able to visualize and drive the change. Technology has changed the perspective of customers radically. They changed before the organisations and now are pushing businesses to reflect the changing times as well. Their expectations have changed and they don’t want to deal with legacy-old systems and that is putting pressure on organisations.
Even employees research the company online before they join. They no longer want to work in an old-fashioned manner, and if they do they will quit when they find a better job. These days, you can have an office anywhere. Companies can’t just pursue brick-and-mortar strategies; they will also need to go online. Uber disrupted the consumer consciousness with their online strategy and more businesses are going down that path. Organisations are now being forced to deal with the changing customer and employees. Earlier, it was easier to identify the competition. That has changed as disruptions come in a wide variety of forms. They have to transform and this is where leadership is important.
According to a report from MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte University Press, nearly 90% of business executives, managers and analysts from around the globe say they anticipate their industries will be moderately or greatly disrupted by digital trends. Only 44% believe their organization is adequately preparing for this digital disruption.
A leader has to be aware of such disruptions and encourage their company culture to actively take risk and be more agile. They need to ensure that the company’s overall strategy is in line with the company’s overall strategy. Such leaders are likely to take more data-driven decisions rather than relying on instinct. They plan to disrupt rather than be disrupted.