Being a responsive enterprise may sound easy. It is not a marketing program, or a quick-fix process improvement initiative, or a sales training exercise to get salespeople to listen better. It amounts to a transformation—whether gradual or rapid—in the way that top managers think about their company, how they organize its business processes and IT, which opportunities in their markets they pursue and ignore, and much more.

In this issue, we focus on the core attributes of responsive enterprises, many of which have nothing to do with technology: a crystal-clear vision; the willingness (in fact, the desire) to shed received industry wisdom, especially about how the customer-facing functions of marketing, sales and service need to operate; effective mechanisms for detecting emerging technologies and their potential to disrupt the business model; and the organizational structure that allows a company’s internal mavericks to disrupt things effectively.

  • The Responsive Enterprise: Capitalizing on Disruptive Change
    To begin with, we highlight six elements that are common to responsive organizations. These provide a strong foundation that will enable companies to survive and even thrive in a sea change of technology, competition, and customer needs.
  • The New Mindsets of Marketing, Sales, and Service Executives
    Marketing, sales, and service leaders must internalize six key beliefs – in continual customer feedback, faster decision-making, cross-functional skills, the importance of digital channels, corporate transparency, and reliance on data – to enable customer-centric transformation.
  • Operational Changes for Customer-Facing Functions
    We highlight why an agile operations and delivery approach is essential. It requires an integrated strategy for IT, organizational change management, and business process redesign, which is focused on continuously applying data-driven insights to make operational changes.
  • Reinventing Innovation for a World of Continuous Market Feedback
    Social media allows digital customers to share their experiences instantly, with large audiences. Organizations can promote listening, externally and internally, by building elements such as new software platforms, cross-functional teams, better data analytics, and a culture of listening.
  • Reinventing the Supply Chain for a Digital World
    Supply chain management should evolve to respond faster, not just to black swan events but also to small, frequent changes. Companies need to manage supply chain data more frequently, at a more precise level. Data from the Internet of Things (IoT), advanced analytics, and simulation technologies can play important roles.
  • The Care and Feeding of Data Scientists
    Data science talent has become a competitive differentiator. We analyze three common organizational approaches for structuring the data science team and suggest how to identify the right one based on business goals.
  • A Cure for Complexity
    Across the globe, large companies are slimming down to compete against focused, efficient, and superfast competitors. We explore four core elements of business simplification: pruning the product portfolio, restructuring the operating model, boosting human capital performance, and redesigning the business partner ecosystem.
  • Preparing for Disruptive Competition
    Business model innovation is a strategic capability that is essential to manage the disruption caused by competitors with innovative, digital products and services. This requires strategic and cultural change, adequate funding, as well as ideas sourced from a ‘digital ecosystem’ of employees, customers, academia, and even competitors.
  • Shifting IT Delivery into High Speed
    To remain competitive, companies must be able to evaluate and implement rapidly evolving technologies exponentially faster than in the past. Traditional ‘waterfall’ or ‘two-speed IT’ approaches fall short and companies need to adopt a faster, agile approach for all systems development.
  • Sense and Respond: Finding the New Technologies that Really Matter
    The rapid expansion in technology companies and startups, and the impact of Social media, Mobile, Big Data and Analytics, Cloud Computing, and the Internet of Things has made it imperative for companies to identify technologies that can potentially improve or transform their business. A ‘sense and respond’ approach can help to rapidly identify, test, and implement successful technologies.
  • First Substantiation, Then Transformation
    Corporate transformations often fail when leaders do not adequately substantiate the need for change. This requires building an irrefutable argument supported by facts, providing positive motivation, communicating clearly internally, and learning from practices outside the industry.

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