Overcoming the eight forces working against your business

How organisations think about them will determine if they succeed or fail.

Organisations today are different than they were five years ago. Their teams are global and virtual. Millennials make up more than half of the workforce, creating unprecedented generational shifts within companies worldwide. Last, but not least, customers, users, partners, and suppliers are demanding new and innovative products and services, and executive management is responsible for setting strategic plans to deliver. 

These factors have created a complex environment which is both an issue as well as an opportunity for business growth.  In response, organisations within every industry have embarked on the road to digitisation, speeding up the pace of innovation – and disruption. CEOs have realised that if their companies don’t stay ahead of the times, they are doomed to failure. 

In fact, with 50 per cent of CEOs believing that their industries will be almost unrecognisable within five years, and 41 per cent expect to be running significantly transformed companies within that time. They are using the full creative weight of their people to stretch what technology can do for them, creating disruptive products and services, delivering on their strategies to increase their brand footprint and delight their customers. How did they get there, and how can you?  

Organisations have fundamentally shifted the way they think and found a way to seamlessly translate strategy into execution. Just as importantly, they have found a way to overcome the challenges that could potentially threaten their business, and have turned them into opportunities. 

There are eight forces currently working against organisations. How they think about them will determine if they succeed:

  • Outcomes are different. What matters to the market, to organisational leadership, and to teams, is the end products and services companies deliver in support of their strategy. Organisations must understand the applications, technologies, services, solutions, products, and other essentials they need, and harness expertise from every area to achieve their strategic deliverables.
  • Capabilities must be strategic. Organisations must understand which business capabilities advance their overall goals and strategies as well as identify, prioritise, and deliver new ones that drive profit. Companies cannot afford to waste time on a particular ability or capacity that does not help the business achieve a strategic purpose or outcome.
  • Work methodologies are proliferating. Organisations are using a wide range of methodologies in order to achieve business goals, and it is critical that they understand how each one impacts the organisation and its strategic objectives. Technology has to empower its users while allowing organisations to understand and track progress.
  • Unstructured work is exploding. The largest body of work in any organisation is the day-to-day, unstructured work that employees do both individually and in teams, including everything from tasks to meetings to communications. The opportunity is to capture teams’ outputs and integrate them into the portfolio for an end-to-end view of who’s doing what, when, and why.
  • Plans are even more critical. As organisations increase speed and agility, it’s crucial that they have a plan to keep everyone on track. Without a clear, communicated plan, employees could unwittingly be making countless decisions every day that work against strategy. Instead, organisations should think beyond the rigidity of an annual plan to continuous planning on a quarterly, monthly, and even weekly basis, with the ability to communicate changes and contingencies to adapt to changes.
  • Teams are virtual and global. A recent Projectplace survey revealed that business professionals waste nine work weeks per year in productivity time trying to collaborate across different organisations, geographies, and toolsets. Putting in place adequate communication tools is vital. How organisations leverage their global, multicultural, and multigenerational teams will determine by how much they succeed or fail.
  • Technology is everywhere. Businesses are frantically analysing their marketplaces and determining how to incorporate technology into everything they do. While it’s generally acknowledged that IT no longer owns technology innovation, there is still a tremendous opportunity for IT lead digital transformation initiatives and partner with business units in these efforts.
  • Resources are multiplying. Organisations do not just manage people and finances anymore. They must account for Resources (capital “R”) that encompass virtual teams, technology, locations, assets, smart, connected gadgets that make up the “Internet of Things” and much more.

The road ahead

Without a way to harness all these work and resource elements strategically in support of an organisation’s goals, the result will be inefficiency, stagnation, and even chaos. Organisations have traditionally turned to the Project Portfolio Management (PPM) approach to help people and projects deliver strategy. However, traditional PPM doesn’t consider the many ways that people are currently working in organisations, or the resources available.    

To compete in today’s dynamic, competitive marketplaces, organisations need to adopt a new way of thinking. Enter Work and Resource Management, a comprehensive category of technology capabilities that address a broader set of work and resource challenges. It includes PPM, but goes much further to address the business and organisational factors in today’s environment. WRM serves rapid unstructured work as well as strategic planning and aligning resources to deliver upon the strategy. 

Without such an approach, according to Ventana Research, “organisations increasingly will find themselves without the ability to act and respond as needed, and will find themselves unable to ensure the changes and continuous optimisation that is needed to achieve the level of results required in the timeframe expected.”  

Once organisations understand the work and resources they need to manage, they will be able to overcome the eight forces working against them, better navigating complex environments, increasing their efficiency and innovating faster – ultimately unlocking their full potential and the secret to business growth.

Patrick Tickle, Chief Product Officer at Planview