We all know the industrial-era has shifted to a knowledge era. So, why do a lot of organisations still behave in the old fashion way? These days we are living in a more volatile society with an almost unpredictable economy. Still organisations are producing and delivering according their good old business model. This is reality: networking capability, software systems that have little supply chain to manage, and global open source platforms innovating around customer problems in real time. Traditional business models are becoming more and more ineffective at driving business results. Why has the greater part not followed the transition yet?
Keeping up with innovation
It seems the greater part is not really working on how their value chain should change in order to follow todays innovation developments. The world is virtually getting smaller due to connectivity. For a customer it doesn’t matter where he or she orders a product, as long as it meets all demands and will be delivered on time.
The changes in user behaviour and the associated value propositions have been significant. This results in power shifts between industries. Take books for instance. Not only can we order books online, we can read them on screen, either in your browser in pdf format or with an e-reader. This influences the production and distribution of books. It changes user experience. Whether you – on a personal level – think it is an enhancement or not, it has changed this industry enormously.
This is how today’s business works. We have to deal with differentiated end-user experience, integrated user services, sustainability and testing in virtual worlds. We need to worry about enhancing the user experience with our customers’ values in the back of our minds. Yes, here it is again: customer centricity in a sustainable world.
So, if we need to change our behaviour anyway in order to keep up with society, why not change into an economic community, an ecosystem? This economic community produces goods and develops services of value to customers, who are themselves members of this ecosystem. We should in fact treat the ecosystem as part of our supply chain. But the cycle doesn’t start there. A preceding phase of production is research, one step before that is education. Actually, education is a continuous process and a major priority. So, such an ecosystem requires a totally different behaviour within a community.
Change behaviour across the supply chain
You can give up on solo’s, an business ecosystem is a team sport. An ecosystem requires a community supported by a foundation of interacting organisations and individuals in the business world. Supporters in this ecosystem include for example suppliers, competitors, producers, government and educational institutions. In the knowledge-era economy companies can only be effective if they implement new business models that address the evolving customer values. When dealing with all these parties (supporters), such models should also entail an improved process of managing contracts, one that endorses the importance of relationship management.
Capabilities and roles set the directions for all supporters in the ecosystem. That’s how your company can acquire leadership roles – or not. That’s a choice that you need to make. Where do you want to be in this ecosystem?
When you develop an agile value chain and innovative business model, you can become one of the ecosystem leaders; purely based on how you are valued by the community. You become highly valuable when you enable supporters to move toward. If you succeed in creating shared visions, aligned investments, co-created research and mutually supportive roles, supporters become loyal members. Than you can truly rely on the power of a community.
Now all you need are ambassadors. For this you need your employees and customers. In that order. You will never earn your customers’ trust and never meet their demands without the dedication of your organisation’s ‘friendly face’, your workforce.
Culture is key in behaviour
So how do you change your business model across your value chain in order to be a keystone or niche player in this ecosystem? How to do this in a human way, so you can make ambassadors of your employees?
Social networks are excellent to transform enormous amounts of data into useful information. For internal communication purposes this could also work very effectively. Your workforce could evolve from simple collaboration into a hub of information. What is your HR going to do with that?