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Neo Business: How Enterprises Must React to Social, Economic and Environmental Change

What can be considered a ‘transformed’ business has changed significantly. Organisations must consider a plethora of concerns, from customer demands, social issues, environmental concerns to changing relationships with commercial partners, and this symbiotic relationship with the global societal fabric means a new reality for business transformation grounded in collaboration, wellbeing and education.

01 June 2021 • 4 min read

The pandemic has radically altered how businesses now approach their digital transformation roadmaps. Indeed, research from Pluralsight indicates that nearly half (47%) of CIOs state the pandemic has permanently accelerated their digital transformation and their adoption of new technologies.

Over the last year, a shift has taken place that is challenging businesses to approach every aspect of their enterprise differently. Before, businesses had expanded their use of IT and considered their company “transformed”. Today, their customers’ changing demands, social issues, environmental concerns and changing relationships with commercial partners impact what it means to do business today.

Businesses have been guilty of not being excellent listeners. Products and services were created and sold with some customer feedback, but this input made very little practical difference to the company itself. Its workers, management, and the broader connections across its supply chain, often didn’t factor into the overall strategic planning of the business.

Your company now has a symbiotic relationship with the global societal fabric that directly influences how enterprises behave. Where companies would leverage the technology they had deployed to gain market share, digitisation today is about changing a company’s culture to ensure it’s fit to thrive post pandemic.

A shift has taken place over the last year that is challenging businesses to take a different approach to every aspect of their enterprise.

At NTT DATA, we see a clear trend as businesses re-assess their products and services and the culture within their companies. For me, change and business evolution is more about looking outward to see how a company’s customers and commercial partners have changed. Learning from these changes is the foundation for new business processes, relationships, and, ultimately, next-generation customers.

Power transfer

At no other time in history have consumers had so much power over the businesses and brands they covet. At the same time, the speed of change is accelerating unabated. Enterprises can see how their industries and sectors are transforming.

A significant component of this transformation is how their customers challenge them to become different businesses – companies that place sustainability, equal opportunities, environmental protection and purpose (as well as profit) at their core.

Experience-by-design is now a core driver for all businesses. Adobe found in their tech trends report that 51% of executives intend to increase their customer experience (CX) spending. This isn’t surprising, as many of NTT DATA’s clients come to us with a brief to understand CX in the context of their business and how it can be improved with technology.

It is critical, though, to avoid thinking of this as a purely technical solution. CX may have a foundation of technology, but it’s how these tools are used that defines their success. Consumers now have massive influential power. Understanding their motivations and meeting their expectations is where a cultural shift within a company is needed.

We advocate democratisation of data, of a workforce, of processes, and collaboration with customers and clients. Value generation is now in the hands of all these stakeholders. Future-facing enterprises realise this and strive to make each of these components integrate into a company that functions efficiently yet also creates vibrant environments for change and innovation.

Reducing “tech debt”

Enterprises rapidly remade their companies to survive Covid-19. In the aftermath, many now suffer from high levels of tech debt. Reducing this debt to become a new form of company that is agile and listens to its customers and partners is the key to long-term prosperity.

IDC stated that closely considering the technical fallout from the pandemic should be a priority: “Through 2023, coping with technical debt accumulated during the pandemic will shadow 70% of CIOs, causing financial stress, inertial drag on IT agility, and ‘forced march’ migrations to the cloud. Smart CIOs will look for opportunities to design next-generation digital platforms that modernise and rationalise infrastructure and applications while delivering flexible capabilities to create and deliver new products, services, and experiences to workers and customers.”

Your company now has a symbiotic relationship with the global societal fabric that directly influences how enterprises behave.

Technology can be a great enabler, but it’s only the beginning. I often speak with NTT DATA’s clients who are searching for a solution. The reality is that they are looking to make what can often be massive transformative changes to their enterprises, yet these changes are not achievable with a technical solution on its own.

Here, technology and culture are closely related. CIOs, CTOs, and CEOs are working closer together than they ever have. They realise the multiple pressure points on their businesses can only be relieved by a multifaceted approach to change – a change that can often be radical.

The new reality

Has the commercial imperative disappeared? Not entirely, though it is certainly tempered by a new kind of relationship with profit. Business transformation is now about collaboration, wellbeing, education and a new way to use the digital tools that have emerged from the pandemic.

New ecosystems are rapidly developing that place the customer at the hub where all other products and services orbit. And businesses are pivoting at speed to become new enterprises that are more crisis resilient and use technologies in new ways.

A new technology agenda is coming into focus. NTT DATA has witnessed the disruption the pandemic has bought across all industries and sectors. “Technology first” became an entrenched mantra. Today, this view has moved to one of closer communications with customers and partners as business leaders realise their investments in purely technical solutions are no longer valid.

Couple technology with the massive changes that have taken place across customer relations, workforce organisation, environmental pressures, and the unending drive to digitise. Business leaders can see they need a new agile culture with unique methods and practices to meet the demands of this brave new world.

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