Shift Your Business & Rethink Data

August 28, 2020 Mark John Stewart

Like any crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic has been disruptive to companies and presented new challenges and opportunities. The impacts have not been consistent. As a result of the ‘new normal’, some organizations are thriving, while others have been negatively impacted given their existing business model or inability to pivot. Regardless of your situation, an event like this calls for a rapid evaluation of your current strategy and tactics.

While companies have instinctively addressed tactical considerations like managing cash flow and recalibrating workflows, those who are asking and responding to strategic questions are setting themselves up to succeed moving forward. In the September-October 2020 issue of Harvard Business Review, authors Michael G. Jacobides and Martin Reeves suggest looking at recent changes as boosts (temporary departures from existing trends), displacements (temporary new trends), catalysts (accelerations of existing trends), and innovations (new lasting trends). This is one method to consider which changes in the landscape are worth building around.

This isn’t the first disruption society and business have faced. Existing methods of looking at growth and opportunity are still excellent ways to create your future. You can expand by selling more of your current products to existing or new markets, or create new products for existing or new markets. An alternative method of surveying the landscape is Kim and Mauborgne’s Blue Ocean Strategy, which has been established as a powerful method for capturing uncontested market space and making the competition irrelevant  

One of the biggest shifts in business strategy in recent years has come from the commoditization of many products and services, and the resultant need to evolve to selling solutions. Retailing is an easy example – customers aren’t willing to pay more for the same thing they can get elsewhere for a better price, and online marketplaces have reduced the effort to acquire things. Thus, retailers, and most industries, need to figure out how they can offer a more nuanced, holistic, and often solution-oriented scope of products or services to clients.

Concurrently, strategy dictates that you need to be judicious about stopping activities that aren’t adding sufficient value. Resources and attention are always limited. Growth needs to be strategic and pruning is required along the way.

Any strategic evaluation requires taking some time away from working in your business to allocate to working on your business. This process can be a facilitated workshop with key organizational leaders to extract and organize institutional knowledge, which is then compiled into a robust report, including relevant research. This sets the base for making well-informed decisions about how to move forward and also resurfaces a sense of urgency around evolution.

As society and business look forward to an uncertain future, rapid and thoughtful adaptation has become not only a process, but also a skill set, and one that successful organizations are intentionally becoming proficient in.

A new report by Seagate also discusses why companies must find new ways to gain business value from a plethora of data being generated from the edge to the cloud. Every day, businesses prove that data holds tremendous value when captured, stored, and leveraged to its full extent—an increasingly difficult task in a rapidly changing multi-cloud, multi-edge world. The explosion in data creation, coupled with the increasing need to mobilize and analyze it at unprecedented volume and speed, provide a complex backdrop. Meanwhile, resource scarcity and technology limitations exacerbate enterprise pain points as IT architecture and data management practices evolve to capitalize on the enormous opportunity to put more data to work.

Join Seagate and Wentworth Strategy Group on a special webinar focused on offering frameworks and perspectives that will help you evolve your business model in the face of challenging economic circumstances and identify additional opportunities. This webinar is hosted by Mark John Stewart, lecturer in strategic management at McMaster University and Managing Director at Wentworth Strategy Group. Register now!

Learn more about Rethink Data: Put More of Your Business Data to Work — From Edge to Cloud.

About the Author

Mark John Stewart

Managing Director at Wentworth Strategy Group

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