At Everest Group, we’ve been studying the reason behind the disappointing phenomenon of powerful new disruptive technologies achieving only modest, incremental benefits instead of their promised performance breakthroughs. In my recent blogs, we’ve looked at whether the fault could be due to hype or immaturity of the technologies, whether it might be a lack of talent or whether there is an inherent conflict of interest in companies’ incumbent ecosystem. Not one of those things is sufficient to explain why we’re not getting the breakthrough in performance that is ripe for the taking if we can get there. We think all of these factors may contribute to the phenomenon; but these factors don’t seem to be powerful enough to prevent the breakthroughs.
We think a missing ingredient is the organization. When companies implement these new technologies, they must also change the fundamental organization.
At the moment, these technologies tend to be implemented to save costs, whereas the change in performance is far more than cost savings. It has to do with customer experience and cycle time. Although cost is often reduced, that is a byproduct of the greater performance that is generated.
As the buyer of the new technologies, the remedy is to be willing to step back and understand that you have to create a new strategic intent. That intent must focus on performance. It also requires a willingness to address the organizational dynamics. Whenever you digitize a workforce or you embed analytics into it, this affects how you organize work. So often we see people attempting to bring in tools but just adding them to the existing organization. That doesn’t work.
Fundamentally, to get a performance breakthrough, you have to rework your organization. Doing that means significant change across all the pieces. Along with creating a new strategic intent, you have to change your organization, your ecosystem, your technologies and your talent. All of those components have to come together and focus on the promised improvement you’re seeking. Only then will you get the step change performance. If you do them individually or only partially, you’ll only get is more of the same. You’ll get a better status quo, not a changed status quo.