Saying that the current business climate and market conditions are tough is about as much an understatement as saying a Banana Slug is not terribly fast. Making the right decisions too slowly or wrong decisions too quickly can have equally adverse outcomes.
In certain industries such as Retail, Travel, and Hospitality or for smaller businesses without the liquidity or significant credit lines, the COVID-19 pandemic has produced an epidemic of financial hardship, regardless of company size or industry. The only logical approach is to make the best decisions you can with the information you have. In other words, as Donald Rumsfeld would say: “You go to war with the army you have not the one you wish you had.” For today’s organizations, our armaments are IT and, one could argue, the higher the degree of digital transformation you’ve achieved, the more “Shock and Awe” you can project.
Under normal conditions, today’s Enterprise organizations have far more visibility into their business process, their employee’s skillsets, and the knowledge of their customers than ever. Automation, the commoditization of compute resources, the democratization of application access, and data sharing have made all but the smallest mom and pop shop far more agile than at any point in the past. But here’s the rub, all of the investment in IT for automation, the higher productivity and knowledge level of today’s workforce through the use of technology, the vast global supply chain, and specialized B2B ecosystems thrive on business certainty – disruption is a dirty word.
OK, maybe you think you like the word because you’re in the Tech Industry. But when we talk about disruption, we generally mean healthy technical progress, supplanting old, outdated technology in a pragmatic and programmatic fashion over months or years. Sorry Geeks (takes one to know one), Category Five Hurricanes and Tornados, Trade Wars and Shooting Wars, Political Unrest and – as we’re all experiencing now, Pandemics – are not healthy disruptions.
Consequently, our sizeable and sustained IT investments – our armories – are molded by the day-to-day business process requirements, honed over decades of feedback and adjustment to market conditions and a normal business landscape. In fact, even our feedback and adjustment to our business process, to customer engagement, training our workforce – pretty much everything – is performed within these constraints. The way we determine if our business outcomes are what we expected and IT was supportive stems from the way we use Business Intelligence, Visualization, and Reporting tools.
Natural and man-made disasters (yes combinations of them) generate market uncertainties. The business discontinuities they produce, in turn, create situations where any and everything in your business may need tweaking: customer engagement, supply chains, workforce management, credit risk assessment, and the list goes on.
Unfortunately, your normal closed and, dare I say, rigid feedback loops that you use for assessment aren’t up to the task because things are moving too fast, in ways that you have not seen before. Think bank loans from small businesses that don’t have loans from your bank or binge shopping for peanut butter in one zip code, but toilet paper in zip code – forget it – everywhere!
Collecting, aggregating, and analyzing the right data with speed and accuracy is difficult under these circumstances because your weapons portfolio is meant for doing conventional business – not crisis business. However, it’s under these circumstances that you need Real-Time Decision-Making (RTDM) Strategic Capabilities to navigate your business through the crisis.
Now, that I’ve got your attention, over the next few weeks, I hope you will read the rest of this six-part series where I will elaborate on and detail out a roadmap for Real-Time Decision-Making Strategic Capabilities:
- Why do you need Real-Time Decision-Making in times of market uncertainty, and what is it anyway?
- Should I leverage or leave behind my conventional IT systems I use for my day-to-day business?
- Cloud key to Real-Time Decision-Making – necessary but insufficient for Strategic Capabilities
- In periods of Market Uncertainty, organizations that are further along on their digital transformation maturity curves are better prepared to apply Real-Time Decision-Making.
- The Silver Lining of Real-Time Decision-Making in Periods of Market Uncertainty: Innovation