Disrupt or be Disrupted
By design or by default – one way or another – the pressure for businesses to transform and adjust to new realities is intense. Massive organizations that are built around hierarchical structures, linear processes and owning and controlling assets, information and talent are ripe for disruption.
Consider What has Already Changed:
The hotel industry vs. Airbnb; banking vs. the world’s largest mobile money platform M-Pesa; movie theatres transforming from simply distributing content to creating a fuller audience experience.
Small and medium sized-enterprises (SMEs) are well poised to leap-frog large companies into the future state of work. They are already under significant pressure to think and organize differently. Creatively leveraging alternate business models, adopting accelerating technologies and organizing into unconventional workplaces is not just an opportunity it is becoming a necessity. On the other hand, SMEs that are hanging onto old structures and business models that replicate what big companies do, but with fewer resources, are in the most danger of becoming irrelevant.
The expectations of members, clients or consumers is intensifying: they are demanding value in the services or products they need or want and in the way they want to experience and use them. This change represents opportunities for the bold organizations and threats to those digging in their heels and conforming to the past.
What is Driving Change?
The growth of SaaS platforms designed for SMEs are automating business processes with cloud-based systems, priced through affordable subscription models. The emergence of engagement technologies that link external resources directly to organizations and their products and services is significant. Topcoder’s crowdsourcing platform connects developers around the world to work on projects for organizations like Harvard Medical School, Google and IBM. Crowdsourced idea-management platforms connect organizations with their partners, customers or members who can participate in idea generation and collaborate on solutions. AI introduces opportunities to take on routine tasks or process large amounts of data.
With an aging population, increased competition for talent, and values shifting towards balanced lifestyles – employees are making more intentional choices in how they will work, the type of employer they will work for and seeking out purpose-based organizations.
New Business service models are proliferating with virtual teams of CFOs, HR, Marketing bringing experienced talent to organizations in just the right amount and the emergence of co-location spaces allow smaller organizations to share and create economies of scale.
There are smaller pots of funding and more competition for those funds in addition to limitations on how these dollars are spent. Stakeholders including members, customers, shareholders are looking for clear and distinctive value. Boards have increased expectations around transparency, accountability and reporting.
Change is Inevitable
Predictions are that 80-90% of the economy is susceptible to disruption. SMEs have an excellent opportunity to leverage some of the features of best in class future organizations and accelerate their performance. Change is inevitable and the opportunities for SMEs are great for those who choose to disrupt rather than be disrupted.
About the Author
Margo Crawford is the President, CEO and founder of the Business Sherpa Group where she has been involved with over 50 companies throughout North America from formation stage through to sale. Margo is a recognized thought leader in the area of human resources and entrepreneurship, and is passionate about the long term success of small and mid sized enterprises.