The importance of knowing where you are now and where you are going

A key element of taking a rapid, but well thought out approach to responding to disruption, is knowing where your business is right now. Without this, it is extremely hard to plan where you want it to go. Time and again, we see organisations which have tried to tried to adopt an entirely new business strategy, without first checking their business model is fit for purpose. It cannot be stressed enough how vital it is to align strategic intent with your operational model.

The first step here is to conduct an audit of existing technology, systems and processes. Many businesses are likely to have multiple systems in place, which are not being utilised properly. By closely examining the way systems, processes, tools and data presently connect (or fail to connect as the case may be), organisations can gather a clearer idea of where their strengths – and perhaps more importantly – their weaknesses lie.

Having an in-depth awareness of current capabilities and position in the market can then help inform an overarching business strategy. While it is important for this strategy to be informed by internal factors such as an organisation’s current capabilities, it is absolutely vital that it is also based on external factors. Businesses need to ensure they pay close attention to what their customers are doing, and what their current and future wants and needs will be as well as closely watching the direction the market as a whole is taking.

By developing a well thought out and informed strategy and resolutely following it through, businesses can avoid falling into the trap of taking knee jerk reactions to change, or being distracted by the latest ‘buzzwords’ in their market. That is not to say that organisations should ignore innovations or new technologies that are on the horizon, in fact the very opposite is true. Smart businesses will constantly investigate and evaluate new technology, they just won’t get distracted by it and will only invest in new tech when they have a clear idea of the specific challenge they want it to solve and what they plan to achieve with it.

A.I is a great example of this. The problems it can solve or challenges it can address are practically endless, but that doesn’t mean organisations should automatically invest in A.I. It can also act as a huge distraction and offer many ‘black holes’ for organisations to fall down. Businesses should always, always start with the challenge they want technology to solve for them and work back from there. In addition, if A.I. is not applied appropriately or fed with accurate data, then there is a real danger of it becoming ‘Artificial Ignorance’ instead!


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