What it takes to be a fast-growing company

A new study by open-source pioneer Alfresco Software, a provider of content management and process automation, and Forbes Insights explores what separates the winners from the losers in the digital economy.

The research of 328 senior-level IT executives, showed that the path to digital success is best realised by activating three key categories – design thinking, open thinking and platform thinking.

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64% of the organisation’s surveyed that excel across all three sections report significant annual growth*. This is in contrast to 43 percent of companies that are still developing their capabilities across one or two of the three key areas.

“Today’s corporate leaders must realise that they need to disrupt or risk being disrupted. Those who are not yet thinking about how they will innovate with new approaches leveraging technology are at risk,” warned Alfresco founder and CTO John Newton.

The research points to the need for CEOs to lead corporate digital transformation, with close to half (49 percent) of the fast-growing companies’ digital transformation efforts being lead directly by the CEO, versus 20% for all others. “Digital transformation starts at the top, ideally with the CEO driving change and ensuring that the whole company is moving in the right direction,” said Newton.

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Fast-growing companies also excel at doing the following three things:

They adopt a strategy of customer- and user-first thinking
o 85% currently have dedicated user experience teams
o 60% plan to increase resources in customer experience over the next three years

• They commit to an open approach to the flow of ideas and concepts in their organisations.
o 85% said a commitment to open standards is important/very important.
o 90% reported the use of open source technologies as important/very important.
o 85% describe open data as important/very important.

>See also: Digital transformation is just business transformation

• They re-imagine a business model that supports a shared economy and leads the way in platform thinking
o Today, fewer than 13% of companies provision their systems for customers/suppliers to connect to them; however, 67% plan to increase significantly in the next three years.
o Today, only 16% consume information from other customer/ partner/ supplier systems; however, in the next three years, 56 percent plan to increase their consumptions significantly.

Leaders must change their thinking

The research concludes that there are three levers that business and IT leaders should employ for successful digital transformation, which spark a rethinking of the way organisations leverage technology:

Design thinking—where a relentless focus upon optimising user experience and customer experience guides all business technology decisions.
Open thinking—in which innovation from both inside and outside the organisation is encouraged to drive new initiatives.
• Platform thinking—where the desired outcome of systems and solution deployment is to build an ecosystem of partners and customers that exchange capabilities and data in a manner that creates added value.

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“We determined how prevalent platform thinking was by asking, ‘To what extent do you open up your systems and information to third parties, and to what extent do you consume systems and information from third parties?’ Just think about how Uber embeds itself into Google Maps so that when you pull up some directions, it tells you that there is an Uber three minutes away and that it can get you to your destination in ten minutes. That’s real platform thinking—the ability to extend your reach far and wide to attract more people to your platform.”


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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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