Regardless of the size of your company, or how immensely successful it traditionally been in the past, change is an inevitable factor in the life-cycle of any business. Sometimes change can be driven by factors within the company itself, such as the wish to re-position themselves within a market,
or to implement a new business model, or to expand into a new market. Other times it is driven by factors external to the company, such as market rivalry, disruptive technologies, demographic changes and sadly even new government regulations.
These internal and external drivers force businesses to implement frequent and wide-spread changes to their business models, their organizations and the technology supporting their business. Depending on how companies react to these drivers, these changes may help them progress, or they may tear them apart: Change is inevitable, progress is not.
When it comes to transforming business many different factors have to be considered:
- Change affects different layers of the business Change affects different layers of your company: your business model (how does the company make money?), your organizational model (what activities do your employees perform to achieve this, in which roles?) and the technological level (what technology does the company use to support its activities?).
- Change affects structures and processes. Change affects both processes (such as business processes, internal processes and technological processes) and structures (such as who you do business with, your company’s geographical and functional structure, and which systems you work with).
- Change does not always start at the same spot. Change is not always initiated by top-management. Depending on the driver for change and the current situation a business is in, you may see changes at the technological level rippling up through the company giving rise to new process models (e.g. the internet and mobile communication giving rise to new ways of working and doing business), sometimes changes at the business level lead to reorganization and the implementation of new technology to support the business (e.g. the merger of two companies leading to changes in organization and technology).
Taken together, these factors mean that even companies who operate in the same market and offer similar products may react to the same drivers in completely different ways – to make change successful, it is important to know where you are coming from, to be clear about where you are heading, and to have a sound approach to managing the transformation that ensures you get there. Business prototyping supports such an approach. If changed is managed correctly, progress will come.