Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes: Notes From IBM’s Global Services 2008 Annual Analyst Summit

I’ve recently returned from IBM Global Services Annual Analyst Event held May 1-2, 2008 in New York City. At this event, IBM leadership revealed an extensive study titled “The Enterprise of The Future”. IBM conducted detailed interviews with over 1,100 CEOs, general managers, and senior public sector and business leaders, across 40 countries and 32 industries. Their discussions revealed a clear correlation between organizations’ ability to execute within constant change and their financial performance. The study also identified five key elements in the corporate DNA of companies who successfully navigating the constant sea of business change:

Hungry for change. Firms not only survive it, but accept it as a constant, seek it out and thrive on it.

Innovative beyond customer imagination. Firms constantly delight their customers and constantly raise their own bar, and thus their customers (and thus outpace their competition).

Globally integrated*. Firms actively work their global network, establishing and leveraging global Centers of Excellence and applying their resources seamlessly across their value chain.

Disruptive by nature. Firms constantly reinvent themselves and position their business and process models to quickly shift (and anticipate) market demands.

Genuine, not just generous. Firms engage stakeholders—NGOs, customers, their own employees—to “do well by doing good”.

*Worth noting: IBM asked CEOs how they would integrate along seven categories, from a continuum from “Globally oriented” to “Equally Important” to “Locally focused”. Not surprisingly, the two categories with the most even split—Optimize Operations Globally and Drive Culture—rely most heavily on peoples’ ability to execute along their core processes and through a blended approach.

What does this mean for Process and Applications Professionals?

Now more than ever, Process and Applications Professionals will be the catalysts for change. In fact, one of the former names for IBM’s initiative to bridge this “change gap” was titled “Catalyst”. One of the initiative’s focus areas was on developing the key talent and the critical strategic, operational, and IT skills Business Architect’s (IBM’s term) will need to drive change in their organizations.

Forrester’s take? This is in line with our belief that technology is business and vice versa. More recently, we’ve identified the need for a new breed of business analyst (see “The New Business Analyst”. Whether coming from an IT or traditional business background, this new business-oriented business analyst will need to blaze their own trail and build functional business and organizational change management skills, process analysis and methodological savvy, and technology fluency in business process modeling and executable logic.

Andy Salunga, Senior Analyst
Business Process & Applications
Forrester Research


re: Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes: Notes From IBM’s Global Services 2008 Ann

Does the stutter mean what I think it means? I have been at the event and I gained a different perspective. All this is a lot of empty talk. Much of what was proposed is undoable, so please forgive my bluntness (honesty?)Hungry for change: There is no such thing. Neither people nor organisations are. No one thrives on change.Innovative beyond customer imagination: I would like to meet this company that actually does that. Service quality is downhill everywhere because of cost cutting. I would only put Apple into this category. Or do they think that customers are so unimaginative that any change is beyond expectation?Globally integrated is nonsense: What happened to think global act local? Global Centers of Excellence create a global bureaucracy that will not service local needs. Get real, please!Disruptive by nature: No one likes disruption. The larger the organisation becomes, the less disruption is tolerated. A global organisation does only one thing - move work to cheaper locations - which reduces cost and at the same time service quality.Genuine, not just generous. A lot of talk and not happening in large global enterprises. To be genuine would mean that I have a person to talk to who cares about what I do. Where do I find that?Conclusion: All this talk is a waste of time. There was nothing in this conference and there is nothing here that would tell me or anyone in any organization why the above is good and how it could actually be achieved.Change is today held back by political infighting, ridiculously outdated IT and IT people, business users who can not deal with change, and process management professionals who live the illusion that they can foster change by mapping the organization into flowcharts.The new business analyst would need software that he can teach to perform the processes and where the process actually adapt as users change them. No current IT infrastructure will do any of the above and most IT people are so unimaginative that they can not believe it can be done.To me THAT is the state of the art and none of the above points will do anything. Sorry. That is my truth. I work in these large corporations and executive boardrooms every day.