Solar Energy Boom In South Africa: Economic Shifts, Not Just Customers, Drive Need For Business Agility

Investment in clean energy in South Africa increased more in 2012 than in any other country, rising 206-fold to $5.5 billion, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. South Africa generates 85% of its electricity from coal, but chronic power shortages may have been the catalyst to look to solar (a low point in 2008 closed mines for five days). It’s making up for that gap with solar energy — and now it’s the only African nation among the top 20 solar markets, with installations comparable to South KoreaThailand, and Israel.

The 360 days a year of sunshine certainly help, and it’s great to see the clean energy push work so well. But what is interesting to me is the amount of change in the overall economy the solar boom has caused. Wages are up, new jobs are available; hotels are adding more rooms, restaurants are changing menus to be more suitable for Europeans, and sales volumes are increasing.  So I’m adding “changes to the energy infrastructure” to my list of events that require business agility. Changes in customer expectation, digital disruption, and shortening product life cycles get the most attention as change events that drive the need for companies to be agile, but as shown here change can rapidly come from infrastructure shifts. And South Africa is just starting its transformation. There are plans to invest in other forms of renewable energy: wind, concentrated and photovoltaic solar, landfill gas, and biomass power. And it looks like South African businesses are up to the challenge and are responding to the market. For more info, click here.

Business Agility And Smarter Flu Tracking

 

 

CPG  companies are a great example of what Business Agility really means in “The Age of the Customer”.  They  produce tissues, disinfecting wipes and cold remedies are finding new ways to predict and chase outbreaks around the country.

Forrester is putting significant effort into Business Agility – what it is, how it relates to the success of companies within industries, and what foundations business agility is built on.  Our recent study of agility and performance found that high-performing companies were building agility into their core business. (see recent  Agility Performance Report)

No where does this seem more true than CPG industry. CPG has been innovating in - Market Responsiveness - one of forrester's 10 dimensions of business agility. This means  simply understanding what’s going on in your market and shifting  strategies and resources to respond.  In the CPG context, it means to figure out when people are getting sick and ramp up marketing, and then reduce expenditure when people are well.

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Sorry – But Cloud Really Doesn’t Matter

 

The way we deploy software is changing. Our research and others shows that enterprises are moving away from on-premise apps. and moving to private and public cloud offerings. But here is the basic question that is seldom asked. When a company deploys to the cloud does that boost revenue and returns to stockholders? Are high performing companies separating from low performers by their knowledge of and use of cloud technologies?  Our recent Business Agility study says clearly that they are not. 

Let me give some context for this statement. Forrester is putting significant effort into Business Agility – what it is, how it relates to the success of companies within industries, and what foundations business agility is built on.  We’ve identified the three types of agility that companies must develop -- Market, Organizational, and Process agility – and evaluate ten separate dimensions that make them up. We found  out which of the ten dimensions were the most important, defined as driving growth in revenue and profit (see the Agility Performancereport).

And  here’s the point.  Infrastructure Elasticity – which is our agility dimension for all things cloud, accounted for almost no difference in enterprise performance. Enterprises aggressively embracing cloud solutions did not perform better than their peers. In fact in some industries, they performed worse.

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