One of the most important presentations at this year’s Field Service Europe Conference was delivered by Rajat Kakar, VP, Head of Product Related Services Business, Fujitsu as he tackled the question of what leadership will look like in the future. kris Oldland spoke to him about some of the key points...
The world in which we are living is changing and it is changing rapidly. Digitalisation and ever increasing connectivity is having an immeasurable impact upon the way businesses operate and the workplace of the future is going to be a vastly different environment to what it is today.
The question is how prepared are you and your business to adapt to these changes? It is almost a given that those organisations that can see the road ahead and are plotting a clear roadmap for their own evolution, are the ones that will thrive. Those who wait until the changes come, and try to react to them then... they may well find it is too little, too late.
As Leon Megginson, a Louisiana State University business professor stated in a speech some fifty years ago stated “It is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest that survives; but the species that survives is the one that is able best to adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself.”
This is why Fujitsu’s Rajat Kakar’s presentation at this year’s Field Service Europe conference held in Amsterdam is one that had attendees fully engaged - as it focused on the changes coming to all corners of industry and importantly how businesses must adapt.
If you think about leadership it goes into multiple dimensionsAnd of course at the heart of all organisational change must sit strong leadership - but what exactly does strong leadership in this brave new world of Digitisation, Automation and Artificial Intelligence look like?
“If you think about leadership it goes into multiple dimensions,” explains Rajat.
“We need to be thinking about how can we engage with and harness the next generation of people who are going to be driving service businesses forward and to do this we must start to think about things from the perspective of where the market is going to be developing.”
“Ultimately, everything comes down to this understanding of where the market is going - that is the first step. From there, if we can see how the market will evolve, then we can ask ourselves what kind of people do we need in order to be able to drive our businesses forward?”
For Rajat, globalisation driven by more effective connectivity is one such significant consideration.
“This opens up a complete new area, one which a lot of people have not really dealt with before,” he comments.
The service delivery mechanism is no longer just around the corner, the delivery mechanisms of the future will be in the global delivery centres“The service delivery mechanism is no longer just around the corner, the delivery mechanisms of the future will be in the global delivery centres. The delivery mechanisms will be possibly even be sitting in multiple countries depending on how you’re able to find your experts for the service element you want to be delivered.”
“These are the things we need to start thinking about today. We need to consider how we as companies are going to be managing our businesses moving forward.”
Of course, even today we are seeing how technology is changing the shape of our businesses and this is undoubtedly only set to increase in pace. We have been hearing talk about the fourth industrial revolution and of new business paradigms for many years now and concepts such as Industrie4.0 and Servitization are rapidly taking hold. However, Rajat asserts that this is just one aspect of the evolution service organisations should be aware of.
The fast changing face of the workforce will also add far reaching cultural changes to the way we work.
“The next element we must consider is that the workforce is changing which means that we will have a lot more experts moving into the market - you will be bringing on experts rather than developing them via the traditional organisational structures,” he explains.
It is clear that across all verticals, business leaders can expect to see wholesale changes as the combined drivers of technology and cultural shift make their impact known. One upshot of such impact Rajat predicts is a much more competitive and level playing field - which will be largely driven by the maturation of Big Data tools.
The ability to assemble data and then draw information from that data will become increasingly easier.“What I think is fascinating is that the barriers to entry will continue to become smaller,” Rajat states. “The ability to assemble data and then draw information from that data will become increasingly easier. What used to take a long time to achieve will be done in a quicker and more efficient manner.”
“To take an example, let’s look at the traditional Telco market. What happened traditionally was that you would have an infrastructure which had an clearly identifiable cost.”
“However, off the back of such infrastructure we will see a lot of small companies that are coming up who will actually achieve on the base of that infrastructure - but they could achieve a lot more, in a lot quicker way whilst avoiding much of the potential costs which a traditionally structured company used to have.”
“If you take for example a company which has been the traditional provider of telecoms such as AT&T or Telefonica you will see that more and more these organisations are getting into areas like content management.”
“This is because they can see that the traditional means of delivering news or programmes etc which generally came via traditional broadcasters are quickly becoming less and less valid.” Rajat adds.
What is happening is that via such digital changes those who had traditionally been in the market suddenly gain a lot more competitors“So if these Telco’s are able to harness the information from their customers to be able to do more direct marketing and direct advertising, and do all these things effectively, what is happening is that via such digital changes those who had traditionally been in the market suddenly gain a lot more competitors - there are a lot more smaller companies that are now able to compete.”
“Once we get down to this, the question becomes what kind of a service mechanism are you going to need to support these type of companies moving forward - because they are not looking for the traditional services, everything can be turned completely upside down.”
These are all hugely important questions you absolutely must be working through today, in order to build a leadership team that will flourish tomorrow.
“You have to face up to the fact that the type of leadership you have in place today may not be the right type of team to take you forward. Because if this leadership is not in tune with the upcoming changes to the market,then they are not in tune with how to make your business elements strategic.”
“Their ideas will effectively become lost in translation. Remember, you’re going to be needing different types of people and your going to be needing different types of skill sets if you want to stay ahead of the pack”
To quote another American University lecturer, John Allen Paulos, a Mathematician from Temple University, Pennsylvania, “Uncertainty is the only certainty.” and no one can tell exactly where the future may lie.
However, one can make an educated guess based on fairly substantial evidence - and for those attending Field Service Europe, paying attention to Rajat’s shrewd assessment of the future is sure to give you a head-start.
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