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What is a "Built for the Future" Company?

April 6, 2023 by Joe Panettieri

For the past decade or so, most Fortune 500 and Global 2000 businesses have focused on digital transformation strategies to drive innovation, invention, customer experience, efficiency -- and associated profits.

Fast forward to 2023, and there are now six common attributes within the world's best-performing businesses, according to Boston Consulting Group.

Indeed, companies that are built for the future, BCG says, typically have:

  1. Leadership that is aligned around a corporate purpose that integrates sustainability and social impact goals, building trust and transparency among stakeholders;
  2. a clear people advantage to attract, retain, and develop world-class talent;
  3. an operating model that enables agility and resilience to combat exogenous risks;
  4. an innovation-driven culture;
  5. data platform and flexible, scalable technology platforms and applications to facilitate data access and support business needs easily and flexibly; and
  6. fully embedded AI that can create value for the organization.

Alas, only 6% of companies exhibit those qualities at scale, a BCG survey reveals. The breakdown by company category, BCG asserts, includes:

  • Stagnating companies make up 30% of the sample. They are still at the starting gate and still deciding how to move forward.
  • Emerging companies make up 45% of the sample. They have created value from a digital transformation, but they continue to face challenges in effectively scaling solutions, and they haven't evolved much beyond fixing the basics in their core value chain.
  • Scaling companies make up 19% of the sample. They have delivered a successful wave or waves of digital and AI transformations and created sustainable change in the organization. They are focusing on embedding these solutions across the enterprise and pivoting towards growth from innovation. These companies are delivering results.
  • Future-built companies make up 6% of the sample. They exhibit all six attributes at scale. They are on the leading edge of disruption in their sectors, they demonstrate resilience in the face of uncertainty, and they are best placed to benefit from technology disruption.

Take a closer look a the scaling and future built companies, and they have these traits, BCG asserts:

  • They are scaling AI solutions as opposed to running pilots at subscale (72% versus 14%).
  • Advanced companies invest twice as much in AI solutions and realize 3.5 times greater return on investment.
  • Three times as many advanced companies have stronger capabilities in the operational value chain, for example, intelligent asset management, smart factory, automated maintenance, and Industry 4.0.
  • More than twice as many have stronger capabilities in sales and marketing, and twice as many have stronger capabilities in customer experience and journeys, for example, personalization, consumer-centric services, and customer support and services.
  • Twice as many have stronger capabilities in digital ecosystems, such as leveraging platforms and partnerships to drive sustainable revenue growth beyond core.
  • Advanced companies launch 1.6 more ventures or new companies with a greater proclivity for earlier-stage innovation.
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