Hurry up and succeed

by Edward Cone

“The future belongs to the fast,” said Meg Whitman, CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, during a panel discussion at last week’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Her key points: Businesses must move more quickly than ever to survive; they need the right IT infrastructure to support rapid innovation; and without the proper culture in place, the other stuff won’t get you very far.

Digital transformation at Davos

photo courtesy of World Economic Forum; click to enlarge

I found myself nodding along with Ms. Whitman several times during the session, because we recently collaborated with HPE on a research program that put some numbers behind her thesis. Our global survey and executive interviews show that businesses feel growing pressure to innovate quickly – even huge, long-established companies -- and that although many have invested heavily in infrastructure, they still must do more in that realm to compete. We also learned that there is plenty of culture work left to be done.

And we found this: “While we cannot separate cause and effect, our survey shows that companies that lead their peers in categories related to strategy and investments that drive rapid ideation and reduced time to value also report superior financial results.” (Emphasis added here, because making money is kind of the whole point of business, no?)

You can read our report, Business at the Speed of Thought: Accelerating Value Creation, here, and watch the Davos panel, The Digital Transformation of Industries, here. The session also includes Alcoa Chair and CEO Klaus Kleinfeld, Salesforce Chair and CEO Marc Benioff, Kaiser Permanente chair and CEO Bernard Tyson, and Schneider Electric Chair and CEO Jean-Pascal Tricoire; it was moderated by Rich Lesser, Global CEO of The Boston Consulting Group.

Edward Cone heads the technology practice and is Deputy Director of Thought Leadership at Oxford Economics. He runs research programs on cloud computing, the Internet of Things, open source software, and other tech topics, and also specializes in health care and talent trends.