Transform your organization into a constantly learning, ever-evolving industry leader with the proven operating model of leading global firms.
Successful companies do more than ride an economic wave – they must also be resilient in the face of disruption. What is the operating model to create and sustain this resilience? A lifelike, fluid organization that adapts quickly and is nimble at scale. In pursuit of this ideal, companies have moved from a focus on efficiency to innovation and agility, to be more like startups. However, traditional responses to change are no longer enough.
At Infosys, we experienced these shortcomings firsthand in employee and client discussions. This experience led us to develop an operating model for the modern era. In our book The Live Enterprise, we describe this new model, one that practices agile principles even at scale in a large company.
How do we know the Live Enterprise model works? It helped Infosys more than double its market valuation from $33 billion to $70 billion in three years. It also provided enterprise resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic, providing the platform to move 240,000 of us from office to remote work in a matter of days — while exceeding the previous year’s financial results in the grip of the global lockdown.
The Live Enterprise architecture is designed to evolve, not operate as a static structure with infrequent, large modification. The model is an intensely innovative engine of small units that use shared digital infrastructure – a digital runway to launch ideas, with a venture capital mindset to continuously promote and adopt the most successful ideas. This is all based on the idea that large change is adopted in frequent, small increments that create permanent habits and better results.
Another aspect of the Live Enterprise is the rise of the employee. For too long customer centricity was put forward as the focus, while employees got second shrift. It’s exciting now to see all this focus on employees and on the employee experience, because if employees are truly the company’s greatest asset, let’s treat them that way and equip them so they can serve customers and society more effectively.
On this foundation, the Live Enterprise model delivers four outcomes:
- Quantum organization
- Perceptive experiences
- Responsive value chains
- Intuitive decisions
Quantum organization borrows a term from quantum physics where multiple states occur at once. To be a quantum organization means to be agile at scale, deliver many small initiatives simultaneously, with the best ones nurtured to scale. All work is viewed as a “product,” and DevOps becomes the method to sustain continuous improvement and evolution.
Experience has moved from cosmetic appeal to personalized understanding based on data. Responsive design and computational design move beyond demographics and personas to tailored individual experiences. Even the same content is presented to users in different ways, based upon their psychographic profile and the way they process information.
Value chains must move beyond simply “delivering the goods” to bi-directional collaboration that shares product traceability and labor practices, as well as monitor worker health across supply and distribution networks. Further, companies need to repurpose, reimagine, and reengineer the value chain to see what is not there, can be improved, or can be eliminated. This can be accomplished through sentient principles of proximity to source, zero latency, instant simulation, micro-feedback, guided practice.
Swift and accurate decisions require intuition backed by data and pattern recognition. The knowledge graph, much like the social graph for Facebook, connects all the information, data and interactions of an organization so that it’s available to all. It is complemented by the digital brain, which takes in all this information and quickly makes decisions based upon rules and the environment, and then distributes them to be carried out. The objective is to make decisions with maximum human intuition and minimum human intervention, aided by extreme automation.
While the Live Enterprise model takes full advantage of digital tools, anyone can get started by using its basic concepts. First, get connected. Connect what you’re doing, your devices, everything. Not just among your team, but also everything and everywhere that relates to your colleagues, customers, and the market. Second, observe. Understand all this data streaming in and analyze to see how it relates to your daily work and long-term needs. Third, make decisions based upon what you observe and do so boldly. These observations are only as good as the decisions you make. Bringing these steps together in a rapidly evolving life cycle is how a small unit or even an individual can out-compete larger, well-funded enterprises.
Ultimately, to be resilient, companies need to continuously evolve and learn. In a decade with COVID-19 at one end and major sustainability goals at the other, the Live Enterprise is not just a model for growth – it provides resilience to withstand adversity, and a roadmap for more prosperous times to come.