How Management Technology is Boosting Business Leadership Capabilities
Innovative new technologies are giving leaders the tools to shape more sustainable, profitable businesses and better engage with both employees and customers.
Today digitalization is driving how organisations provide products and services to customers. As a result, we are seeing organisations adopt new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT) and virtual reality / augmented reality (VR/AR) amongst many others to accelerate growth. The disruptive effect of these emerging technologies has had a profound effect on how organisations deliver services, manufacturing and supply chain management.
In turn, organisations have become more aware of the need to invest in technology and to balance their capital expenditure (CAPEX) with a more productive return on investment (ROI). However, the effect of technology is not just realized through technical innovation, ROI or optimized operational procedures. It can also have a tangible impact on a company’s business strategy by optimizing technical competencies and improving the way leaders think strategically.
It’s only thanks to all these elements working in unison that Amazon, for instance, has ascended during little more than two decades in business to achieving an annual turnover in excess of US$178 billion. As founder Jeff Bezos told ABC News in 2013, “What we need to do is always lean into the future; when the world changes around you and when it changes against you – what used to be a tail wind is now a head wind – you have to lean into that and figure out what to do, because complaining isn’t a strategy.” Management technology can help remove the guesswork from navigating a shifting commercial and industrial landscape.
The goal will be to ensure business investment is sustainable, aligned with customer vision, profitable, and investments continue to grow. The task is to align the introduction of emerging technologies with the core business objectives in order to achieve sustainable growth through productive ROI. Nonetheless, new business models suggest that more empathy with customers in understanding their visions — rather than simply deploying technology — is the more productive path.
Consequently, the role of management technology has arisen to better align business strategy, capital expenditure, operational tactics and customer empathy with the emerging technology that delivers the best business opportunity. However, a lack of visibility from the shop floor to the C-suite leads to a communication divide and a siloed decision-making approach, which makes decision-making sub-optimal. Thus, an enterprise technology management solution must provide a method for gathering business and market intelligence for real-time reporting and DIY advanced-analytics that can enhance executive management planning and decision-making. It’s all about adopting the most prudent tactics based on accurate data and solid predictions.
Traditionally, management technology delivered high-level, industry-specific KPIs to the C-suite as a dashboard. But today, businesses are often driven by data democratisation where relevant information should be freely accessible to employees, partners and even customers. At every level, devising the means to process the vast amount of data now available is the next challenge.
Renowned economist, author and professor at Harvard Business School, Michael E. Porter is particularly bullish on the potential for augmented reality in this regard. “The advent of what we call smart, connected products (has) created a lot of improvements in productivity and capability of products, and the value that the products can create, but it’s created now the next big problem. The amount of data available is just overwhelmingly greater than ever before. How do humans actually access and utilize all this data? We get data on 2D screens and then need to figure out how to translate it into the real world. Bridging the gap between digital and physical is taxing,” he says in a July 2018 presentation for Harvard Business Review.
“Augmented reality is a set of technologies that allow us to take the digital information that we have and the choices we have and actually overlay them on a human’s view of the real physical world in real time … This just massively improves your capacity to assimilate and process this information,” Porter says. “Augmented reality is the great equalizer. It is going to create a balance between what the machines can do, and what the humans can add, by making the humans able to access the power of the data and the analytics and the machine advantages.”
Technology alone is rarely sufficient to drive executive strategy as it is not typically attuned to a specific market or customer. Indeed, there is often a need to partner with solution experts in the field as they can provide business-case assurance.
In one recent case, Yokogawa co-created value with a customer — a global chemicals company seeking to reduce variability in its end products resulting from volatility in the supply chain — by providing the technological means to pinpoint the root of the problem and identify supply pattern abnormalities, facilitating the customer’s achievement of quality-related KPIs.
In order to maximize operational efficiency and use of data, many leaders in industries such as energy, chemicals, steel, oil and gas choose to partner with Yokogawa Electric Corporation.
Yokogawa recently launched a comprehensive brand for its industrial automation and control business — OpreX. Encompassing the company’s diverse range of industrial automation products, services and solutions, OpreX provides customers with the tools to digitalize and transform their businesses, optimizing processes and delivering greater ROI by utilizing disruptive technology.
Though digital innovation and smart technology management may improve business processes and help reduce inefficiencies, the knowledge and expertise in doing it right is often more important than the technologies themselves. A digitally empowered leadership team enabled by technology — and vitally, working with the right partners — is well positioned to succeed during the period of unprecedented change the world, and business, is currently experiencing.
Founded in 1915, Yokogawa engages in broad-ranging activities in the areas of measurement, control, and information. The industrial automation business provides vital products, services, and solutions to a diverse range of process industries including oil, chemicals, natural gas, power, iron and steel, and pulp and paper. With the life innovation business the company aims to radically improve productivity across the pharmaceutical and food industry value chains. The test & measurement, aviation, and other businesses continue to provide essential instruments and equipment with industry-leading precision and reliability.