Why Corporate Strategy change with the C loud
Google Apps is a cloud-based productivity suite for your business that helps you get work done from anywhere on any device. Cloud computing changes everything, including corporate strategy as a practice. I have listed five reasons why, although I’m sure there are many more. Long story short: Corporate strategists need to get out of their 20th century mindset and into the 21st century.
1. Emergent strategy rules
For years, the practice of strategy has been about analyzing value chains, applying frameworks like Porter’s five forces or newer strategic-intent-driven ideas like Blue Ocean Strategy. The problem with those framework-driven ideas is they assume a very static, deterministic model of the world. They work when the variables required to solve a problem are already well known, few in number and change at a slow pace.
Cloud computing doesn’t operate in the intentional strategy space. There are a lot of unknowns, many of which can change rapidly. A small firm could develop something valuable very quickly, scale it to millions of users in a very short time and all equations about competitor reaction, supply and demand forecasts become irrelevant (hey, that’s why we have auto scaling!). The frameworks have to be discarded for more agile ways of solving problems.
2. Subject matter expertise in technology matters
As traditional growth frameworks and models are rendered useless (see No. 1 above), so too are the operators of those models. There’s very little a consultant with an MBA and no subject matter expertise in the cloud or its underlying technologies can advise your firm on what it means to design or develop a product for the future.
Want strategists? Hire technologists and entrepreneurs who can talk real subject matter, produce prototypes and demos, and delight your customers. Who wants another boring PowerPoint that debates whether the next big widget market is going to be $5 billion or $500 billion next year? Hire makers, and go make it.
Traditional corporate strategy teams staffed with ex-big consulting firm consultants should find the exit door as soon as they can if they are in a meeting to discuss growth plans incorporating the cloud. Move them to areas of business strategy that don’t have a large impact due to cloud computing (are there still some?) or retrain them. Even the billionaire mayor of New York City wants to retrain himself and learn coding!
3. Product teams inform corporate growth in the cloud, not corporate strategy teams
If you are reaching out to your corporate strategy team to figure out what the next wave of innovation is, you have already missed the boat. Ask your product strategy team that is in front of your customer every day. They can tell you where the next pocket of growth is going to be. They are spending the time with the customer and know what to make while the corporate drones are still analyzing the spreadsheets and profit pools of a business that is past its prime or analyzing a market entry problem when you are already locked out of the market.
GrubHub CEO Matt Maloney was right on when he said, “The take-away was that a strategy may play out on paper, but the only way to truly test the validity of your product is to put it in front of customers.”
4. Long tail + subscription economy = Granular growth