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The World of Business

No Shortcut Route Open

Little did we think that the airlines could compete with the railways, the then sanctioned housing loans turning to be a giant sub-prime crisis and great recession would be visiting the biggies at a time when mankind wishes to look at the other planets to find out the existence of the counterpart

The time has arrived when we note that even the best of professionals need a team of effective information managers to ensure optimal productivity, an effective system of internal control skills to provide inputs to quicken the process of decision making. An attitudinal change is a must in such a context as the nature of business has been becoming more and more complex. Today’s business means, clearly, becoming an international player as nothing of such could succeed if the same remains restricted to a frog in the well form. It is something like accepting that ‘the ship looks good when parked at the harbour but the same is not meant to remain so. Business without risk is virtually preparing an omelet without breaking the egg.

Success, as it is quietly known, comes out of constant endeavors. Obvious enough, it depends on the very ability to learn from the past (as the same cannot be changed under any circumstances being a part of history), and good anticipation as to what is going to happen (being a mystery) and unpredictable. Since today has rightly been termed as a gift, why not make use of it so that one becomes more than two!

Too Many Frontiers To Guard

In today’s unprecedented talent crunch, the services industry in particular is grappling with developing the leadership, talent, risk awareness and of course the very task of inculcating a positive change adapting attitude.

The private sector as a whole has also left much to be desired. No doubt, things are changing and a better look is being presently given even for retaining the talent.

On this score the choice of strategy also depends on facts and circumstances – it may be that one particular strategy becomes outdated or calls for supplements not necessarily by discarding the older one. This renovation is thus a continuous process. The redesigning of existing processes can effectively lead to dramatic enhancements in performance that enables the organization to deliver greater value to customers in ways that also generate higher profits to the stakeholders. So, focusing on measuring and redesigning the customer - facing and internal processes improvements could be there in areas such as cost, quality, speed, profitability and other key areas. Arranging for such changeover calls for more than rearranging workflows – who does what tasks, in what locations, as well as in what sequence.

Thus, the question of complacency has already crossed the Rubicon - retaining the market share in the international arena, coupled with efforts directed towards a higher niche in the ever - changing market environment pose as the area where skill added to strategy formulation plays a dominant role. That is why the economic / marketing policy formulation and the implementation process run hand - in - hand. The international business scenario thus requires a deeper look, as segregated from outward show, judging from the point of view of strengthening the market competitiveness, which, in turn, calls for intensive scanning of the emerging trends backed by analytical ability/anticipation.

Business processes must become more mature and the institution must be able to deliver higher performance - spatially, temporally, hierarchically and functionally. Obviously, to achieve the same, the starting point is designing (the comprehensiveness of the specifications as to how the process is to be executed); followed by the performers (people executing the process based on skill and knowledge); owners (persons shouldering the responsibility for the process as well as the results); infrastructure (information/ MIS that support the process); and of course the metrics (the measures the company uses to track the process’s performance).

The challenge is not only to acquire the customer, but also to retain him in the business for furthering the process of improved customer value.

Boosting of service quality, keeping in view the very nature of effective demand, is the crying need of the hour. The challenge is not only to acquire the customer, but also to retain him in the business for furthering the process of improved customer value. It is very difficult to locate an area where competition does not exist. Rather the reality is just the opposite – intense and rising competition. Especially, in the arena of international business the same is assuming a more complex character day by day, thanks to fast changing technology. Fortunately, Indian products are not losing ground. Though the exports rate of growth has been receiving a downward tilt of late, yet the competitiveness has been very much there and in many areas the market penetration and reputation has not been that bad compared to others, especially China.

Undoubtedly, in today’s world, global leadership calls for global skills. Today’s business culture demands leaders who are true innovators – they challenge virtually the traditional thoughts - using both sides of the brain – the right and left hemisphere. They remain the most sought after persons in the world of these times.
In business today many of the most important strategy conversations are those that can close the gap between business strategy and talent management – the very route to sustainable growth and performance through people. Undoubtedly it is the HR function that can play the most crucial role on this score. But unfortunately it still remains one of the vastly neglected areas especially in countries like ours.

Even in the public sector (case reference – one minnow Bank), which is supposed to play the role of model employers, this aspect has been receiving the least attention as a result of which business growth in many such organizations has been very moderate if not low.

Small always remains small – talent cries in the wilderness!

The private sector as a whole has also left much to be desired. No doubt, things are changing and a better look is being presently given even for retaining the talent.

The target today is to achieve competitiveness through the knowledge worker. Talent is one of the crucial important assets of every organization facing an era of accelerating changes and competition - the skills, insights, commitment of individuals as well as the very teams are the raw materials of innovation, service anagility, which, in turn, means the disciplines of sourcing, developing, retaining as well as motivating high – quality people – are exactly the arena which are realistically becoming the key differentiators of success – with talent management moving to the center of strategy formulation.

Actually the good business leaders understand that there are competitive and economic values which could result from talented people. The fact floats that: as organizations strive to do more with few resources, they want to ensure that people are in the right jobs and of course they are determined, dedicated and deliver consistently as individuals, teams as well as groups.

Side by side, the major trouble emerges from the fact that while most of them fail to show how the workforce vis-à-vis skill - levels contributes positively to these goals and/or adds value to the institution.

Enterprise capabilities are the crucial factors for the ultimate achievement – leadership (executives who support the creation of processes); culture (values of customer focus, teamwork, personal accountability and of course the very willingness to change); expertise (skills in / methodology for, process design); and governance (the very mechanisms for managing complex projects and change initiatives). For developing high performance processes, institutions need to offer very supportive environments.
 
So, for making the new process work the need is there to ensure that the jobs are redefined broadly backed by updated training system to support these jobs and at the same time enabling decision making. The process and the outcome are to be studied for the next course of action. The broad areas under such a changeover methods include, among others: reshaping organizational cultures to emphasize on team performance, fixation of personal accountability, customer’s importance; managers overseeing the tasks rather than supervising and realigning the information system so that the cross - functional processes work smoothly than simply support departments. Even when the BPO is restored to the need remains as to managing the outsourced matters. Process implementation road map must be developed.

Professor C K Prahalad and Gary Hamel rightly opined that in today’s corporate world wining in a business is not about being number one, rather it is about who ‘gets to the future first’. They urged companies to create their own futures, envision new markets and reinvent themselves. It is the idea of core competency that actually boosted the BPO and allowed companies to handover the non-core side related to their business operations to others who are willing and can do the job. It is, thus, better to concentrate on the core competency areas where the performance could be bettered - temporally, functionally, hierarchically and sectorally in the broader sense.

It is that greater competent Institutions that emerge as the victor; while others struggle to keep the heads over the water. Undoubtedly, it is the strategic innovation and not calendar – driven rituals that could remain the main source of advantage in the days to come. And it is creativity, passion and, of course initiatives that enable one to stay afloat. It is a company’s ability and willingness to make fundamental changes that help transform day to day functions. Tomorrow is just another day – an unpredictable one – where expectations may or may not exceed results. Facing the reality and risk - conscious approach is the best way to march ahead. Overnight success is a myth rather than a reality.

Dr. BK Mukhopadhyay