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Turn your company from monolith into ecosystem

Patrick Hughes

Is your business stuck in an outmoded, monolithic model? The structure of most large companies is still rooted in an immovable system that could eventually lead to self-destruction, writes Suketu Gandhi for Ivey Business Journal.

As digital technologies continue to blossom, the large and impersonal corporate culture, constricted by barricades it has constructed around itself, is facing its swan song, writes Gandhi. And if you don’t commit to change, those big walls could soon come tumbling down around you.

It’s time to recognise the growing limitations of the unwieldy status quo within your organisation and to embrace the benefits that an ecosystem model – working with outside partners where appropriate – could bring to you and, most importantly, to your customers.


“There is no question that digital technologies have disrupted the models that customarily defined how we conduct business,” he adds. Monolithic corporations across all industries have a clear choice: either continue to lose ground and eventually watch your business crumble, or take charge of your future by becoming an ecosystem organisation.

Of course, creating a fresh, ecosystem mindset across a large organisation is no easy task. But it’s certainly not impossible.

“Today, about 15% of both the retail and high-tech industries lead the way, with others, such as the pharmaceutical industry, following suit.”


Here are some ways to make the change:

1) Research. Focus on understanding the value chain of your organisation and how it serves players at every point along the line. Identify and address hidden weaknesses and be prepared to reconstruct.

2) Be flexible. Accept that processes designed for optimum in-house performance will need altering if you are working with outside associates.

3) Look outwards. Encourage your teams to leave behind insular attitudes and adopt an outward-looking culture with customer satisfaction as its goal.

4) Take courage. Try to reject the fear of change and help your teams recognise that doing nothing poses a greater threat for the future.

5) Think big. Look for answers beyond the technology you currently operate – there are no limits to the technological aids you can acquire to answer your particular needs.

6) Upgrade the skill-set of your organisation. “Having supply chain, product and other functional experts is important, but not enough,” writes Gandhi. “These skilled workers must be integrated with people who think beyond the company and understand the entire value chain from the product’s manufacture to its final use.”

7) Know your market advantage. Decide if it’s your pricing structure, marketing skills, manufacturing capabilities or something else. This self-knowledge will guide you to pick the right partners to work with.

Guarding the traditional culture of a crumbling castle no longer makes business sense. Creating a fresh environment of technology-fuelled, interconnected networks geared to serving the common goal is the sure way to give your company, and its customers, what they want.

Source Article: Topple Your Monolith Before It Crumbles
Author(s): Suketu Gandhi