The ability to harness abundance is the foundation of what we at TCS call Business 4.0.
Business 4.0 encapsulates the business transformation driven by digital technologies in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Businesses that thrive in this environment tend to exhibit four behaviours – they drive mass personalization, leverage ecosystems, embrace risk and create exponential value. The shift in mindset from optimizing scarce resources to harnessing the abundance of talent, capital, capabilities and data is a crucial shift in thinking underlying all of these behaviours.
The path to growth
As our research of Business 4.0 adoption across the globe revealed, businesses that excel across these behaviours tend to be the best performers, and it is these businesses that are forecasting fast growth.
Our research further shows that the majority of businesses (54%) are already harnessing the abundance of accessible skills by using online human resources, such as IT programmers and legal experts; more than a third (36%) are tapping into the abundance of funding options by accessing crowdfunded financial investments; and 69% are harnessing the abundance of connected people through digital marketing.
The advent of digital technologies is an important enabler in abundance thinking. In the previous era of computing, digitization was a means to cut costs but also more importantly to make productivity gains. The thrust was looking at resources as finite and finding the most efficient means to operate within that scarcity.
For many organizations which have reached saturation in terms of the gains from digitization, digitalization is the next frontier. It has enabled them to think about how one can look beyond the obvious and find resources from their ecosystem that can be used to their business advantage. The ability to create or participate in an ecosystem is an important step towards harnessing abundance.
How to harness abundance
For businesses that use digital technologies, the rewards are very high indeed. The success of firms like Uber or Airbnb which have the idea of harnessing abundance at the core of their business models is testimony to that.
Large organizations that have traditional businesses can do the same if they put in place some enablers within their organizations.
Create a strong data privacy foundation: Harnessing abundance relies on customer data, so it is essential that it is treated with respect and handled in line with consumer wishes and the relevant laws and regulations. If customers withhold or retract their data, there will simply be less for companies to use, jeopardizing the business benefits.
Develop an abundance culture: The explosion of data has really only happened in the last decade and many companies are still culturally averse to the idea that harnessing data should be central to their business model. Similarly, with other forms of abundance, the organization needs to think about what their sources of abundance are and how they can put in place an operating model that harnesses it. For this, one needs strong leadership and focus on the mindset.
Invest in the technical capabilities to harness abundance: When the foundations of privacy and culture are laid, companies must invest in relevant technologies. Using the power of IoT and AI, companies can gather crucial data and process and analyze it to deliver real business insights.
Organizations that master these behaviours are best positioned to thrive in the waves of disruption and change.