I'm very pleased to see the new article on smart connected products, which I co-authored with Harvard Business School professor, Michael Porter, appear and be published in Harvard Business Review. The first article, which was published last November, really introduced the notion of smart connected products. It talked about their makeup and the new capabilities that are brought to bear. And then, we looked at how this changes industry dynamics and competition, and the strategic, new choices that companies are going have to make.
The second article, though, takes it in a different direction. It looks within the company and asks, how will the nature of these smart, connected products actually affect the work that your firm does? How will it affect your processes and the different activities within the departments of your company? And ultimately, it asks the question, will the organization of your company need to change, because some of the work will be transformed to such a great degree?
I think, to summarize the impact of smart, connected products on the workings of a firm you can really see it in new relationships, new processes, and new structures.
- New Relationships - The way that you interact with your offerings and therefore with your customers is really unprecedented. You have a closed-loop system that provides a tremendous amount of feedback and is really an open-ended communications loop, with your customer and your offering.
- New Processes - That information that you get will be used to affect the workings of your different operations and functions within your company. You're going to have new business processes, as a result of what you learn by monitoring the products.
- New Structures - What you're also going to find is that some of the changes to your processes are dramatic enough that they don't fit naturally into the organizational structure that you have in place today. You're going to find new ways to collaborate, the need for new functions that do things like data analytics, and different ways of maintaining and insuring the success of that customer relationship over time.