Suits The C-Suite

(First of two parts)

Chief executive officers of global consumer product companies face the challenge of transforming their organizations at a rapid pace to ensure they stay relevant to evolving consumers. Part of this challenge entails strategizing and delivering multiple business models and propositions swiftly, but due to time and cost constraints, CEOs cannot build a new operating model from scratch every time something new has to be done.

This calls for more agile, responsive and resilient ways of working that will allow consumer companies to pivot overnight when necessary. In fact, according to a recent global C-Suite survey commissioned by EY from MIT SMR Connections, Becoming Future Fit: Challenges and Opportunities for Today’s Consumer Products Companies, 86% of the surveyed C-Suites said transformation was essential to become future ready. However, the study also revealed that there was great uncertainty in whether leaders are keeping the process of continual change in their organizations on the right track.

How products, services and experiences are valued is dictated by evolving consumer perspectives, while technology is key to enabling new ways of purchasing and engaging with products. Technology is also what redefines the kind of value propositions that companies can offer consumers, as well as how these propositions are delivered. There are increasingly more options in how companies can design, create, market, combine, package, and deliver their products and experiences to get them closer to the consumer than ever, enabled by technological capabilities in data and analytics.

CEOs will need to apply a transformation mindset and create a C-Suite agenda reflecting the new reality of things. With the pandemic bringing to light uncertainty and the urgent need for technological change, these and more factors have already changed every aspect of a consumer’s life and will continue to do so. Their needs, expectations and behaviors have shifted in ways that put the old ways of working and the companies that propagate them at risk.

The current times require companies to be agile, responsive, and resilient. These characteristics can be built into a business by applying five interconnected design principles that CEOs must follow to lead systemic transformation and become future-ready.

The first of this two-part article will discuss the first two principles: becoming part of dynamic business ecosystems and building upon data and analytics with data fabric.

Companies that harness dynamic business ecosystems are better positioned to drive capital efficiency and innovation that creates long-term customer value. It becomes imperative to have a good understanding of ecosystems to stay ahead of the pace of change, especially in anticipation of potential disruptors.

Those who participate in business ecosystems are more likely to create increased value in a group than they would individually, putting companies who are unable to adapt at the risk of falling behind. By building ecosystem models into the structure of their value creation strategy, consumer companies can more effectively navigate the digital space and more quickly generate customer value.

A previous Suits the C-Suites article, How to win Asia-Pacific consumers in the new era, found that digital business ecosystems have emerged in recent years to allow companies to complement each other and offer interconnected products and services in a singular integrated experience. This is already seen in the super apps that consumers are familiar with today, with local examples such as ride-sharing apps with expanded services that include on-demand purchase assistance, food delivery, and even bill payment functions.

Companies are facing more pressure than ever to become data-driven as leaders understand the value of data and use it to generate valuable insights. While a listening organization that is built on data and analytics allows CEOs to make timely, informed decisions, simply prioritizing analytics is not enough. Data fabric, a set of independent services put together to provide a single, focused view of data relevant to business across all sources, will be necessary for many large enterprises to operationalize data in order to address specific challenges as well as innovate.

Digital networks and their data flows serve as the connective tissue and nervous system that lets the body of the ecosystem function by integrating disparate data sources. Data fabric connects the threads of information across an enterprise, delivering value in the short term with a long-term transformation strategy. It is not designed to collect and store information, as opposed to data warehouses, and there is no need to replicate data or start from scratch when searching and aggregating it.

By utilizing the data fabric approach, data is integrated into useful formats that allow for maximum reuse. It enables sharing, portability and governance by intertwining threads of structured and unstructured data to form a consolidated view made available to users in formats they can use and in terms they can understand.

In the second part of this article, we discuss the remaining three key design principles necessary to drive agility, responsiveness and resilience: encouraging talent flexibility, innovating at scale, and embedding a purpose-led strategy into every facet of the organization.

This article is for general information only and is not a substitute for professional advice where the facts and circumstances warrant. The views and opinion expressed above are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of SGV & Co.


Maria Kathrina S. Macaisa-Peña is a business consulting partner and the consumer products and retail sector leader of SGV & Co.