I’ve recently returned from IBM Global Services Annual Analyst Event held May 1-2, 2008 in New York City. At this event, IBM leadership revealed an extensive study titled “The Enterprise of The Future”. IBM conducted detailed interviews with over 1,100 CEOs, general managers, and senior public sector and business leaders, across 40 countries and 32 industries. Their discussions revealed a clear correlation between organizations’ ability to execute within constant change and their financial performance. The study also identified five key elements in the corporate DNA of companies who successfully navigating the constant sea of business change:

Hungry for change. Firms not only survive it, but accept it as a constant, seek it out and thrive on it.

Innovative beyond customer imagination. Firms constantly delight their customers and constantly raise their own bar, and thus their customers (and thus outpace their competition).

Globally integrated*. Firms actively work their global network, establishing and leveraging global Centers of Excellence and applying their resources seamlessly across their value chain.

Disruptive by nature. Firms constantly reinvent themselves and position their business and process models to quickly shift (and anticipate) market demands.

Genuine, not just generous. Firms engage stakeholders—NGOs, customers, their own employees—to “do well by doing good”.

*Worth noting: IBM asked CEOs how they would integrate along seven categories, from a continuum from “Globally oriented” to “Equally Important” to “Locally focused”. Not surprisingly, the two categories with the most even split—Optimize Operations Globally and Drive Culture—rely most heavily on peoples’ ability to execute along their core processes and through a blended approach.

What does this mean for Process and Applications Professionals?

Now more than ever, Process and Applications Professionals will be the catalysts for change. In fact, one of the former names for IBM’s initiative to bridge this “change gap” was titled “Catalyst”. One of the initiative’s focus areas was on developing the key talent and the critical strategic, operational, and IT skills Business Architect’s (IBM’s term) will need to drive change in their organizations.

Forrester’s take? This is in line with our belief that technology is business and vice versa. More recently, we’ve identified the need for a new breed of business analyst (see “The New Business Analyst”. Whether coming from an IT or traditional business background, this new business-oriented business analyst will need to blaze their own trail and build functional business and organizational change management skills, process analysis and methodological savvy, and technology fluency in business process modeling and executable logic.

Andy Salunga, Senior Analyst
Business Process & Applications
Forrester Research