Monthly Research
& Market Commentary

How to Build your Plan for Becoming a 21st Century Organization
21st Century / 14 Mar 2017 / By Dave Aron

In our recently published report, Winning in the 21st Century, we discussed how businesses are changing significantly driven by a steady penetration of digital technology, advances in UI, a new generation of more effective MI, IoT and more mature cloud offerings.  We believe all businesses and government agencies need to change too in order to evolve, thrive an win in the 21st century.

The report introduced a 6/36 part model to assess your strengths, weaknesses and needs in order to thrive in the next decade.  We’ve taken over 40 CIOs from our clients through this assessment in recent months and from our sample to date some organizations have a long road ahead:

Figure 1: Most organizations have a long road ahead

Figure 1: Most organizations have a long road ahead

Even though all surveys are flawed, the scoring in this one is relatively coarse, respondents are self-scoring, they are often taking averages across multiple business areas, and this isn’t a large enough sample to separate results by industry or geography – we can still see a variety of interesting facts from analysing the data.

The most obvious observation is that we all have a long way to go.  LEF believes that an organization that can be confident of success in the next decade must score between four and five in each area. 

But what to do next to achieve the results required?

We recommend creating an action plan and starting out by collating your scores in each area, both in terms of where you are now, and where you believe you need to get to, then computing the gap.  For example, you may think you are a 1 in ‘tech scanning’ and need to achieve a 4 (gap = 3).  Or you may think you are a 3 in ‘considering digital extensions’ and that is good enough for now (gap = 0).  This exercise is most powerful if senior leaders from both IT and the rest of the business are involved.  LEF would be pleased to conduct a workshop for clients to help facilitate discussion and craft your 5 priority areas to act on:

Figure 2: Identify your biggest gaps

Figure 2: Identify your biggest gaps

Also consider adding/substituting the four ‘super’ capabilities of:

  • Digital-savvy leadership.
  • Digital governance.
  • Technology scanning.
  • Benefits realization.

Combining data analytics (specifically correlations), case study interviews and internal thought leadership, we have come to the conclusion that these four are ‘super-capabilities’ that result in raising the level of all the others.

Figure 3: Create your 21st century organization action plan

Figure 3: Create your 21st century organization action plan

Now turn your observations into actions.  Create a chart like the one above, populated with your priorities, and the actions you will take, then bake those actions into your overall plans.

Contact us for assistance in creating your plan.  We look forward to working with clients building businesses and government agencies that can evolve, survive and thrive in the 21st century.

To learn more on this topic, join us at Regional Events in New York on May 16 and in Chicago on May 18, 2017, where we shall discuss How to Build a 21st Century Organization.


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21st Century
Adaptive Execution
Proactive, Haptic Sensing
Reimagining the Portfolio
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