Reinventing Your Company
for the Networked Era
The impact of technology on our personal and business lives has been dramatic and “game changing” over the last two decades. Technological advances have driven the development of a new type of organization, the networked era organization, which is not based on strict hierarchies but based on a collaborative architecture of technological and social networks.
This article describes this new model and what an organization can do to thrive in this new networked era. The
networked era organizational form is capable of fostering collaboration, making expedient market driven decisions, adding exponen- tial customer value, and providing access to critical data for those who need it, when they need it.
We describe the underlying components that support networked era success. We also provide a guide for assessing your organization’s networked era readiness. This article may serve as the rst step in an organization’s journey to competitive advantage in the networked era.
What is so Different about Networked Era Organizations?
Recently, the authors worked intensively with the executive team of a global company to determine what they needed to do to survive. The company was sinking fast and they knew it, but they did not know what to do to stem the ow of red ink and lost market share. The 60–year-old com- pany had successfully weathered a number of restructurings, but something was dif- ferent this time around.
They were locked into the traditional industrial era organizational structure that was built for a bygone business era; one in which mission critical information was restricted to the powerful few and decision- making was primarily focused on top-level management.
The executive team knew that this traditional structure was not working but did not know how to refocus the company for this new era. They spent most of their time in management meetings bickering over yesterday’s numbers instead of focus- ing their management energy on solving today’s business challenges.
Management could not keep up with change in their employees, the environment they operated in, or the market. The more challenging the business became, the more out of touch the business became.
The team had to rapidly transform the company from an industrial era company into a networked era company. This new organization design would allow them to share information openly and address chal- lenges collaboratively. Creating this new organization was critical for survival.