Ian Grayson, Transformation Agenda Special Report, Australian Financial Review, 19th April 2016:
With emerging technologies causing fundamental changes to the way businesses operate, coping with the sheer rate of this change is becoming a significant issue.
Knowing which technologies are relevant, how budgets should be allocated, and what returns on investment to expect are creating headaches for senior management. Some fear wrong choices could result in big problems in the future.
“I talk with a lot of chief financial officers, generally working in the listed sector at the large end of town,” says Financial Executives Institute chief executive Kate Mills. “For them, it’s a case of this constant need to strategise and re-strategise about what’s coming. There is also the fear of not knowing where that change is going to come from. ”
Executive chairman of web solutions provider Bambu, Jim McKerlie, agrees saying the challenge is being exacerbated by the fact that people’s fundamental ability to deal with it is limited.
“There is a finite limit to how much change a person can take,” he says. “I think we are bouncing pretty close towards that limit.”
McKerlie says the bottom line is that human beings are creatures of habit and yearn for things such as comfort and security. A key competitive factor for businesses in the coming years will be the capability of their people to operate in these new environments.
Partner at strategic consulting firm Orchestrate, Malcolm Alder, says it’s possible to take a more positive view and see people’s hesitation for change as a natural limiting factor that will keep the overall pace under control.
“It can be very difficult to deal with, but the view I tend to take is there are certain things that we know won’t really change very much.” He points to macro factors, such as the overall ageing of the population, that will drive demand for goods and services in the future. This is something on which businesses can rely when making future plans.