The CommsVision conference last week was a rare gathering of expertise, where original thinking and high level opinion of the IT industry rubbed shoulders the harsh reality of the reseller channel. Having tried to balance hype with reality, present with future, and logic with human nature, here's my take on two issues that jumped out at me.
Ever since Gates spoke about 'business at the speed of thought', it feels like all of us in management have been automating, connecting and collaborating in a go-faster race with our competitors. We've been told our customers and our lives are going to be accelerated by Millennials and Generations X and Y, for whom life in the business fast lane is the norm. Now, thanks to CommsVision, I learn that this is already history and the fact is that life 'before Lehmans' was a joy ride. We're now into 'born in the cloud' businesses with a strategic imperative to 'drive like we stole it.'
Great words but, more importantly, they strike a chord with the way we've developed Genius Networks.
Back in 2010, our team first looked at building the business around the established 'aggregator' model that has risen over the past 8 years as the reseller's more versatile alternative to partnering with individual carriers. We nearly followed suit, but held back. Instead, we focused on a ten-year horizon and researched how network provisioning would evolve. The two big priorities were firstly globality, and the demand from emerging markets. Secondly, automation and the need for speed in helping our resellers get first to the opportunity and win the business.
We spent 2 years building CRISP, our intelligent core routing infrastructure, and kicked off with go-to-market just a year ago. There's no looking back. Agile management, streamlined processes and automated reseller support are the DNA of CRISP and it's rewarding to have feedback from the resellers at CommsVision, telling us we've got it right. Even more enjoyable is hearing the experts tell us how to do it, some three years after we worked it out ourselves.
A common theme amongst several speakers at CommsVision was organisational evolution, or should that be 'disappearance'. Silos will be replaced by transparency, transparency will be driven by collaboration and collaboration will be controlled by Lync – so Microsoft finally does take over the world, just as we always thought!
No doubt all this will come true but, at the same time, these generalisations paper-over some important gaps where existing organisation structure, management and culture are literally miles away from the predictions and will continue to be so for years to come. For example, increasing governance, regulation and security is very much an issue of our time and doesn’t lend itself to encouraging flat organisational structures and transparency.
Above all, though, as with all issues facing the fur-lined culture of Western Europe and the USA, we have to remember we are a minority. Business models are being driven by emerging economies, where culture and business practice is unrecognisable by UK standards. At Genius, we have a keen interest in the global business community, because this is where UK businesses are expanding and this is where demand for our networks is showing highest growth. 'Complexity' is the active word here and on many occasions it is the cultural and organisation differences that create complexity.
My feeling is that the embryonic organisational models discussed by the CommsVision speakers have some way to go before reaching these foreign shores. How long will that be? Who knows? But, in a week when India has just launched a mission to Mars, my feeling is it could be sooner than later.