VIDEO: How Can Organizations Balance Agility and Differentiation?

Aug 30, 2019


Article ImageRiad Hijal, Global Head & VP, Commerce Strategy & Solution Management at SAP addresses the challenges agility-minded companies face in differentiating their offerings in this clip from his presentation at Digital Experience 2019.

Watch Riad Hijal's complete Digital Experience Conference presentation, A103. Expert Perspectives, SAP: Delight Your Customers an Grow Your Business in the Age of the Experience Economy.

Transcript

Riad Hijal: This is one of my favorite quotes. It's from the Chairman of the World Economic Forum, if I'm not mistaken, yep; and basically what he says is that in the new world that we live in today, it used to be the big fish would swallow the small fish and size was a phenomenal differentiator when it came to growing market share and acquiring customers. The reality is that that is no longer the case, so the rules have fundamentally shifted. So one analogy that I like to make, and Tim, you'll like this one because it's a hockey analogy.

So I'm from Montreal but, back in, prior to the lockout in 2004, right? If my memory serves me well, you had teams like for example, New Jersey, New Jersey that well, they would do the trap, they'd block the middle of the ice. Big players, not necessarily very fast, not very agile, but they were able to dominate the game because of their sheer size.

Then all of a sudden, post lockout, the rules changed, the game changed, all of a sudden we had a new set of rules; and you had players that frankly, for the past two, three years, were, in the old NHL as we call it now, were pretty much irrelevant, all of a sudden became superstars. Players like Martin St. Louis who was 5'8" or something.

Because they were very, very very quick, and the rules of the game had changed, they were able to actually take advantage of that. And I think this is a very very nice analogy that for the last five, ten years now, ten to fifteen years, the rules have fundamentally changed when it comes to digital, and so agility is now the number one requirement. Now, it does not mean that agility needs to be at the expense of functional richness or differentiation.

So that's one of the big conundrums very often, when it comes to selecting technology for example, is you have to choose. So either you're gonna be agile but at the same time cookie cutter. It's very very common, for example, in the SaaS world.

So if you decide to be very very agile--quick time-to-value, quick time-to-market--it needs to be a cookie-cutter approach, which means the same solutions for everyone. We don't believe in that because how can you differentiate if the underlying decisions or technologies that you're putting in place, are the same for yourselves as well as your competitors?

You need to be able to have that agility but not at the expense of functional richness, of differentiation, of openness, of extensibility. So really bringing these two together, and that's frankly, in our mind, the secret sauce for organizations that want to be agile but also differentiated.


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