Peter Fingar, Executive Partner in the business strategy firm, Greystone Group, is one of the industrys noted experts on business process management, and a practitioner with over thirty years of hands-on experience at the intersection of business and technology. This is what he has to say in the preface to his book Extreme Competition:
It wasnt the invention of the computer that triggered a great 21st century transformation, it was Sputnik in 1957, and the beginning of global telecommunications. Now all the worlds computers are linked by the Net, shrinking the planet to the size of the screen on your cell phone. The last 40 years have been a kind of warm up to the real thing. The great dot-com crash of 2000 wasnt the signal for the beginning of the end, it was a signal that we had reached the end of the beginning. The tinkering phase of the Internet was complete, and now its time to get on with the real transformation of business and society.
Clyde Prestowitz, author and former counselor to the Secretary of Commerce in the Reagan Administration, shocks us with his revelations that three billion new capitalists have entered the work force, triggering the great shift of wealth and power to the Eastwhich means all is changed, utterly.
To distill this great 21st century business transformation and what it portends for businesses and individuals, I decided to open up the screen on my desktop and reached out to experts from India, China, Europe, Japan, Australia, Korea, Singapore and the Mid-East to bring up-to-the minute research to these pages. Those experts brought fresh information youd only hear around the water cooler in high-tech organizations in Shanghai, London, Bangalore, Taipei, Tokyo, Hyderabad, Sydney, Riyadh, Manama, Seoul and Singaporestepping up to the plate (their computer screens) to make this synthesis and distillation reflect a global snapshot of the new world of extreme competition. Although we were continents apart during the development of this book, we were virtual office mates through our many collaborations using the Net and Skype Internet telephone, messaging and file sharing (total cost of collaborating this way? $Zero). Such intimate interaction with individual knowledge workers, scattered around the globe, wasnt possible before the world was wired, and gives you a hint of what this book is aboutextreme collaboration without borders.
The days of market stability and competitive advantage from a single innovation are over. Today, companies must respond to new entrants in their industries that come from nowhere. And they must not just innovate, they must set the pace of innovation, gaining temporary advantage, one innovation at a time, and then move on to the next.
These new realities call for a new approach to management, and new capabilities to execute on innovation in an increasingly wired and global marketplace. The ability not only to sense and respond to market change, but to also anticipate customer needs, and shape markets, will become the core competencies for successful companies, large and small.
This is a world of extreme competitors.
Tomorrow: The New Competitors