We learned that information technology is widely considered to be a weakness in the global operations of electronics and high-tech companies. The research exposed that:
Our survey suggests that electronics and high-tech firms are not yet gasping these opportunities.
Innovation is a key activity that the operating models of electronics and high-tech companies must support. More than 80 percent of respondents said the imperative of innovating new products and services has increased in importance since the downturn. In fact, it is now on par with growing global market share. As such, decisions that improve the ways in which innovation activities are structured and executed are critical opportunities for competitive advantage.
By focusing on their international operating models, firms can confirm they have the global capabilities necessary for rapid and interconnected innovation across the world. Successful firms realize that their global footprint can be leveraged to build globally distributed innovation networks.
These networks can bring new and varied perspectives from the most innovative talent around the world. In addition, surveyed executives said innovation was not just about new products and services but also business models. More specifically, respondents told us shifting from selling products and services to offering full solutions formed a key imperative.
Improving the speed to market of new innovations also emerged as a critical imperative driving operating model decisions. When asked about the top three strategic imperatives that drive decisions about their firms operating models, the highest percentage, 57 percent, identified the development of more innovative products and services to meet customers needs.
Our research found that leadership and culture provide important levers for improvement in global operations. Three in five companies (60 percent) rely most on leadership, people and culture to adapt to changes in the global market. But almost the same proportion (57 percent) said leadership, people and culture are the greatest obstacles preventing firms from adapting to changes in the global market.
There is a strong understanding of the importance that leadership and culture play in achieving high performance global operations, both as potential enablers and as potential obstacles. Many benefits of investments in leadership and culture accrue in the mid-long term, but in an uncertain business environment, these investments can take on new importance. There are few things more valuable than a leadership team that possesses vision beyond the current uncertainties, and a culture that can continually adapt with the evolving business environment while remaining true to its core values.
While virtually all companies say they currently are seeking low-cost talent, 33 percent told us they are not actively recruiting highly skilled talent abroad. A similar number are not actively seeking new locations to source talent for innovation. In fact, only 10 percent of survey respondents say finding new locations to source talent for innovation is a key driver of their operating model decisions.
Yet, with more than half of companies telling us that developing and managing human capital is a highly important activity, executives clearly understand the need to do better. For example, one executive told us how his company needed to work on its current talent and innovation capabilities even before considering its worldwide footprint.
One of the biggest problems is that you have very educated, intelligent and motivated people working on things that arent needed. By the time you find out about it, a lot of money has been spent.
The best firms tend to have the best global talent generating exciting new ideas for use around the firm and participating on projects globally. This philosophy serves as the backbone for their entire operating model.