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November 27, 2009

People power shifts shape of business

Atos Origin whitepaper points out ways firms must change

By Vinod

Companies that fail to embrace the shift to ‘people-power’, as social networking and the internet connect individuals, are putting their businesses at risk.

In an Atos Origin whitepaper ‘The New Norm”, author Carl Bate explained that people connectivity was changing the way we interact and work to such an extent that businesses must take action or risk being left behind.

“The first risk is that people will bypass services the business has to offer, for example Zopa’s disruption of the banking industry, where people lend money directly to other people,” said Bate, partner and head of Atos Origin’s CIO Advisory practice.

The second risk, where companies were already beginning to feel the pinch, believed Bates, was the ability to acquire and retain talent from generation Y and Z, for whom social media is as vital a work tool as the mobile phone. Successful companies need to have multigenerational workforce and to recognise that they have different ways of working.

There are two practical steps companies should begin now to begin this move to a people-centric organisation. First is to make the fundamental mind-shift that things have irrevocably changed. “Without that first step, people will fall back on what’s next on the business process model. It can be really hard for companies to suspend their disbelief, and what we do is help companies with that,” said Bate.

Second, companies need to set up small-scale, open-ended pilot projects, with no particular ROI. This can turn up some surprising results, with areas you’d expect to gain followers failing to ignite interest and other niche areas proving popular with users, Bate pointed out. Such projects include setting up internal wikis, instant messaging or the adoption of internal social networking.

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