Secret to Success
Naresh Wadhwa, President and Country Manager, Cisco India and SAARC
Globally, there are many successful companies, although only a handful of them manage to sustain their success over a long period of time. Those who do are the ones who command respect from the industry and have the ability to stand firm and tall despite adversities. These are the companies that have earned adoration because of innovations that they churn out through their `fresh' ideas and are admired for their fanatical customer base.
This means that in order to remain successful over time, companies have to constantly evolve their products, services and offerings to suit their customers' changing requirements. They need to keep their eyes and ears open - closely tracking market trends and shaping their strategies accordingly.
In today's global economy, innovation is the name of the game and companies that have single-handedly managed to change the way they do things and engage with the world around them, are the ones that customers trust. Achieving trust and brand loyalty means that customers are reassured that the company will tell them exactly what they need to know and indicating how comfortable customers have become with the organization.
Undoubtedly customers' trust helps build corporate reputations. Having the foresight to restructure the organization based on changing market needs helps to strengthen customer base and exploit the opportunities that are available for further growth. Strong financial results and an understanding of the market to accurately predict the future, is the key for companies to ensure that their innovations become a competitive advantage and help sustain leadership.
Cisco for example has a proven track record of successfully capturing market transitions. Beginning in 1997 with the reality that voice and video would all be one, the company moved to the network of networks in 2000 when the Network became the platform for all related technologies and the core of customer solutions. The most recent market transition of collaboration and Web 2.0 technologies was achieved by listening closely to customers, understanding their needs, ideas, challenges and designing solutions to ensure their future success.
The credibility for effectively managing resources also contributes to a company's success. Successful companies are the ones that have demonstrated leadership competency and have an acute understanding of business processes along with skills in business transformation, governance, talent management and communications.
Effective use of information and knowledge in business units, developing appropriate information, people and IT capabilities, understanding how process changes affect behaviors and information practices in the company also impact business success. Restructuring the operations to improve productivity and considering alternative technology acquisition strategies, helps grow new business models and enables the move from CapEx to OpEx.
The key to success is also the ability to articulate more explicitly how technology delivers value to business, across all levels of the organization. Having a forum for sharing ideas and engaging people in communication and the process of change allows for consensus and buy in on strategic decisions and helps in relationship building, which is another requirement for an organizations success. Just like customers, employee feedback helps to create new programs for improvement. Feedback from employees is also an honest indicator of how organizations remain competitive in their employment practices with peers.
A company's capability to weather any economic situation 'relatively well' is another metric upon which it is judged. Dealing with economic crisis using company resources to make acquisitions for example, helps to register strong revenue growth and profit for a long period while adding to its value both in the market as well as in the eyes of its customers and investors. Having rock-solid staying power despite all gyrations is a testament to the lasting value that a company creates. Adjusting nimbly to any crisis reflects the predictability and consistency of an organization above all else.
To be successful a company will not compromise on what matters most - integrity, trust and reputation are not mere terms for the companies which are on the list of the most admired; they are durable assets which come with a financial payoff.