Global scale from local lessons learned
Going Hybrid with Deepak Subbarao: Today
National and international entities are booming in today’s connected environment. Technologies like the cloud, high-speed internet, and mobile devices are the building blocks for a new, far-reaching and agile corporate structure. Businesses are learning how an organized model that aligns with industry needs creates a competitive advantage, but it’s taken some trial and error.
Evolving Business Models
In the 1990s, centralized models where the nucleus was dictating corporate terms dominated. This posed a problem as corporations began to spread out regionally or geographically, because those centers became out of sync with the reality on the ground. The arms of the corporation required autonomy to provide effective solutions for local markets.
Corporations overcorrected in the early 2000s. As each location became siloed, individual infrastructures were created. This autonomy allowed for speed and agility locally, but scaling these operations into other siloed infrastructures became expensive and impractical.
The Best of Both Worlds
Today, hybrid models leverage both models with the right amount of governance. Let’s say we have a company who has physical locations all around the world. Over the last few years, there has been a push to the cloud. It can be less expensive and has a farther reach. Does that mean everything should go on the cloud? No. There is security risk of putting corporate resources on a public cloud. Individual centers may be affected by a decrease in speed from taking things off their local servers. CIOs are seeing that there is a benefit and need for both, and a hybrid model is born.
Hub and Spoke Model
Deploying this hybrid philosophy through a hub and spoke model means that the center of governance still supplies the infrastructure necessary to run a tight, aligned ship, but also gives autonomy to the spokes to deploy localized solutions for individual problems.
Using robotic process automation (RPA) as an example, a corporation’s center, or hub, choses a solution and creates the infrastructure for that solution. Since this takes place at the hub, scaling out across the spokes is easy. However, if the solution isn’t the right fit for a localized entity’s needs or culture, the solution can be adapted or not adopted at all. It is then up to the local arms of the entity to consider their specific needs and have the foresight and freedom to adopt individual solutions while maintaining the integrity of the supply chain.
The Big Picture
It is a corporation’s responsibility to appeal to the majority of their stakeholders. If a business solution is forced down the line, let’s say because too many licenses were purchased and all of the sudden there’s this panic to use them, the entire wheel isn’t being taken into account. It is only when the wheel is thought of holistically that the competitive advantage of a hybrid model is realized. Attempting to force change from the hub without taking into consideration the individual needs of each spoke is unsustainable.
When deciding on the elements of an operating model, the hub must be able to zoom in and zoom out. KPIs that aren't created holistically are a drain on talent and resources and ultimately lead to failure. The center provides the resources for infrastructure, upscaling capabilities, and security, but sustaining and training on those models is left up to the spokes so they can customize their model around their local corporate culture and needs.
The key is to create a model that is very tightly aligned the business needs while continuously being updated and refreshed. Communication and decision-making power flows in and out of the hub and spokes in an agile way, because businesses and solutions change at a rapid pace, and a near-real-time-adaption in the organization’s model is required. The supply chain must be able to rapidly adapt in order to take advantage of the structured flexibility a hybrid model offers.