The Company of Tomorrow

Issue 1, 2020


The COVID-19 crisis hit the world as this edition of Prism was in preparation. Needless to say, the outlook for business, at least in the short term, has changed radically in just a few weeks. Nevertheless, it’s becoming increasingly clear that one effect of the crisis has been acceleration of trends that were already there, such as virtualization of the workplace, further penetration of digital technologies (for example, AI and the IoT), and “asset-light” business models that make businesses more responsive and resilient to rapid shocks.

So our original pre-COVID theme of “The Company of Tomorrow” is still pertinent, and in fact, in some ways it will be even more so as businesses focus on recovery and regrowth over the coming months and years. As we look ahead, the capacity to adapt, innovate and reinvent – as well as have a strong balance sheet – will be critical.

Our lead article challenges companies to take the first steps towards enabling the company of tomorrow: to take a fresh look at what they really are, and to shape themselves in a new, more flexible and dynamic way, in which capabilities are decoupled from corporate business functions and the external ecosystem is leveraged to the maximum. We provide a view on how to lead the change.

Our next piece zeroes in on the future of companies’ R&D labs. If companies are increasingly shifting from making products to providing solutions – and many are – what does this mean for your R&D function? The answer may surprise you – and by the way, it’s not just about digital technology.

Providing solutions rather than just products is also the theme of our third article. Driven by key trends around customer expectations and digital technology, many companies are finding they can multiply business value by turning their customers into long-term subscribers. However, it’s easier said than done. How should companies go about it?

Up until now, words such as “democratization” and “citizen” haven’t had much of an airing in corporate business speak – but in our fourth article, we suggest this might be about to change. We delve into the increasingly prominent phenomenon of no-code/lowcode software development and look at how companies can use it to create “citizen developers” as a key part of their transformation.

And finally, without apology, our remaining articles address two of the most written-about – though some may say over-hyped – technologies in today’s world: the IoT and blockchain. With the advent of 5G, the IoT is on the cusp of finally delivering the transformational change it always promised, and now is the time for companies to shape up their strategies, particularly when it comes to their own networks. In our final article, we cut through the hype and look at the practicalities of what is needed for blockchain to deliver its huge potential for the global transport industry.

We hope you enjoy our insight, and wish you every success in moving forward from the crisis and shaping up for tomorrow!

Rick Eagar
Chief Editor, Prism

Arthur D.Little

Table of Contents

How to enable the company of tomorrow

Businesses have traditionally organized themselves to ensure optimal effectiveness in each of their business functions. However, shorter product lifecycles, demand for customization, rising consumer expectations, and the growth of automation and data challenge this model. This article explains how success requires organizations to decouple capabilities from business functions, in order to deliver bestin- class performance and enable the company of tomorrow.

Carlos Mira, Juan González, Gregory Pankert, Florence Carlot, Rafael Martinez

The laboratory of the future

Industrial research and development has been transformed by factors such as globalization, specialization and open innovation. To meet growing challenges, R&D needs to change again to create the laboratory of the future, which will focus on putting people at the heart of innovation. We explore three next practices companies can implement now to position themselves for future R&D leadership.

Michael Kolk, Michael Eiden

Turning customers into subscribers – How to successfully make the shift

What customers expect from manufacturing businesses is changing, moving away from outright purchase- to subscription-based models. This offers opportunities and risks for traditional players, providing them with access to greater customer insight, but also lowering barriers for competitors. Based on case examples, this article looks at how manufacturers can make the shift to subscription-based businesses.

Johan Treutiger, Niklas Brundin, Greg Smith, Ingrid af Sandeberg, Alexandra Nybonn, Rick Eagar

Unleashing innovation using low code/no code – The age of the citizen developer

As the saying goes, “software is eating the world,” forcing companies to change their business models and operations. In a highly competitive environment, ensuring they have the required software capabilities is a challenge. This article shows how adopting low-code/no-code techniques enables businesses to widen their options, providing tools for nonspecialist “citizen developers” to digitize and transform their operations.

Greg Smith, Michael Papadopoulos, Joshua Sanz, Michael Grech, Heather Norris

Realizing the potential of the Internet of Things with 5G

Despite the hype, the Internet of Things (IoT) has yet to deliver its promised benefits to industrial companies. The advent of 5G removes many of the technical barriers to its successful adoption, accelerating digitalization. However, as this article explains, realizing the potential of the IoT requires businesses to focus first on their needs and then on the available options to implement the best solutions for future success.

Agron Lasku, Hariprasad Pichai, Rebecka Axelsson Wadman, Sean McDevitt

Blockchain in transport – Awaiting the breakthrough

Blockchain seems the perfect solution for the complex, decentralized supply chains of the transport sector, but results to date have been disappointing. In this article, we analyze the latest global research with industry executives and use the findings to determine what needs to happen for the technology to reach its potential.

Petter Kilefors, Dr. Fabian Doemer, Ingrid af Sandeberg, Tomislav Andric, Philipp Mudersbach, Gustaf Samuelsson, Simon Schmidtke