Need for Speed

October 17, 2016 | #ReIgnite

Until Pokémon Go recently made a mess of the numbers, Need for Speed (NFS) was one of the top games. It would still qualify as one of the all-time top 10, but if 3 is a crowd,…. you decide. For the uninitiated, Need for Speed, also known by its initials NFS, is a racing video game franchise published by Electronic Arts. Since the series released its first title in 1994, Need for Speed has become the most successful racing video game series in the world, and one of the most successful video game franchises of all time.

So aptly named, the title is culled from the 1986 American military action drama film by Paramount Pictures, Top Gun, starring Tom Cruise (Maverick) and Val Kilmer. In 2015, the United States Library of Congress selected the film for preservation in the National Film Registry, finding it “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. If you’ve never seen that movie, it is a classic and a must-watch. “I feel the need… the need for speed!”

Well enough of the movie and the game for now. My interest lies more in the ‘need for speed’ with business and IT today. Maverick represented that attitude quite well, inverting his F-14A Tomcat to tee off the enemy pilot. He pushed the boundaries each opportunity he got, disproving well-established bodies of knowledge in the process. He was daring and adventurous and was happy to take on risk, sometimes uncalculated and with dire consequences.

There’s a lot happening in the world of business today – Big Data, IoT, Analytics, Customer Engagement and much more. It’s all happening very quickly. Consideration for all of these buzzwords is not so much about the technology of it. As with everything else, consideration in any of these areas is driven by profit. Organizations of all kinds, business and government are focused on what profit may be derived by putting these to use. Only 61 of the Fortune-500 businesses of 1955 remained on that list in 2014. That’s only 12% making the cut, but 54 years is a long time. The world is changing, and very quickly too.

Organizations need to leverage models that allow and encourage them to transform, speedily. Fast and Faster must be the catchphrase of any business executive today. Whatever needs are done, must be done fast, and still faster. Skills acquisition, hiring, team development, decision making, ramping up and scaling down, ……whatever the business imperative, it must be done quickly! The speed must increase but without loss of quality.

Businesses and not-for-profit organizations alike must encourage models for tasks and activities that encourage speed for getting products and services to market. Faster time to market, smaller inventories, faster response and delivery times, faster and more precise client feedback using business intelligence and predictive analytics tools.

IT functions must leverage technology and new models that encourage speed and cost reduction. When legacy systems do not deliver the speed that allows us to compete and win, we need to consider models that allow us to transit from these to more responsive, more agile platforms. Consider the adoption of a services model and the use of microservices integrating with legacy systems until these can be replaced or modernized. Consider solutions that demand and allow faster release cycles, faster test data, faster infrastructure provisioning, faster time to resolution, faster skills acquisition, faster product rollouts, faster decommissioning using services models and leveraging the cloud… Fast and Faster (and cheaper?) must be key considerations for every executive. In fact, every individual in every sphere needs to answer these questions severally daily:

  • What is important to do/say/see right now?
  • Is this task important right now?
  • Why is it important?
  • How can I execute this task?
  • How can I execute it fast?
  • How can I execute it more cheaply?
  • How can I execute it faster?

In closing, we must understand that speed is relative. I must evolve and innovate faster with each iteration, but I must also measure against the best in my industry. We need to constantly evaluate the options we consider and the decisions we make and how (well) we execute. If I am not faster and better, soon enough I will lose share. There’s only room enough for so many.

To soar, we must let ourselves feel the need……the need for speed!!!

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