sábado, 7 de noviembre de 2015

Una llamada de atención al nuevo modelo de negocio de nuestras empresas.
Hasta cuando sigue teniendo sentido el seguir hablando del mercado laboral o de las regulaciones fiscales y financieras tal y como las conocemos. Una nueva tendencia esta emergiendo...

Every aspect of your business is about TO CHANGE...

(Fortune November, 1 2005)


Not all 21st-century corporations are glamorous Silicon Valley startups. They can be of any age and in any industry (even cars). Nike NKE -0.06% is a 21st-century corporation, aggressively reinventing manufacturing with 3D printing and cannily using social media for marketing. General Electric GE 0.94% is becoming one, if partly as a result of shareholder frustration and outside pressure. Every company needs to be one.
The new realities begin at capitalism’s foundation, capital.
In a friction-free economy, a company doesn’t need nearly as much as it used to. Consider the world’s most valuable company, Apple AAPL 0.12% . Unlike Google GOOG 0.34% and Microsoft MSFT 0.99% , the second and third most valuable firms, Apple gets most of its revenue from selling physical products. Yet the company says “substantially all” of its products are made by others. Because it can coordinate vastly complex global supply chains, it can pay those firms, mostly Foxconn, to make its products and get them where they need to be on time. Apple has even rented other companies’ servers to host its iCloud service so that it can add or remove capacity easily, paying only for what it needs.
The U.S. government classifies Apple as a manufacturer, and with some 500 brick-and-mortar stores worldwide, its total capital—$172 billion of it, according to the EVA Dimensions consulting firm—is immense. But in traditional models it would need much more. Its achievement is using that capital to stunning effect, creating a market value of $639 billion. By comparison, Exxon Mobil XOM -0.40% uses far more capital, $304 billion, to create a market value, $330 billion, that’s barely half as much as Apple’s.
Those are companies that make and sell physical stuff. A friction-free economy also enables companies with virtually no physical capital to compete powerfully with capital-heavy incumbents. It’s often observed with wonder that Alibaba BABA -2.07% is the world’s most valuable retailer but holds no inventory, that Airbnb is the world’s largest provider of accommodations but owns no real estate, and that Uber is the world’s largest car service but owns no cars. Each has found ingenious ways to take friction out of its industry, connecting buyers and sellers directly and conveniently, enabling new, nearly capital-free business models.
Most businesses will have to create value in new ways or lose out to competitors that do so, often with Internet-enabled business models. The trend is as old as the Internet’s early days, when a slew of web insurance upstarts forced term-life premiums to plunge 50% or more—and when user-friendly hotel- and airline-booking sites put some 18,000 travel agents out of business almost overnight. Now entrepreneurs are extending the trend into physical products in sophisticated ways. Warby Parker sells high-quality eyeglasses for a small fraction of what traditional retailers charge by using a low-friction online model; private investors recently valued the firm at $1.2 billion. Even an industry that seems highly resistant to online disruption, consumer packaged goods, is threatened. Harry’s and Dollar Shave Club, which make and sell men’s grooming products online, are forcing Gillette (owned by Procter & Gamble) PG -1.07% to promote its wares on value, not just quality, for the first time.
The 21st-century corporation will increasingly be an idea-based business, operating not just in infotech but also in media, finance, pharmaceuticals, and other industries that consume lots of brainpower. McKinsey finds that while “asset-light, idea-intensive sectors” generated 17% of Western companies’ profits in 1999, they generate 31% today. The losers in that shift are capital- and labor-intensive sectors like construction, transportation, utilities, and mining. That doesn’t mean companies in those industries are doomed. As Tesla shows, they may be able to prosper if they’re reimagined.
Some of the deepest rethinking to be done by 21st-century employers will follow from this question: What happens when the labor market becomes friction-free?
It’s clearly headed that way, as the rise of the gig economy shows. Companies still employ full-time workers who aren’t really needed full time, but keeping them on staff is easier than constantly hiring and firing. At least it used to be. Now employers are hiring millions of workers worldwide to do information-based work through online marketplaces such as Upwork; each worker is rated by previous employers, and you don’t pay unless you’re satisfied with the work. While much of the work is routine, like language translation, a marketplace called HourlyNerd rents out former consultants and top business-school graduates to help with strategic planning, financial analysis, and other high-level tasks; customers are mostly small and medium-size businesses but have also included giants like General Electric and Microsoft.
Project the trend a few steps further, and the whole model of employment could change fundamentally. Employee-owned businesses are likely to increase, but they’re just one option among many, which may eventually include a far more radical structure. Former Cisco CSCO 0.07% CEO John Chambers said in June that “soon you’ll see huge companies with just two employees—the CEO and the CIO.” It’s crazy, except that Chambers has a record of making crazy predictions (like opening your hotel-room door with your smartphone) that eventually come true.
After all, why do companies exist? The English economist Ronald Coase won a Nobel Prize in economics for answering that question. In the theoretical world, the global economy spins like a top based on price signals between individual operators, with no apparent need for big companies. But in the real world, as Coase pointed out, “there are negotiations to be undertaken, contracts have to be drawn up, inspections have to be made, arrangements have to be made to settle disputes, and so on.” That is, there are transaction costs—friction—and consolidating transactions inside companies is the most efficient way of handling them. Now, as technology shrinks those costs, many companies are unbundling themselves, outsourcing functions to others, crowdsourcing R&D, and exchanging employees for contractors. A continual Hollywood model, in which people and resources come together to achieve a goal and then disperse to other projects, may become common across the economy. It’s happening already.
The good news is that accelerating change, creative destruction, and new business models are all opportunities for the venturesome. A unifying theme as the economy transforms is that in almost every business, barriers to entry are coming down. Opportunity is more widely available than ever. Every person and every organization can possess the 21st century’s most valuable assets: openness to new ideas, ingenuity, and imagination.