Stake in the ground
In his first blog post, SAS Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Jim Davis says the decisions you're making right now could set the course for the next 10 years. How are you shaping the business landscape?
Last year I spoke at a Ragan Communications conference held at our Cary headquarters about the value of social media for companies. We've had an active blogging program at SAS for about two years. Inevitably people began asking me when I was going to start a blog. Lately I’ve been turning over some ideas that seem appropriate for this medium.
Working at SAS, a privately held company with a long history of growth and profitability, has certainly helped develop my perspective. Publicly traded markets won’t go away, but maybe we need to change the way companies are valued. Not just by profit but by the value of the intangibles like customer base, intellectual property and the real value of the brand.
For companies that depend on their intellectual property to survive, what do we do in the face of a hungry, global work force made up of highly skilled and intelligent knowledge workers? Thomas Friedman's The World is Flat comes to mind. The playing field has been leveled. We used to think mature markets had the advantage, but in fact they're under the biggest threat as we see what emerging markets – driven by that hunger combined with low labor costs – are capable of.
And what do you do to make your organization ready to face these threats? It's more than just hardware and software, and I say that as a software vendor. What are the intangibles that make an organization ready to compete? What can we do as leaders to influence the people and the attitudes – to create a willingness to change?
Established companies need to break away from what is essentially a mid-20th century vision of the world. No company is impervious to these threats. The decisions we make in 2009 will set the course for the next decade or more, and in many cases will determine whether companies – even big companies like us – will be around in 10 years. Or five. Or two.
Revolutionary insights? No, but this is just my stake in the ground. I'll be developing these themes in future posts, pointing to positive examples of what business leaders are doing to succeed (whether or not they are SAS customers) and what trends are shaping the business landscape. I hope you'll find it worthwhile and worth reading, and I hope you'll give me your feedback and suggestions for how this blog can be worth reading for you.