Alcatel-Lucent's new chief executive, Ben Verwaayen, used his keynote speech at the company's annual enterprise forum in Paris to reiterate the firm's push towards what it calls the dynamic enterprise.
The vision aims to release the knowledge and expertise trapped in certain key employees and processes through the effective implementation of networking tools such as collaboration and unified communications.
Steven Shepard, founder of Shepard Communications Group, was once again master of ceremonies at the presentation, and began by saying that Alcatel-Lucent is aiming to set out strategies and technologies to help businesses deal with the current economic hardships.
"We are not going to define the dynamic enterprise, as we have already done that," he said. "Our goal is to give you the skills and knowledge you need to become a dynamic enterprise. It seems counter-intuitive, but a time of crisis is the best time to invest in innovation."
Verwaayen began his speech by thanking customers and vendors for their trust, custom and feedback, both good and bad.
"In these trying times two things are key to each and every business: confidence and certainty. It's not about point products or the next new gadget, but about understanding human nature and about what people really value," he said.
"We are facing not one but two crises: the shorter term current economic crisis; and a long-term climate change crisis. What do they have in common? Both can be addressed through the growth of a digital knowledge-based economy.
"Creating an infrastructure that allows people to contribute and collaborate quickly and seamlessly without impacting negatively on the climate, can create real value for the company and drive innovation."
Verwaayen foresees both of these challenges helping to accelerate interaction through digital media, both socially and at a business level. The billions being spent on stimulus packages to help kick-start economies around the world and help suffering industries "is not to recreate what we had, but to build what we need", he said.
Tom Burns, chief operating officer for enterprise business at Alcatel-Lucent, went on to outline three strategies for becoming a dynamic enterprise, under the theme of 'Save money, make money'.
The key to unlocking a company's full potential lies in successfully interconnecting the people, networks, processes and knowledge within the organisation, he explained.
"We have the full capability with solutions and products to enable your business transformation," said Burns. "Our role is to help you tie together your greatest assets to become a dynamic enterprise and achieve a sustainable market advantage."
The first strategy is to simplify communication within the organisation, and externally to partners and customers. This will help enhance productivity and cut maintenance costs, according to Burns. However, he warned that it is important to reallocate these savings into spending on research and development, otherwise the short-term benefits will soon be undone by the longer term decline in innovation.
The second strategy is to increase customer satisfaction and relationships. Burns quoted Chris Zook from the Harvard Business School who said that a five per cent increase in customer loyalty can lead to a 40 to 90 per cent increase in the lifetime value of that customer.
Lastly, Burns said that securing and managing data within the enterprise is imperative, not only to prevent damage to the brand through data leaks, but to make sure that everyone has quick and full access to the data they need to be as productive as possible.
"We are not preaching, we are collaborating," concluded Verwaayen. " Customers are our number one, our number two and our number three, and we will do whatever we have to do to deliver on our promises."
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