A quick glance of business news shows that few things are growing these days. Economies are slowing down (China), stagnant (USA) or in recession (Greece, Spain, Portugal et al), and even 401Ks are barely hanging on with the new normal of 1-2% growth (if you’re lucky). And while global CEOs, presidents, and prime ministers stay up at night worrying how to ignite growth, in many instances the foundation—or infrastructure—to support growth is severely lacking.
Growth is a national and global obsession. Countries seek to grow their industry competitiveness and tax base. Companies seek to grow their customer base, revenues and profitability. Individuals seek to grow job skills, knowledge and paychecks. And there are few corporate or country agendas that lack plans for creation of business, innovation, and even employment. In short, “growth” is a hot topic.
However, in terms of growth, it’s difficult to get from Point A to B without the supporting infrastructure.
For example, the Financial Times reports that while Indonesia has been one of the few bright spots for growth (6% in 2011); there’s plenty of missed opportunity. There’s more goods coming in and out of the country than Indonesia’s airports, roads, and bridges can handle. Aircraft wait in the sky for places to land, boats waste time as they cannot dock and unload their cargo, and goods sit on the ground longing for delivery trucks. Indonesia’s creaking and decayed infrastructure is costing its citizens plenty of favorable advantage.
And breakneck growth in India is also an issue as poor planning and lack of infrastructure hurts this country’s prospects for a brighter future. Another Financial Times article mentions how some Indian mega-cities haven’t kept up with the massive influx of people seeking factory jobs; “Once pleasant (towns) are congested, chaotic mess(es) with snarled traffic, housing shortages and a frenzied edge.” The article also cites overwhelmed sewers, poor drainage, and lack of city planning where slums sit next door to factories. “It’s just haphazard growth,” says one businessman.
Growth without a plan isn’t a recipe for success, and growth without investment in infrastructure leads to an execution nightmare.
That’s why capacity management is so important. Proper capacity management seeks to spare companies (and countries) from hardship by anticipating growth trends so leaders can lay a foundation to support innovation and drive financial value. Capacity Management seeks to understand a “current state”, and also provide a vision of “where you want to be in the future”. These plans examine today’s data, extrapolate trends, and recommend a path of investment in talent and infrastructure to meet the needs of tomorrow and possibly three, five and even ten years from now.
And some trends are obvious; especially predictions for growth in “Big Data” where firms like IDC anticipate by 2020, the amount of data generated each year will reach 35 zetabytes. Linear planning strategies in this instance aren’t going to help your company survive this data onslaught.
Examine trends in your industry. What kinds of growth do you see? What trends appear linear but could explode into exponential curves? How would you rate your infrastructure today, and its ability to accommodate future growth?
Is your infrastructure ready to welcome new customers, revenues and profits? Have you the right talent and skills to succeed today and five years from now?
Or will you –like the countries of India and Indonesia—leave opportunity sitting on the doorstep?