Listen Up IT: Ford Drops Almost All Passenger Cars and You Should Too
What Ford’s change says about flexibility and why IT should pay attention.
Ford Motor Company announced earlier this year its plan to stop production of all passenger sedans except for two: the Ford Mustang and the Focus Active. Citing plunging sales and declining profits from its passenger car lineup, Ford will shift its resources to the booming market segments: pickups, SUVs and crossover-utility vehicles, according to CEO Jim Hackett.
So, what does Ford’s elimination of familiar nameplates as the Taurus, Fusion and Fiesta have to do with IT? One word: Agility. Ford is recognizing a seismic shift in the consumer automobile market – a shift IT professionals have also seen coming (at least those who’ve been paying attention). Consumers, like enterprise organization, want agility, flexibility and options. Consumers want the passenger room of a sedan with the ability to haul things in the bed of a truck or carry loads with an SUV. Similarly, enterprise organizations want the reliability of on-premise solutions with the flexibility of cloud or SaaS service offerings.
As the consumer auto market pivots to meet consumer demand, technology companies are also taking note of customer needs and developing solutions to fit those needs. While the needs of a dedicated data center on 400 acres in the rural mid-west are not completely gone, organizations are taking advantage of the flexibility that cloud services offers. Enterprise organizations want the ability to adapt to ever changing needs while having the reliability that “the family sedan” would offer. Goodbye Griswold family station wagon – hello sleek SUV with a tow package.
Check out this sweet 1991 Taurus market launch commercial. Those were the days!
Video via Youtube
In looking at the changing needs of customers – both internal and external – companies are making significant investments in technologies that are adaptable, agile and scalable. What an organization needs today (seating for 4) will not necessarily be what the organization needs in two years (seating for 6 and room for cargo and a trailer hitch just in case). How does an organization – like a family – predict what its needs will be in the coming years? Ask an expert.
The ability to predict what an organization will need in coming years is not as much science and algorithms as experience. If an organization – a hospital group for example – is planning to acquire additional hospitals or clinics in the near future, the purchasing group should have a full understanding of what the future acquisition will entail. In essence, how many people do you plan to seat in your car five years from now? Understanding future needs will ensure that the organization isn’t cramped in a 4-seat Fiesta when they really needed a Ford F-250 with a tow package (no offense you Fiesta lovers, we get it).
As the automobile market continues to shift towards more flexible, agile options to meet consumer demand, organizations should ensure their IT posture and strategy is trending the same direction. From mobile shopping and delivery services to on-demand healthcare professionals via tele-medicine, IT is recognizing the demand for agility. Those that do not, will be left in the consumer wasteland with the beloved (but obsolete) family Taurus station wagon.