As Novartis continue with the long battle to protect its patent rights in India, Roche lost the battle to the Indian Cipla’s generic in 2012. Both Novartis and Roche are still struggling for a strategy that would enable them to spread their wings in the $12Bn drugs market that is still 90% capitulated by generics (Routers, 2012) (Economic Times, 2012). As the Swiss global conglomerates venture out further into the international markets from known protected environments, reliance on homegrown business competences may prove to be ineffective and at times generate inertia. Uncertainties and risks from external forces as described above are a norm for the global business that has become increasingly complex and the rate of change is accelerating. The agility to anticipate, adapt, innovate and identify emerging growth opportunities could make or break Swiss businesses in the future.
As the effects of globalization continue to take influence on Swiss business attractiveness, a Swiss Federal Agency Commission study (Outlook 2025, 2011) has highlighted global power shift and development of EU as the major macro economic forces that will play an important role towards shaping the future of the country’s economy. It could result in the trade-off of centuries old economic policies and business practices. Switzerland, long known for innovation delivery and service quality is finding itself at the crossroads of fundamental changes, as it tries to uphold the long-standing business norms. The “Made in Switzerland” brand and the concept of Swiss quality have been challenged by strong competition from abroad and changes in customer service and product utilization patterns (Meyer & Pfannes, 2012). The world has witnessed over the last decade power shift from west to east, shifting directions of EU, increasing impact of emerging economies and a financial crisis on which Switzerland had hardly any influence. The study developed scenarios, as per which, the continued Swiss business competitiveness and maintaining the current healthy balance of export and import (over 11% excess export) as the most decisive factors in shaping the future of Switzerland economy.
Switzerland is renowned for its ability to stay ahead of competition by virtue of Innovation and technological advancement through research and efficient workforce. The question remains, can Switzerland continue to be competitive and push the envelope by increasing efficiencies to stay ahead in an integrated or fragmented global / EU market place? To deliver to today’s networked society, Swiss businesses would require shortened product life-cycles and adaptation to technological advancements. In this context, it is to be noted that every second Franc earned by Swiss corporates come from their export activities.
Big Data is gaining momentum across the world. So much so that Harvard business review has dedicated the October 2012 spotlight on this business idea. Customers, suppliers, employees and business partners are increasingly using mobile and connected devices constantly to gain upper hand and latest information. While traditional approaches to customer relations are increasingly challenged, big data offers enormous opportunity for innovation, crowd sourcing / development, tailored solutions, building online communities that are loyal and for product mavens. However, studies have stated that the optimal use of big data in organizations have faced with organizational inertia. Sizing the opportunity, identifying resources and gaps, alignment of strategic choices and addressing organizational implications remain a challenge for big data utilization (Bughin, Livingston, & Marwaha, 2011). 2013 Global pharmaceutical CEO Survey (PWC, 2013) revealed that 94% of the CEO’s claimed that clients & partners influence their business strategy and 81% are looking for new ways to increase customer engagement. Novartis oncology open partnership was founded to realize the power of collaboration that leads to discovery and development of innovative medicines (Novartis, 2013). Big Data is all about fragmented data, which businesses could relate and mine for their advantage, but not yet part of the corporate strategies of many, as they consider it as too big to tackle.
The changing face of international business context, driving innovation through networked millennial, adapting to the emerging market needs and delivering services to the 21st century customers require transformational leadership capabilities and a new approach to management. Tomorrow’s managers must be capable of leading with minimal authoritative power as employee / employer relations are more and more taking the form of business association. As the globalized world-market evolves, management functions and leadership roles are challenged and transforming as a result. The life cycle of established management principles and leadership models are becoming shorter and shorter analogically to those of today’s products and services. The process of making managers and leaders fit for tomorrow’s business challenges, need to be updated continuously and the business leaders “Made in Switzerland” need to be “Made for the world”.
I believe it is now the time to reflect on past years business trends and ask at industry level questions :
– Can the organization continue to focus on delivering innovation and quality service still be maintained in the midst of competition from emerging markets and consumer trends? –
– What are the main pillars that make my industry any my current positioning, one of the most competitive in the world?
– What makes Switzerland the fertile ground for innovative business for me?
– What forces are at work that are shaking my competitive advantages and which of the new trends should I seriously consider? How can I separate noise from value adding trends?
– What are the different micro- and macroeconomic forces that threaten my business prospects in the future?
– Am I ready to adapt and embrace these changes? How could the Swiss business competitiveness be sustained in the future?
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