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By Paul Horowitz

The notion that change is inevitable is as true today as it was back in 1867, when British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli uttered words to that effect. Why, then, the current obsession with managing change and the need for agility in the corporate world?

In our work with clients, we have observed that the nature of organizational change itself has changed. It's gone from episodic-that is, one major upheaval at a time-to a continuous stream of competing, overlapping, and accelerating shifts, all of which must be dealt with at the same time. Gone is the luxury of focusing on a single key initiative like a billion-dollar corporate acquisition. More often, a business must also focus on other make-or-break projects simultaneously, such as waging a multimillion-dollar patent infringement case or securing a promising joint venture in China. Add to that the shock waves resulting from the current economic situation, and the environment becomes even more dynamic.

In the midst of such upheaval, how can companies continue to thrive and stay ahead of competitors, customers, and suppliers? New management structures supported by technology innovations hold promise for true enterprise transformation. This article examines three ways businesses are beginning to harness technology so as to better manage their continually changing environment by reducing complexity, leveraging Web 2.0 technologies, and creating an intelligent business performance platform.1

1 For a more detailed and technically oriented discussion of this topic that your chief information officer may refer to, see our Technology forecast quarterly, Summer 2008,