Legacy vs. new ways of working

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Many companies today attribute their operational structures to traditional Industrial Age models that have been around for decades. However, the advent of disruptive technologies, coupled with the reimagined world of work, has gone head-to-head with the long-standing institutions that have historically proven successful. Now more than ever, organizations are emboldened to trade the legacy models of the past for new ways of working to cultivate a human-centric, agile, and dynamic workforce. In fact, given the consensus that the traditional office is a relic of the past, many companies are leading the charge in gradually departing from legacy systems, and even discarding them altogether.
Let’s take a look at one of the most popular models from the Industrial Age, Michael Porter’s Value Chain model.

This is a classic business strategy designed to help companies decide how to achieve a competitive advantage over their rivals. Also called the Five-Forces Competitive Strategy Model, the ‘Value Chain’ is broken down into five main activities: inbound logistics, operations, outbound logistics, marketing and sales, and service.

The objective is to assess how value can be increased for the organization’s products or services by minimizing costs in each step or activity of the chain while maximizing benefits for buyers (customers).

This model worked well for the manufacturing industry in its early phases and has also proven to be a profitable strategy for the service sector. However, with the current evolution of business structures, many companies find that they’re not industry-specific or limited by borders.
More than a few business leaders are seeing how modern times are calling for a departure from this classic model which essentially details how things have been done since the Industrial Age.

This new challenge requires Porter’s Value Chain model to be altered to become more versatile or applicable across different types of organizations.

What the new model is exactly, is certainly yet undefined. However, attempts to define it are currently underway. What we know for sure is that the departure has begun. At best, we are all in a chrysalis, waiting intently for what will result in the new way of doing things, as we let time and pressure do their work at their own pace.

Parker Lee

Parker Lee is the managing partner of Territory, a design consultancy, who has developed and led teams in transformation, design thinking, and business development for decades. Co-author of The Art of Opportunity, he has created and facilitated dozens of design and visual thinking engagements.

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