Around seven years ago, Netscape founder and venture capitalist Marc Andreesen famously said, “Software is eating the world.” Today, we can see that his prediction has come true. The top 5 publicly traded companies by market capitalization are all software companies—Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook. These companies have leveraged digital technologies to disrupt numerous industries and displace many companies from their pedestals. According to Accenture CEO Pierre Nanterme, “Digital is the main reason just over half of the companies on the Fortune 500 have disappeared since the year 2000.”
One of the business realities in the digital age is that organizations have become increasingly boundary-less. Uber has more than a million drivers across the world, but not one of them is on their payroll. Airbnb delivers great accommodation experience for travellers across the world, but not one of the rooms it offers is theirs. In essence, these organizations operate in a boundary-less fashion, leveraging assets and people outside their organization to deliver value to the customer. Furthermore, there is a marked shift in the labour market towards freelancing, a trend now called the “gig economy”. According to a 2015 Intuit study, 43% of the US workforce will be freelancing by 2020. This fundamentally alters how leaders need to think about organizational boundaries.
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