Paul-SantilliBy Paul Santilli
Worldwide OEM Industry Intelligence and Strategy,
Hewlett Packard Enterprise


To any data professional in the business of contributing to the growth of a company, it is a given that timely, relevant market, industry and competitive intelligence information is paramount, especially in today’s disruption-driven environment. Seamless collection, analysis, taxonomy, strategy development and execution is essential, and doing this faster and more accurately than your competitor is a consistent recipe for success.

But many companies are unable to fully harness the power of data, or to transform its nature into one that can actually serve the organization. Fundamental questions arise on its strategic importance, and the ability to implement and execute on its value given the multitudes of complex interactions between company operations, and organizational priorities and communications. This can lead to fragmented and incomplete execution of deliverables, and missed windows of opportunities to “strike while the iron is hot” against competitive moves and disruptive industry shifts.

Cultural Shifts

There are certainly shifts in organizational priorities and related culture on customer focus, product development, supply chain management and other highly susceptible processes under a “perpetual disruptive” microscope associated with the latest pandemic crisis. As I have constantly stated in my writings, given the new 4th Industrial Revolution context (and moreover with the COVID-19 implications), organizations are actually in a constant state of “disruption,” whereas only the magnitude of the disruption can vary over time. Now culturally, we are all waiting to return to the “new normal.” Unfortunately, no one can tell you what the “new normal” is going to be;  there are as many perspectives in what this definition is comprised of as there are in the number of people giving the perspective!  I have never been comfortable with this “new normal” terminology because it implies some sort of steady-state or constant behavior that should be perceived as being “comfortable and predictable.” Viewing sociological and organizational dynamics in that light is myopic and outright dangerous.

The current COVID-19 high-magnitude disruption has certainly affected everyone. But from an organizational sense, there are some companies that have been devastatingly affected, while others seem to “weather the storm” or even prosper under these conditions. And, given the nature of disruption as a whole, there is often little to no time of advance warning as to when, or how bad the magnitude is going to be. (Remember how the initial reaction to COVID-19 was to simply implement a 2-week “flatten the curve” universal response?)

To this point, I recognize 3 states of organizational reaction to disruption:

  • AMPLIFICATION – The inherent strengths and weakness within a company are going to be amplified given the nature of the impact. Organizations that have weak supply chains, fragmented product delivery mechanisms, inefficient Go-To-Market capabilities and a general misunderstanding of customer needs will suffer greatly. On the contrary, those organizations that have variable supply chains, a keen understanding of customer transitional needs, and a strong financial position can do well under these circumstances.
  • ACCELERATION – The trajectory of the value proposition and the company roadmap will be accelerated under disruptive platforms. This is usually characterized by an organization’s ability to adapt towards a digital transformation model, whether you are in a main-stream or niche market. Customer buying patterns have already changed far before COVID-19 considerations, and without a sound digital means of meeting customer requirements, companies were already positioned for failure when their business model came under duress. Alternatively, organizations that have successfully implemented both an internal and external-facing digital transformation of their business model are significantly more likely to withstand the changes that were accelerated under the disruption and essentially became proactive in their ability to service their customers.
  • AUGMENTATION – The ability to have flexibility around a company’s product and services portfolio is now required in order to pivot your offerings to be more in line with customer demands. Under the COVID-19 pandemic, disruption occurred on not only a global scale, but seriously infiltrated the day-to-day typical behaviors of all humans on the planet. This level of intrusion into our lives has dictated changes not only to products and services, but to behaviors and mindsets. With this comes change in customer needs and expectations. Augmenting your portfolio with products that might utilize similar technology for a deliverable that is different from your product set, but can be augmented to satisfy a new requirement or customers demand is desirable. (Examples include: distilleries changing to manufacturing hand-sanitizers, automobile manufacturers changing to making ventilators, etc).

The bottom line is that perpetual disruption means we are in a state of constant change. We MUST get out of the nature of viewing disruption as events, and recognize the fact that this uncomfortable nature of constant management of change IS the “new norm.” And those corporate cultures that can adapt and integrate this mindset into the corporate DNA continuum will be most successful in not only weathering high-magnitude disruptive activity, but moreover, will use these activities as growth enablers for their organization.

Add to this perpetual disruption the onslaught of tremendous volumes of data that is being generated continuously and it comes as no surprise that organizations are faced with the daunting task of trying to create a business strategy that actually is representative of this fast-changing business landscape.

As you can imagine, the real challenge comes in ascertaining the relevant “golden nuggets” of content that will truly define some strategy around your business modeling and how it can translate into business growth. There are many automated tools that can provide fast, accurate and relative information that can take much of the heavy-lifting out of the data compilation and analytics part of the equation. But the ability to act on this in a rapidly changing industry climate is reliant on the flexibility of your organization and how well execution plans are carried out.

So how does one apply an intelligence-driven model towards demand generation within this perpetual-disruption environment? Part two of this article will focus on execution and extracting value from the large volume of data being created via a demand-generation roadmap.

Paul Santilli is a 24 year veteran of Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and currently leads the HPE Worldwide (WW) Industry Intelligence & Strategy Organization for the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Solutions Business. He is a recognized thought leader in Data Analytics Modeling around Industry Intelligence, Insights and Strategy, and chairs Executive Customer Councils and Industry Advisory Boards globally.


Paul also serves as Chairman of the Strategic Competitive Intelligence Professionals (SCIP) Board of Directors Executive Committee and is active in several advisory roles to industry conferences and forums.  Paul presents worldwide on Intelligence, Innovation, and Strategy in keynote and executive coaching capacities, and has published numerous papers in industry and academic journals related to Intelligence Modeling, Innovation, Disruption, and Strategy. Prior to HPE, Paul contributed 10 years at Apple Computer in various leadership roles around Quality, Operations and Product Development.