How Would you Fill in the Blank: ____ Enterprise?

“This is the dawn of the mobile enterprise and as a result, digital strategists must think beyond the idea of a social business”. That’s a quote from a recent post titled Investing in the Mobile Enterprise, written by Brian Solis, a Principal at Altimeter Group. Mobile, much like social, is clearly a critical element of the future enterprise; but so are Big Data, Cloud Computing, and who knows what else in the coming years. One thing is clear: the future Enterprise will not resemble the current Enterprise, as we enter a very transformative period that promises to impact the very structure of our organizations.

The key questions: what does this future enterprise look like and what do we call it? Enterprise 2.0 by its very name was to be the next iteration of the enterprise. With social at its core, companies would leverage the collaborative, coordination and communication strengths of Enterprise 2.0 to drive the new adaptive Enterprise. But arguably a large portion of the social focus has been on social media versus what many now call social business – a better way to describe what Enterprise 2.0 was originally all about. Now the Mobile Enterprise is dawning. Don’t get me wrong, all of these labels and their underlying drivers are ushering in this transformative period. But at this pace, we will continue to create new labels for this future enterprise each time a new major innovation hits the scene. Many can debate the characteristics of the future Enterprise; I focus on this list of attributes:

  • Sustained innovation: increased specialization
  • Relationship-based: open & collaborative
  • Fading hierarchy: diminished command & control
  • Adaptive: flexibility in operating and business models
  • Engagement driven: Experiential versus transactional
  • Insight driven: Prescriptive
  • Design principles: Mobile first and Context-aware
  • Business Technology driven: NOT Information Technology

Digital is the fundamental component of this transformation. The broader view of digital, represented by traditional web channels, Social, Mobile, Cloud, Big Data, Consumerization, and the Internet of Things, forms the foundation for the future Enterprise. As such, I believe the most accurate name for this future enterprise is “Digital Enterprise”. I talked about this in an earlier post that described The Early Stages of the Digital Enterprise Journey.

This may seem like semantics, but I believe the various labels – much like the various COEs that are emerging – point to a bigger issue: we still view the innovation components of the future Enterprise in isolation. Thinking in terms of a Digital Enterprise starts to force a transition to a more holistic perspective. This perspective accounts for all aspects of the coming transformation: the Mobile Enterprise, Social Business, Systems of engagement, the insight required to inform interactions, the enabling power of the Cloud, gamification, etc. I firmly believe there is no other way to attain Digital Enterprise status and exhibit the characteristics defined above.

“This is the dawn of the mobile enterprise and as a result, digital strategists must think beyond the idea of a social business”.

I would change this to say:

“This is the dawn of the Digital Enterprise and as a result, digital strategists must widen their lens, take a holistic perspective, and lead the coming transformation”.

3 thoughts on “How Would you Fill in the Blank: ____ Enterprise?

  1. Mobile Enterprise, indeed! Now, if all those multi-nationals that pride themselves on being adaptive and cutting edge would only accept this reality and stop requiring all employees be physically present in an office for some period of time each week. Knowledge workers have less and less need to be in corporate office. Companies should leverage this reality, and shed all those last century real estate holdings. Just think how many employees could be saved/added with the leftover change!


  2. Beverly – it clearly is a new world, and I do believe that companies will embrace the scenario you outlined as they adopt systems of engagement. The question is one of timing. I’m hoping the more progressive companies see the changes that the knowledge economy requires – and respond accordingly.


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