Geoffrey Moore: The Tide has Turned

In a recent Blog post as part of the LinkedIn thought leadership series, Geoffrey Moore states that The Tide has Turned. He sees signals that the consumer IT boom has peaked and the focus will shift to the enterprise. Here is a quote from his post – including a very powerful line – which I underlined:

“2013, in my view, will be the first of five to seven very productive years for IT vendors serving the enterprise, as sector after sector in our economy and around the world capitulates to digital transformation.”

I think he’s right about 2013, and I outlined my Thoughts at the end of 2012. Mr. Moore uses the word capitulate – and I believe he chose the perfect word. To capitulate means to give up resistance, and that implies that digital transformation is a foregone conclusion. To resist is futile – yet through 2012, so many companies continued to do just that. Now that we are almost through January, I’m seeing signs of the tide turning. There is a fundamental shift in the way companies are looking at digital. For although digital is the underlying cause of disruption across sectors; it is also the enabler of next generation enterprises. When viewed through that lens, the need to transform becomes much more apparent. Many more discussions must start with digital disruption as the business driver, and then shift to digital as the enabler. We could be moving in this direction – as isolated conversations about Social, Mobile, Big Data, and Cloud, shift to a business conversation where the convergence of these innovations plays a vital role.

So what am I seeing specifically that is so encouraging? Well first of all, I’m hearing the “strategy” word a lot more frequently. Instead of endless dialog about Facebook pages and Twitter presence, I’m hearing about intended business outcomes and the role social can play to deliver them. Instead of discussions about building an “app”, I’m hearing about mobile as an enabler of business objectives. Even more encouraging, mobile and social discussions are starting to occur in the same conversation; a clear indication that a focus on innovation convergence is likely in 2013. Although Big Data is still a hot topic, it is refreshing to be talking about the business insight needed to deliver outcomes. For example, social analytics is shifting from the “that’s nice to know” stage to the “I need insight that drives outcome-enabling action” stage. It is clear that the market is ready for social analytics at a much deeper level. Understanding sentiment has its value, but companies need analytics to deliver so much more. To deliver the type of insight required by this next stage, intelligent filtering is critical – and domain knowledge will play an increasingly important role in providing that filtering.

Although I don’t hear people specifically using the term “Systems of Engagement”, it is clear where these discussions are headed. It is the convergence of innovation that forms the foundation for systems of engagement, and the new found focus on that convergence begins the journey. In his post, Geoffrey Moore reiterates his belief that systems of engagement will take precedence over systems of record, and the synthesis of the two will be a key component of digital transformation. He points to a pressing issue that serves as a potential obstacle: enabling talent has been focused on the consumer IT boom and must shift to the enterprise if we are to succeed. I’ve seen this first hand, as we formed a next-generation services team inside TCS leveraging consumer IT talent. But maybe more importantly, business side talent and domain knowledge (digital and sector) has been a key component of our strategy – as technology increasingly moves out of the back office.

Last but not least, Mr. Moore focuses on the societal returns that are enabled by this shift from consumer IT to the enterprise. I’ll leave you with his direct quote:

“Do you want to spend your next decade developing more digital distractions to amuse people while they stand in line at Starbuck’s, or do you want to take the human race to the next plateau?”

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