Digital Enterprise Road Map Series: Part 1 – Strategy

I’ve spent time in the past year writing about the emerging digital enterprise. I want to shift my focus to the road map required to become one. This is the first in a six part series that examines the digital enterprise journey and provides a perspective on the steps along the way. These steps can be grouped into six key categories:

  1. Developing a holistic strategy
  2. Creating experienced-based differentiation
  3. Creating an integrated social ecosystem
  4. Developing systems of engagement and integrating to systems of record
  5. Enabling right-time in-the-moment effectiveness
  6. Moving insight delivery from descriptive to prescriptive 

Part one of this series focuses on developing a holistic strategy. There are nine elements of a holistic digital enterprise strategy. The first critical element is managing innovation convergence. In a post last year, I described what happens When Innovations Collide. The isolated focus on key innovations like, Mobile, Social, Cloud, Big Data, Analytics and the Internet of Things, fails to exploit the value created by their intersection. A holistic strategy must effectively focus on this intersection.

The second element is the enablement of digital enterprise characteristics. This is perhaps the most critical element of the strategy, as it is these digital enterprise characteristics that enable future competitive advantage:

  • Service-oriented
  • Relationship-based
  • Insight, engagement and design driven
  • Powered by knowledge, creativity and ideas
  • Open, agile and collaborative
  • Ability to listen, adapt, and respond
  • Fast, iterative and experimental

The third element of the strategy helps to clarify ecosystem positioning. An earlier post described the increasing focus on Value Ecosystems. More and more companies will need to identify the relevant ecosystem(s) that they should participate in. Once identified, their ecosystem(s) role must be determined. The critical piece of this strategic element is the identification of the necessary relationships within the ecosystem(s). It Comes down to Collaboration Excellence and therefore managing these relationships must become a core competence if companies are to succeed.

The fourth strategic element focuses on future business and operating models. I am a big believer that Operating Models will Change, as a number of business and innovation disruptors both challenge existing models and present opportunities for new ones. Assessing these disruptors and their impact to current models is task number one. The strategy should enable the development of new models and offerings that drive new revenue streams, and the effective redesign of existing operating models.

Creating next generation efficiency is the focus of the fifth strategic element. This next generation is enabled by the convergence of innovation described above. Key elements of this strategy include both Smart Automation and Smart Optimization approaches as described in this post on The Internet of Things.

The System of Engagement phenomenon is the focus of the sixth strategic element: enabling effectiveness through engagement and collaboration excellence. The key activities associated with the strategic planning process include: enabling systems of engagement, delivering consumer-like experiences, integrating systems of engagement with systems of record, creating a sense and respond system, enabling right-time in-the-moment effectiveness, establishing a relationship culture, and developing relationship management skills.

Close behind collaboration excellence as a core competence is analytic excellence. The seventh strategic element therefore is enabling analytic excellence. The Role of Analytics is Evolving and there are several key activities that are critical to establishing a differentiated level of excellence. These are: moving from a descriptive-to-prescriptive insight paradigm, establishing an analytic center of excellence, evolving existing business intelligence capabilities, developing advanced analytic and Big Data capabilities, and developing analytic applications.

In addition to the isolated focus on various innovation areas, companies have redundant initiatives in place across their organizations. The eighth strategic element addresses this problem by harmonizing and rationalizing cross-organizational initiatives. To accomplish this, critical activities include: identifying existing initiatives across functions, finding overlap and redundancy, developing a harmonization road map, evaluating proposed initiatives, developing an initiative portfolio, prioritizing initiatives, and lastly, aligning Business and IT.

The ninth and last piece of holistic strategy may be the most difficult. Geoffrey Moore has described the future of design as edge-driven with an adaptive core. As opposed to our core systems driving our design and forcing the edge to adapt, the design principle has flipped. The edge will now drive our design and our core must adapt. The critical elements of this strategy are: consumer-like experiences, service-oriented architectures, and a modern core platform.

That’s a look at the holistic strategy component of our digital enterprise road map. In part two, we will focus on creating experience-based differentiation.

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