Digital Enterprise Road Map Series: Part 5 -Effectiveness


In part five of our Digital Enterprise road map series, we focus on business effectiveness. Efficiency dominated the last two decades with a focus on doing things in the right manner. But the next decade brings an increased focus on doing the right things – also known as effectiveness. The overarching goal of effectiveness is to drive desired outcomes and encourage innovation to meet enterprise goals. This simple statement has far reaching implications and represents one of the strongest drivers of enterprise change in this next decade. If I were to place one long term bet, it would be on the enablers of enterprise effectiveness.

To drive business effectiveness, each element of the value ecosystem must be considered – and it starts with an outside-in view of the role played by each ecosystem stakeholder. A holistic effectiveness strategy and road map has the potential to:

  • Drive optimal business outcomes
  • Make every moment of engagement an optimal one
  • Make every decision a smarter one
  • Drive course correction in real-time
  • Drive rapid and iterative strategic planning
  • Enable future enterprise Characteristics

Holistic systems of engagement are a major piece of the effectiveness road map. But without structural change (organization, process, policies, procedures, etc.) the road to effectiveness will be a difficult one. I believe that effectiveness holds the key to future enterprise success, and as such, I am certain that considerable structural change is likely in the coming decade. Beyond structural change, the convergence of Mobile, Social, Big Data, Analytics, The Internet of Things, and Cloud Computing provide a platform for effectiveness. Collectively, the platform delivers the core elements of the effectiveness road map.

Enabling right-time in-the-moment effectiveness

In-the-moment can span seconds or weeks depending on the circumstances. It can mean a current customer interaction that requires real-time insight to drive the next best action, or the timely analysis of a claim to determine the appropriate course of action. In any case, windows for decision making are shrinking and now require analytics at the speed of stakeholder experiences. As colleague Tonya McKinney describes it: we are dealing with micro-cycles of engagement. These micro-cycles create our moments of need, and effectiveness is now a clear differentiator. Effectiveness can be achieved through action-enabling insight, and the facilitator is the Google-like question and answer paradigm so familiar to all of us. IBM Watson showed us the art of the possible when it defeated two Jeopardy champions. Now, rapid advancements in the price and performance of technology make realizing this question and answer paradigm achievable and economical for a wide range of use cases.

The sense and respond systems described in Part 4 of this series are enabled by the same mechanics that drive the question and answer model. In one scenario, these systems sense stimuli in the ecosystem and enable a timely response. An example would be a tweet that references a fire at a factory within a company’s supply chain. Sensing that event enables the company to drive a rapid response. Another scenario leverages interaction histories to provide context in support of a particular moment of engagement. Still another scenario leverages rapid simulations to inform critical decisions or adjust a current strategy. But how will these sense and respond systems evolve? Big Data and advanced analytics are a key piece of this evolution; and Fast Data will soon be another buzzword added to the mix. This Forbes Article defines fast data as the continuous access and processing of events and data in real-time for the purposes of gaining instant awareness and instant action

Fast Data combines with Big Data to find new opportunities and enable a rapid response. It’s the timeliness of response or decision that matters, and this article on In-Memory Analytics anticipates a time when in-memory infrastructures could deliver an order-of-magnitude improvement in the responsiveness of next-best-action environments. In a recent  Survey nearly 75% of respondents believe that in-memory technology is important to competitive advantage. In-memory analytics delivers data-driven decision making to a broader set of individuals at all levels of the organization – and this is critical to effectiveness at scale.

While speed is one driver, quality of insight is another. In-the-moment effectiveness is inhibited by organizational and data silos. These silos – which may actually be getting worse due to digital initiative sprawl – must be torn down to succeed. Another key obstacle is an inability to break away from insight- inhibiting traditional practices. For example, Forrester recently published a report titled Digital Intelligence, where they urge Marketers to move from traditional web analytics to digital intelligence. They go on to describe how digital intelligence promises to deliver complete visibility to customer interactions across all digital touch points and turn analytics into actionable insights.

Cloud-enabled business networks

Disruptive innovation is coming to the world of business collaboration – and effectiveness is the likely outcome. In this recent Report from Forrester, they describe a future where Cloud-enabled business networks deliver an ease of engagement never before seen in traditional business-to-business (B2B) collaboration solutions. According to Forrester, these networks enable business collaboration by sharing data in real time on a single cloud platform based on trust relationship models rather than by mapping and exchanging B2B data. As industry boundaries continue to blur and multiple relationships are increasingly required to create value, this business network capability will manage increased collaboration complexity and make every relationship more effective.

Leveraging Innovation Convergence

So it is clear that analytics and collaboration are the enablers of future business effectiveness, and as the primary innovations continue to converge, the byproduct is an engine to deliver that effectiveness. Collectively, systems of engagement will increasingly enable the capture, sharing and consumption of tacit knowledge. Social – which was covered in Part 3 of this series – leverages its collaboration, communication and coordination strengths to make the entire ecosystem more effective, while enabling the use of institutional knowledge. The rapid convergence of Mobile and Social supports the micro-cycles phenomena and enables a re-invention of business process. The Internet-of-Things plays a crucial role in sense-and-respond systems and promises to generate a sea of data that if harnessed, can contribute significantly to business effectiveness.

To say it again, the overarching goal of effectiveness is to drive desired outcomes and encourage innovation to meet enterprise goals. The shift to effectiveness will happen over the course of the next decade, and the enablers are in place to support the journey. The final chapter in this road map series (Part 6) will focus on moving insight delivery from descriptive to prescriptive.

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