Blurring the Boundaries


This current executive presentation captures the breadth of the digital enterprise transformation series. It can be found on SlideShare – appropriately titled Blurring the Boundaries.

The presentation is a call to action for leaders everywhere. A slide in the deck asks the question: as status quo thinking prevails, what drives action? The first half of the presentation builds the case for action. The second half describes a framework to enable that action.

Digital Enterprise Transformation – Wrap Up


Over the last three months, I have presented a framework for thinking about transforming the enterprise to the type of enterprise that can succeed in the year 2020 – What I call a digital enterprise.

Throughout this multi-part transformation series, I have focused on those forcing functions that push us to transform – the drivers that stir us to action. Old models that were created for another time cannot lead us into this future – we must think differently. We must invent the models that define business in the decades ahead.

So, I wrap up this closer look at transformation with the hope that I’ve convinced you in some small way that we are indeed heading towards what is likely to be the most transformative period in history. My hope is that leaders everywhere think differently to usher in a period of prosperity and societal advancement. Instead of talk of disruption, let us talk of enablement and advancement. May we each have the wisdom, vision and courage to lead in this emerging transformative period.

For a review of this entire transformation series, here is an intro and link to each of the prior posts. As a reminder, forcing functions are those things that force the enterprise to invest in a future state. The enablers are those facilitators of change that allow us to address the forcing functions and build a path towards the future. Click on the underlined title to access each post.

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A Closer Look at Transformation: Sense and Respond Systems


Next up in this transformations series is the sixth enabler: sense and respond systems. These systems are critical to the transformation agenda, as most of the disruptive technologies likely to impact the enterprise in the next decade have data at its core. The resulting data explosion promises to complicate information management for most companies. As the speed of business accelerates and the amount of data flowing through company ecosystems expands, the need to sense stimuli and enable a real time response intensifies. Fortunately, rapid advancements in the price and performance of technology make realizing this sense and respond paradigm achievable and economical for a wide range of use cases – but this is arguably one of the most difficult components of transformation road maps.

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MIT Big Data Panel Discussion


In May, I participated in a Big Data panel discussion at the 2013 MIT Sloan CIO Symposium. The panel was moderated by Tom Davenport, Harvard Professor and co-founder of the International Institute for Analytics. The panel participants aside from myself were:

  • Annabelle Bexiga, CIO, TIAA-CREF
  • Jack Norris, CMO, MapR
  • Keith Collins, SVP, CIO & CTO, SAS Institute
  • Michael Chui – Senior Fellow, Mckinsey Global Institute

This was a very good discussion on the potential of Big Data and the possible direction it takes in the future. Michael Chui did a great job with his opening remarks, referencing this Mckinsey Report and using examples from it. This report, which I have mentioned previously, focuses on major disruptive technology. It is interesting to hear the perspectives (and sometimes biases) of these industry players. It’s an hour and ten minutes long, with some very good audience questions.

A Closer Look at Transformation: Societal Change


The next focus area in this closer look at transformation is the fifth and perhaps most critical forcing function: societal change. Wikipedia refers to societal change as an alteration in the social order of a society, including changes in nature, social institutions, social behaviors, or social relations. The base of such change is change in the thought process of humans. Digital is the primary driver of a societal change not seen since the first industrial revolution, impacting every aspect of society from business to war. It was digital (Internet) that accelerated globalization, and now the broader digital platform allows even a start-up to be global upon inception.

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A Closer Look at Transformation: Differentiation


Continuing with this closer look at transformation, part three focuses on differentiation; the fourth forcing function. Differentiation is a process that showcases the differences between products and services. It looks to make an offering more attractive by contrasting its unique qualities with other competing offerings. Successful differentiation should create competitive advantage, as customers view these offerings as unique or superior. In his piece on The Future of Enterprise IT, Geoffrey Moore, famous author of “Crossing the Chasm” describes the global business dynamics (Slide 10) that places differentiation at the center of a virtuous (perhaps vicious) cycle. His key message is that globalization and rapid commoditization are placing greater emphasis on differentiation, especially in developed economies.

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A Closer Look at Transformation: Effectiveness & Efficiency


In part two of this closer look at transformation, we will focus on two forcing functions: effectiveness and next generation efficiency. As a reminder, forcing functions are those things that force the enterprise to invest in a future state. In the case of efficiency, the next phase in the search for gains is upon us, as companies have hit the efficiency wall. But something bigger is happening, as the pace of business will increasingly demand that we are not just efficient – but effective. Whereas the past was about re-engineering, the future is about re-imagining.

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