Thoughts I shared at this years TCS Innovation Forum in New York City.
In my last post, I explored the evolution of business in the industrial age. This Fourth Iteration of Business establishes resilience on a foundation of automation and intelligence. Resilience may be more important than the productivity gains that are sure to be realized as we progress towards Business 4.0, providing the capacity to recover quickly as the pace of shifts accelerates. This visual represents a strategic foundation for Business 4.0.
In my previous post on the Transformation of Interaction, I mentioned the emergence of ecosystems and their likely impact on how we experience life. Together, the evolution of interaction and ecosystems plays a significant role in how we view experiences going forward. I referred to this in 2013 as the movement towards Next Generation Experiences. In the coming months, I will share a point of view that captures a finite set of future ecosystems. To position that discussion, it is helpful to look at how this evolution may ensue.
Next up in this transformation series is the seventh enabler: Collective Intelligence. One of the key themes throughout this transformation series is the clear movement from an enterprise entity to an extended enterprise of stakeholders. This extended enterprise – or what I alternatively call value ecosystem – increases complexity and requires a new management approach to be effective. I use the term collective intelligence as an umbrella phrase that combines the critical need for both collaboration and analytic excellence. This includes other forces like crowd computing, crowdsourcing, co-creation, and wisdom of the crowd – all of which stem from the connectedness of our world, and the growing realization that value creation requires a broader community.
This closer look at transformation continues with part five focused on Digital DNA; the sixth forcing function. My perspective on Digital DNA is based on a view of the business environment that is likely to exist in 2020. Enterprise DNA must reflect those characteristics that enable success in the digital world likely to exist in seven years. Business speed in the next decade and the rapid rate of change makes Digital DNA critical to future success. Today, Internet companies like Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Apple, Google and others have fairly high Digital DNA quotients. Start-ups are born with much more Digital DNA than traditional companies, and the rate and ease at which start-ups are entering the market will continue to create a competitive environment where traditional companies are disadvantaged. Since most companies are traditional companies, the majority will enter business transformation from a challenging legacy position.
The 2012 IBM CEO Study is now available: IBM CEO Study -2012. This study provides further evidence that the world is shifting to what Geoffrey Moore has termed “Systems of Engagement”. This quote from the report would indicate that CEOs see the writing on the wall:
“The view that technology is primarily a driver of efficiency is outdated; CEOs now see technology as an enabler of collaboration and relationships — those essential connections that fuel creativity and innovation. Simply put, technology is reinventing connections with — and among — employees, customers and partners.”
This study underscores my long time premise that collaboration and analytic excellence is required to be successful in this new systems of engagement era. Those that think this is just another cycle or a passing fad are greatly mistaken. We are at a unique point in history – driven by a perfect storm of innovation as highlighted by this quote:
“Today’s CEOs are in a position few of their predecessors have faced. Although there have been many eras of technology disruption in the past, several factors make this period different. First, a number of new technologies are rippling through society at the same time, and they’re being adopted much faster. In addition, disruptive technologies of previous eras almost always originated in business or government, and then spread to consumers. But recent advances are flowing in the reverse direction and are being absorbed more rapidly by the younger generation.”
Geoffrey Moore, Managing Director, TCG Advisors recently authored a white paper titled: A Sea Change in Enterprise IT. Mr. Moore – and more recently Forrester – has used the phrase “systems of engagement” to capture the shift from a transactional focus to an experiential one. I believe this phrase captures the required response to this phenomenon and addresses what Mr. Moore describes as a shift in the axis of IT innovation from large enterprise to consumers, students, and children. As stated in the paper, systems of record are no longer a source of competitive differentiation for organizations, but a necessary condition of doing business – enterprises are forced to sharpen their competitive advantage or risk being commoditized.
After some very bad and well-publicized business decisions drove a subprime mortgage meltdown and the near collapse of the auto industry, many would agree that methods for enhancing decision making are greatly needed. Findings in a recent MIT Sloan special report support this notion. Senior executives want their businesses run by data-driven decisions. They want to understand optimal solutions and take action quickly; but as the authors point out, this is no small task. They suggest that in order for insight to drive action, the insight must be closely linked to business strategy, easy for end users to understand, and embedded into organizational processes.
As 2010 winds down, it is time to look ahead to 2011. I have high expectations as the calendar turns, and I believe 2011 will be the year of adoption. I believe we’ve reached a point where cash will come off the sidelines and I expect to see technology investments focused on revenue generation and value creation. With that as a backdrop, I’ll Label 2011 as the year of collaboration and intelligence – the two areas that I believe align very well with pressing business priorities. So here are my thoughts on 2011.
CEOs believe that the time has come to reinvent customer relationships. That’s one of the key findings in IBM’s 2010 CEO Study titled “Capitalizing on Complexity”. This belief is based on the following observations:
- The world is massively interconnected, thereby making customer intimacy a priority
- Customers have more options due to globalization and dramatic increases in available information
- Differentiation will come from innovation and co-creation with customers
- The information explosion presents a great opportunity to develop deep customer insights
In the recent Gartner Hype Cycle Report issued in August, Gartner had the following to say about predictive analytics:
“The quantity and variety of digital data continue to explode, along with the opportunities to analyze and gain insight from new sources such as location information and social media. The techniques themselves, such as predictive analytics, are relatively well established in many cases; the value resides in applying them in new applications such as social analytics and sentiment analysis”
I have long believed that social technologies would usher in a new era of innovation. Terms like crowd sourcing, the wisdom of crowds and collective Intelligence, all speak to the notion that innovation is not an organizational function, but the ideas of an organization, community, or society. Social technologies and new emerging forms of analytics allow us to create an environment for idea creation, and an ability to quickly capture the resulting insight. User generated content has long existed in the world of social media – and new ways to capture relevant insight are evolving. What’s exciting is the growing use of social technologies inside the enterprise. Once the environment for collaboration and idea generation is established, the next step us harnessing all of the insight available both inside the enterprise and out. This article on Social Technologies and Innovation does a good job of describing the growing role of social technology inside the enterprise.