Exponential Organizations


Starting in 2011, I focused on the notion of a digital enterprise – a metaphor for the type of organization that is required to survive the massive paradigm shift that lies ahead. In 2013, the focus expanded to analyze disruptive scenarios and the emerging ecosystems and platforms that would give life to those scenarios. There remains a single constant through this work and the many leadership discussions that ensued: it will take a different type of organization – different than the ones most of us grew up with – to survive the shift. We as humans – and the organizations that we created – think and act linearly. The world and technology however is moving exponentially. How then do people and organizations move from linear thinking to exponential thinking? Continue reading

The Flat Organization


As I described in my closer look at transformation, one of the key enablers of the future enterprise is Structural Change. This slide from a conference presentation I delivered this week speaks to some of the drivers of structural change. A key driver on this list is the ineffectiveness of command and control models in the future business environment.

Structural Change

As command and control slowly disappears, new models emerge and questions about effective ways to manage in flatter organizations arise. I recently fielded one such question during  the above mentioned presentation on the future enterprise. The response focused on culture, the corporate value system, collaboration, communication, openness, transparency and trust. One great example of a flat company that exhibits many of these characteristics is not surprisingly an Internet company – Google. Google’s approach is outlined in a recent Article from the Harvard Business Review . Additional thoughts on moving towards an open and transparent culture can be found in this IBM CEO Study from 2012.

Examples of companies that are starting to create these new models are emerging – and I firmly believe that it’s only a matter of time before structures suited for the digital age take hold. There are still many skeptics out there – and no one has this all figured out. Leaders of the Industrial revolution era created the management structures that enabled business in that era. It’s time for leaders in this very different era to re-imagine these structures for the present day environment.

The Future of Business


This list of 99 Facts pulled together by SAP continues to build the case for inevitable change. The title of this SAP presentation  is “The Future of Business”. Here are some of the key facts from various sources. There are embedded links in the content that take you to the source documents. Enjoy.

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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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A Closer Look at Transformation: Value Ecosystems


The next focus of this transformation series shifts to the emergence of value ecosystems and their role in driving the Enterprise of 2020. As we look at the Apple ecosystem and offerings like the connected car, mobile commerce, energy efficiency, electric cars, eHealthcare, and energy performance contracts, we can see the lines between industries blurring. Some even question the relevance of Industry constructs in the future. As this phenomenon accelerates, more and more companies must identify the relevant ecosystem(s) that enable their growth strategies. These value ecosystems are complex and relationship-oriented, representing future growth opportunities that are increasingly outside a company’s traditional business.

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