Is Digital Really Ready to Change the Face of Business?
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As analytics, mobile, social business and other digital forces continue to grow and evolve, some view them as interesting additions to the IT toolkit. For others, they herald the advent of the “postdigital” enterprise, in which digital forces, operating in concert to deliver extraordinary value, are the new normal. Who is right?
The postdigital enterprise is one that organizes and operates in a future “new normal.” That is, a time in which the five forces of analytics, mobile, social business, cloud and cyber intelligence converge to change the game for business operations, performance and competition. Some view this vision with skepticism. They wonder how a still-emerging business model that relies upon emerging technologies might so dramatically change the status quo. Others are planning to adopt and compete with new business rules made possible by these new technology tools. Have these forces evolved to the point where business should view digital as something more than technology?
Explore all sides below by clicking on each button:
|CEO: Where are the success stories?
It sounds intriguing, but you can’t give me any examples of a mature postdigital enterprise.
|CIO: Not yet, but some companies have already achieved positive outcomes by combining two or three postdigital forces.
If you wait for success stories from companies that are mature with all five forces, you may miss the competitive window.
|CFO/COO: We’ve already spent millions on ERP systems.
Are you saying we are going to have to start again with something new?
|CIO: Postdigital can build and innovate on the ERP investment.
These postdigital forces can harvest more value from ERP and open the door for new value creation.
|CMO: Marketing needs to own digital.
Digital tools are the bedrock of our campaigns and customer strategy. Having another group control them doesn’t make sense.
|CIO: It’s not a question of who owns it.
What matters is that the forces are leveraged as a highly effective collective. To provoke and harvest the potential of digital, a CIO will likely be required to catalyze the collision of these forces for their enterprise.
|CRO: This is too risky.
Mobile, social and the cloud can introduce too many new risks to the enterprise.
|CIO: It is unlikely to introduce new types of risk.
The risks are probably no different than those that organizations already face with laptop PCs, media interviews and market communications. The specific controls and implementations may change, but you may be able to address them collectively.
Janet Foutty, Principal, Deloitte Consulting, LLP
Why should you care about a “postdigital” era? Because it is likely to become the new normal for business. When business entered the post-industrial era, we didn’t forego industrialization. Many companies weren’t even complete with it. Nonetheless, industrialization became table-stakes for market competitiveness. The postdigital era heralds a similar change, but for digitalization.
In discussing postdigital, it is important to consider how unusual it is to have so many relatively new, rapidly evolving, technology-centric forces already impacting business so strongly. In their groundbreaking 1993 book, Reengineering the Corporation: A Manifesto for Business Revolution, authors Michael Hammer and James Champy offered a radical vision of companies that no longer organized themselves around Adam Smith’s division of labor. Rather, the authors argued, companies should be “reengineered” to accomplish tasks more effectively in the post-industrial business landscape. Today, business faces a similar moment of opportunity. The time for bolting digital technologies onto existing systems is likely ending. Business is now entering a phase in which the confluence of digital forces can open the door for a new set of rules for competition, performance and operations.
In the brave new postdigital world, CIOs may be presented with a golden opportunity to catalyze the forces of analytics, mobile, social business, cloud and cyber intelligence into a highly effective set of integrated tools that can deliver extraordinary value to the enterprise. To seize this opportunity, they should begin somewhat differently. Rather than only asking if IT’s efforts and investments are serving the strategic goals of the business, CIOs should also ask, “What are the new business rules of the postdigital era and how can the enterprise build strategies around them?”
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