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Why should CXOs know about the 

digital enterprise?

The world around us has been and will continue to change rapidly due to the emergence of mobile, social, ‘cloud’ and ‘big data’. Gartner refers to this as the nexus of forces that will lead to the digital enterprise.

In short:

  • Mobile devices are the platform for delivery of information: never alone, never bored and never lost...
  • Social links people to their work and each other in new ways
  • Cloud computing or subscription-based services enable delivery of information across platforms and locations
  • Big Data Analytics: Information is gathered from various – mashable – sources and delivered in flexible ways.

Successful application of these trends and technologies has enabled existing competitors or new industry entrants to disrupt industries. These companies are referred to as digital enterprises: organisations that use technology as a competitive advantage in its internal and external operations.

Traditionally, IT functions built systems based on what process needed to be automated and what function it needed to do for the business. Today, in the digital enterprise, the company’s business rules and policies are completely digital. People's jobs are represented in digital fashion (e.g. maintenance processes guided by a mobile app), products and services are digitally enhanced (e.g. sensors in running shoes) and digitised processes generate information and make it both secure and, for those with the right access, easy to find and share.

Why is this important to CXO's?

  1. It will change your competitive environment – sooner or later. Some industries have already been disrupted (think what Uber is doing to the Taxi industry or what Amazon has done to Retail) and others will follow. Even the more conservative, traditional industries will be transformed by digital enterprises in the next decade or so.
  2. Digitisation of business processes should drive internal process optimisation making process outcomes measurable. This should lead to increased efficiency and therefore cost reduction. It may also lead to centralisation of process execution.
  3. Digitisation will enable real time capture of reliable (unbiased) information from a large variety of sources (including machine sensors, production systems, location, social media, ‘internet of things’ and internal sources). This is next level Business Intelligence that will drive decision-making within the organisation provided that the right analytical resources are available (you will need Data Scientists, Master Data Managers, Data Architects, etc.). Finance is a key stakeholder in this.

The digital enterprise has arrived and is reaping havoc in many industries. Yours may be next…

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