Digital Business Is Not “Business As Usual”

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The foundation of Digital Business is the Boundary-free Enterprise™, which is made possible by an array of time- and location-independent computing capabilities – Cloud, Mobile, Social and Data Analytics plus Sensors and APIs – with Integration as the glue to enable synergy and leverage business value. In becoming a Digital Business – whether a large enterprise traditionally on the buy side of technology, a software ISV in transition or a pure-play Cloud solution provider – this challenge is significant: how to implement a platform to support a Digital Business model and then keep pace with the ongoing pace of change.

Saugatuck Technology research continues to indicate that too few enterprise Business and IT leaders fully understand the challenges and opportunities of Digital Business. Moreover, the same challenges are faced by startups, traditional ISVs and ISVs recently transitioned to the Cloud.

Many executives do not know what is meant by the term Digital Business. Without a clear understanding of the stages of development that Digital Businesses around the world have been and will be passing through, there may be the temptation to take shortcuts and invest in quick fixes, which are not only worthless, but a waste of time and valuable resources.

Stages in the Digital Business Transformation

The figure illustrates how this will evolve in the vast majority of cases:

  • In the Experimental stage (2005 to 2015), which in most organizations has already completed, the hallmark activity is testing standalone or bolt-on solutions, as prototypes or stalking horses. No organization wants to dive headlong into the quarry without plumbing its depths.
  • In the Hybrid stage (2010 to 2020), where most organizations are finding themselves today, the hallmark activity is linking digital solutions — usually in the Cloud, but sometimes in the form of mobile apps – to legacy solutions, which may be running as workloads on IaaS platforms or in private Clouds.
  • In the Holistic stage (2015 to 2025), where very few organizations are focused yet, the hallmark activity is diffusing the Digital Business keys, discussed above, throughout the organization where these new behaviors will take root and become endemic to the culture.
  • In the Transformed stage (2020 to 2030), which is still on the horizon, the hallmark activity is tuning the Digital Business for maximum agility through continuous innovation. In this stage the organization will be poised to move into the next era, where agility will enable adaptation.

The Digital Business Transformation leads to an easy-to-use-and-access platform on demand, enabling analytics-based insights and behaviors, empowering knowledge workers through data and collaboration and ongoing enhancement through innovation. The keys to Digital Business Transformation from an operational point of view can also be applied to the provision of digital solutions, but there are no shortcuts.
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This blog was originally published on Saugatuck's Lens360 blog on June 3, 2014. Published with permission.

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