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The Digital Enterprise: It's already here

The Digital Enterprise: It's already here

Tony Staples is a consultant at CTO Group. Contact him directly or through his LinkedIn account.

There is an anecdote that goes something along the lines: If a frog is placed into boiling water, it will jump out, but if it’s placed into cold water that is slowly heated to boiling point it will not perceive the change until it’s too late. It appears to me that while we’ve been busy finishing school, raising our kids and preparing for retirement that the future has arrived.

Self-driving cars, the block chain, robotics, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, global marketplaces, the cloud, virtual and augmented reality to name a few have all moved from being promising technologies to realities. That critical jump from a technology that almost works to one that is seamlessly integrated into our lives.

Leveraging many of these advances is the digital enterprise: An enterprise that embraces digital technology as its core, with industrialised infrastructure as its foundation, intelligent automation as its heart and mind and an extensive communication and collaboration platform leveraging mobility, social media and the Internet of Things as its eyes, ears and voice.

Although technology is the digital enterprise, it’s not about the technology. Rather it’s about how to harness these new possibilities.

One consideration is that as automation reduces people-based interaction, the primary impression that consumers, partners and staff have of an enterprise will be its digital personality.

This personality will initially be reflected by the user experience, its simplicity, efficiency, colour palette, tone and support for a favourite device. But the soul of the digital enterprise will increasingly be driven by the algorithms and data analytics that drive the enterprise’s intelligent automation.

These algorithms will be what drives a deeper emotional response to the enterprise. Will the algorithms be supportive, suggesting options for those that fall short of a benchmark or will they be rigid and cold? It’s imperative then that digital leaders don’t just focus on the user experience, as we have seen, but also address this deeper layer.

Having crept up on us, we all now need to help shape the digital transformation that is underway. Other considerations of the digital enterprise such as the life experiences offered, the role of communities and the emerging reality that our digital enterprises will not only outlast us but gradually outsmart us will be covered in subsequent blogs.

Let’s not be the frog in the slowly boiling water.

What aspects of the digital enterprise are you looking forward to? Post your thoughts below, or drop me a line at CTO Group for an informal catch-up to discuss your situation.