The Unicorn HRO Blog

Digital Enterprise Characteristics

Posted Thursday, March 14, 2013 by Frank Diana

In the past two months, interest in the characteristics of a digital enterprise is accelerating. I believe increasingly, traditional companies understand that viability in the next decade drives the need to evolve. The list of characteristics has been refined through ongoing dialog and now looks like this:

•Insight and engagement-driven
•Open, agile and collaborative
•Responsive and adaptive
•Fast, iterative and experimental
•Powered by knowledge, creativity and ideas

As the digital enterprise road map evolves, a number of enablers are emerging; and there is a direct linkage between enablers and characteristics. Some of the critical enablers are:
•Structural change
•Moving towards edge-driven design with an adaptive core
•Bundling ecosystem services
•Creating next generation experiences
•Developing and integrating systems of engagement
•Developing sense and respond systems
•Collective Intelligence
•Evolving analytics from descriptive to prescriptive

The notion of structural change is coming into focus. When you look at the characteristics of the future enterprise, it’s easy to conclude that most traditional companies are not structured to deliver against these collective characteristics. As a result, structural change is required and expected. We already see evidence of change in new executive roles and organization structures. The other enablers can be linked to one or several of the characteristics. For example:

Edge-driven design moves us from transactional to experiential and begins to instill a fast, iterative and experimental culture.

Bundling ecosystem services enables growth and a shift to a relationship paradigm.

Creating next generation experiences enables the experience-based differentiation so critical to growth and future success.

Systems of engagement enable effectiveness, smart decisions (insight-driven), and engagement, while driving a responsive, adaptive, open, agile and collaborative enterprise.

Sense and respond systems drive effectiveness, smarter decisions, enables a responsive and adaptive enterprise, and drives a fast, iterative and experimental culture.

Collective intelligence drives effectiveness and powers the enterprise through knowledge, creativity and ideas.

Evolving analytics from descriptive to prescriptive also drives effectiveness and enables smart decisions through an insight-driven, fast, iterative and experimental enterprise.

As companies develop their strategies over the next several years, enabling these characteristics should be at the top of the strategic list, and these enablers must be part of the program portfolio. The disparate initiatives pervasive in most enterprises must come together holistically if these characteristics are to be realized.

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