The enterprise world looks very different today from how it looked twenty (or even ten) years ago. Due in large part to advances made in networking and computer hardware, technology has come to play a greater role in business than ever before. This has, in turn, given rise to an entirely new paradigm; one which persists across industries: the digital enterprise.
I should explain what I mean with that term; it’s not just a buzz phrase.
The digital enterprise is a new business paradigm, one in which an organization uses digital technology to grant it a competitive advantage in the marketplace, overhauling its operations both externally and internally. Products are designed, developed, and delivered almost exclusively through online channels; created and consumed entirely in the digital realm. According to Gartner, this blurring of the digital and physical worlds frees up an organization, allowing it to create powerful new business models and designs; this in turn thoroughly disrupts traditional operating models.
This disruption isn’t taking place entirely on the business end. Although the increased power afforded by modern analytics and monitoring software is quite considerable, consumer behavior is having just as much of an impact on how business is carried out. In the current landscape, consumers are demanding two things: more convenience and a closer connection with their brands.
This in turn is driving a number of new usage models, explains Saugatuck Technology’s Mike West, including usage-based consumption and subscription services. These new models are nearly as attractive to organizations as they are to consumers, continues West, as they provide stabler, more predictable revenue streams along with a higher likelihood of recurring, long-term relationships with the end user. The greatest strength of digital enterprise, however, is the fact that it operates without boundaries.
Not surprisingly, the cloud is a vital component in digital business. Its ability to provide immediate, on-demand access to new software and operating environments coupled with its inherent scalability makes it an ideal technology for the development and distribution of digital solutions. This makes it a foundational technology – perhaps the foundational technology – of digital business, which according to West is made possible by “the boundary-free enterprise.”
The cloud isn’t the only innovation involved in the creation of this new enterprise. Mobile and social both have key roles to play as well, along with analytics technology. Successfully adapting business from the physical realm to the digital one requires a mastery of all these factors. More importantly, however, it involves adjusting one’s own standpoint.
“There is no silver bullet,” cautions West. He then goes on to explain that the path to the digital enterprise is an involved, multi-process one which requires “a flexible, platform-based approach built on three cornerstones: data analytics, cloud development platforms, and DevOps.” In other words, it ultimately demands that an organization not only implement the cloud, but fully understand the ramifications of doing so.
It’s not enough to use cloud computing – you need to adapt your organization to it.
The enterprise world of today is a very different beast from what it was a few decades ago. Thanks to advances in networking and computing hardware, an entirely new realm has opened up: the digital enterprise. An understanding of cloud computing is vital for success in this brave new world; any organization unwilling or unable to properly implement the cloud will very likely be left behind.
Image: Flickr/jonathan mcintosh