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Digital Enterprise Thinking is Increasingly Driving IT Strategy

By:  Oliver Marks, Global Digital Enterprise Practice, Hewlett Packard Company

 

Back in 1993 the Peter Steiner cartoon, 'on the internet no one knows you're a dog', published in the New Yorker magazine (print edition), demonstrated how little we knew about the people behind posts on the nascent internet. 

 

Fast forward to today and social networks of all flavors are full of very complete profiles of all sorts of experts and their opinions, in some cases with much skillful posturing to cover up the lack of actual experience in their chosen areas of expertise.  

 

orchestra

The identity crisis which has engulfed the Information Technology world has been directly affected by this proliferation of opinions, along with the huge shift to mobile devices accessing always on networked interactive information and data. Red herring ideas have multiplied exponentially based on suppositions about the rapid pace of change, but populist ideas are often short sighted, frequently funded and driven by marketing of silo solutions.

 

'The future is already here, it's just not evenly distributed yet' (attributed to science fiction writer William Gibson) is a phrase that applies perfectly to modern IT.  IT budgets are under enormous pressure as enterprises find themselves stuck between supporting complex legacy systems and stretched to accommodate fragmented new generation applications while planning for and envisioning the future even as security threats in our ever more networked world grow bigger.

 

The unevenly distributed future means most businesses have layer upon layer of disparate technologies to support and keep integrated, with more appearing on the horizon.

 

I use the timeless Drucker quote " It's easier for companies to come up with new ideas than let go of old ones" a lot, because that is the reality of the historical reason for IT's many layers of strata (see my earlier 2012 blog post on ZD Net, Won’t Get Fooled Again?).

 

We are at an interesting point in business history. The genuinely new attributes and inventions of modern life - smart phones, 4g/broadband and increasingly sophisticated data flows and analytics about both people and 'things'- are putting huge pressure on the uneven topography of 'old IT'.

 

We are now completely living in the digital era, and digital touches all aspects of our life. 

 

The center of a company, for example - whether you are working for it or shopping for its products - is the screen you are reading this on, not a bricks and mortar location. Ninety percent of the world's data was generated in the last two years alone, with machine-produced data dwarfing human-generated data and accelerating fast. 

 

Systems of engagement are quickly dwarfing the old IT/HR system of record backbone - the digital enterprise is focused on the customer, everything is aligned to interact with and delight the consumer in the moment, wherever they are. Real time insights flow from customer sentiment to feed data and intelligence to all areas of the business and its performance partners across the digital enterprise.

 

Agility and innovation are underpinned by new style of IT digital enterprise foundations, structured to enable much greater connectivity, interactions and collaboration between all aspects of the organization. Rigidity and fragmentation are the twin horsemen of the apocalypse for technology strategists working with business colleagues who place ever greater demands on their IT colleagues.

  

A utilities executive was very clear with me over lunch a couple of weeks ago: "we don't want to waste time talking about siloed solutions that don't work with our other technologies. Getting everything to work together is what we need - that is the game right now'

 

Strategy for the specific digital needs of enterprises to allow them to solve their business problems and achieve their goals is also 'the game right now'   - and the orchestration of global resources to execute these digital enterprise roadmaps are the new style of IT.

 

Other recent blogs by Oliver Marks on ZDNet:

 

image: orchestra seating plan from 'The Orchestra: A User's Manual'

 

About the Author

 

Oliver Marks (from ZDNet posting).jpgOliver Marks, Global Digital Enterprise Practice, Hewlett Packard Company

Oliver leads the Global Digital Enterprise Team at HP, having previously provided seasoned independent consulting guidance to companies on effective planning of business strategy, tactics, technology decisions, roll out and enduring use models that make best use of modern collaborative and social networking tools to achieve their business goals

Comments
Bob Witherhoe(anon) 3 weeks ago

Terrific article - what a relief to see HP finally starting to think about modern world needs instead of constantly trying to sell us silo'd products! I like this guy's thinking - hopefully this is a taste of a more forward looking HP...the company has a pretty bad reputation where I work ( large global manufacturing entity) as just a plumbing shop, and there's not much future in that...

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