By Joe Hill, HP Fellow, Office of the CTO, HP Enterprise Services
In the early 2000s, Goldcorp, Inc., a Toronto-based mining firm, took the radical step of posting its secret geological survey data online to breathe new value into its properties. Dubbed the Goldcorp Challenge, the strategy entailed lucrative cash rewards to scientists who used the data to pinpoint mining targets.
Some 1,400 scientists and engineers from 50 countries participated. The company reported the collaboration strategy generated 110 targets, 80 percent of which were productive, yielding 8 million ounces of gold.
Enterprise crowdsourcing is just one way to turn information into a competitive opportunity. For roughly two decades, IT has been locked in a “systems of record” paradigm. These systems—such as accounting, CRM, databases—capture, structure, and store transactional information.
While they function as an authoritative source of organizational data, they offer few opportunities for competitive growth.
‘Always on’ innovation
The key driver to move on from traditional systems of record is that enterprise innovation must be ‘always on.’ Today’s consumers are more connected than ever due to the proliferation of personal IT. They are increasingly accustomed to sharing knowledge and pooling resources to solve problems and make decisions from virtually anywhere. They want to work that way, too.
To adapt, organizations must develop dynamic relationships not only with their employees and partners, but with their data as well. (Discover how to survive the rise of the new consumer.)
Systems of engagement vs. systems of record
This means systems of record must be complemented with “systems of engagement,” a megatrend that IT expert and author Geoffrey Moore uses to describe systems based on interaction. Systems of engagement enable the enterprise to more effectively collaborate, utilizing data to make better business decisions faster.
It’s about how, where, when, and why communication happens. Systems of engagement are more interested in context than just transactions. Systems of engagement are a competitive move because they help enterprises:
- Review how customers interact at each stage of the buying process
- Create effective strategies and products while reducing costs
- Facilitate successful interactions with employees, customers, and partners
Improve business velocity
Because systems of engagement scrutinize each stage of the buying process, enterprises can evaluate and innovate new services and products faster. How long did it take them to reach a decision? Did they utilize whitepapers and video? With whom did they consult both inside and outside their organization? Did they tap someone with specific technical expertise? Systems of engagement provide the data to answer these questions.
Example: a social platform layered over an HR system might allow employees to share their feedback on training and benefits providers. Such information could allow administrators to more effectively engage with existing vendors or seek out new ones.
Collaboration tools established in the consumer space can drive enterprise effectiveness in new ways. Data captured from social platforms can also generate better predictive analytics to help your organization anticipate—rather than react to—market shifts.
Systems of record: insufficient for the future
Systems of record have hit their useful limits. The siloed information these systems lock within organizations creates huge redundancy challenges, making efficiency difficult.
SaaS and the cloud increasingly commoditize these systems. Because there is little left to capture, store, and automate, very few gains can be generated from this paradigm. For enterprises stuck in this old way of doing business, it’s time to break the business model.
To generate value, organizations must embrace systems that facilitate collaboration internally and externally. They unleash enormous productive capacity through a process whereby everything dynamically interacts with everything else in an elegant dance of engagement.
Systems of engagement is just one megatrend that’s changing competitive outcomes. Watch the Innovation INSIGHT webcast, “The Next 5 Years: 6 Trends that are Redefining IT and the Enterprise,” or join the discussion at the Innovation INSIGHT LinkedIn group.