Digital Eco-Systems

Executive Summary: 
One of the keys to creating a modern digital eco-system is the acknowledgment that it must be include both technology and business models to be effective. The brand must be enabled across all digital and offline touch points, for consistency, customer centric model, and  simplified analytics and process. The eco-system must allow for change, leveraging connected networks, cloud based IoT (Internet of Things); the digital eco-system must have flexibility built in. Legacy platforms will need to leverage each other and will reshape industries into connected ecosystems. The value of a digital eco-system to an enterprise, it's customers, and partners is it's flexibility to be transformed as business services, consumer desires, and operational needs are updated. Without the flexibility to adapt and the necessary structure and governance to enable the use of varying data sets and aggregated analytics, the eco-system will become stagnant, just like the systems that it displaced. 

Current State Enterprise Eco System process  Current State Enterprise Eco-System Process

What the optimal digital system seeks to replace are the siloed business processes, technology platforms, and data. Each business unit keeps it’s processes, data, and analytics segregated and misses out on a wide variety of insights that could be leveraged if the information were viewed in its entirety, at a global level. Although the advent and popularity of Big Data and its data lakes and data markets allow some to investigate what can be deciphered from various feeds, the basic premise is that each LOB and IT Group maintains ownership of their respective process and data. Thus, the enterprise misses opportunities in the three themes for improvement: Revenue generation, customer satisfaction, and risk mitigation/productivity gains.

Long Term Goals:
To remain leaders in their vertical(s) or to attain their desired leadership position, enterprises must exploit digital platforms and data in a holistic fashion to create relationships, drive business revenue, and increase efficiency. The platforms and data will evolve as the IoT and regulations adapt to the changing business environment and privacy concerns. As companies must consistently prove that they are innovative, both for their products and services as well as for their investors, a digital eco-system which unifies business, processes and technology platforms will enable and advance innovation. The ability to rapidly test new ideas and implement them with shared insights across user types and platforms will enable innovation to move from conceptual to reality. 

   Enterprise Eco-System Opportunities

Value for the Enterprise:
Why should enterprises care about digital eco-systems, especially those that have profitable business models and or service their customers efficiently? Although at first glance this appears to be a technology problem, solved only by technology vendors, I believe this to be untrue. A greater portion of the CMO’s budget is earmarked for technology these days, the CIO’s budget remains largely flat". Similarly “..by 2017, CMOs will spend more on IT than their counterpart CIO”. 
Although this dynamic may still be in flux and could swing back to the CIO and their technology partners, it is a business question that must be addressed with technology supporting those requirements. The business drivers which are the domain of the CMO and COO will require greater use of technology and a more seamless digital experience and the insights gleamed from those digital systems. This change is often an obstacle for many clients, the embedded workflows are hard to break and although the concept of a holistic strategy seems to gain value, gaining momentum to radically change is a tall order. This fixed model is coincidentally in contrast to the constant drum of agile development in application groups, but again the apps being built are still very siloed and therefore lack agility in the ability to flex with changing business models. Essentially the current state at many enterprises prevents improvements in process efficiencies, identification of new customer demands, and the detection of holistic changes in regulations. Without a digital eco-system which ties together business and technology each group must make the required changes which is implemented subjectively by a group, and therefore lacks a high level view and the obvious synergies that would be available with a comprehensive solution.

Enterprise Digital Eco System Future State
Enterprise Digital Eco-System Future State

How We Get There:
An enterprise should evaluate all of the interactions that occur between users, data, and their current business processes. One must look at the data and analytics that are currently available, how they are used and by which groups, and what data is not being leveraged. This can uncover inefficiencies purely in the governance and workflow by evaluating what customers, partners, and employees have the capability to do digitally and then assembling a gap analysis of how these users needs are not met through current business processes and digital platforms. Analytics should also tell an important part of the story, with how long processes take and how and when manually intervention plays a role in solving issues.

Next a roadmap of how systems and business processes can be integrated sharing data where appropriate, sharing technologies and allowing for a more singular experience for each user type so that more concise data is pushed at them, rather than the requirement of logging into multiple siloed digital platforms and manually creating their work product.