The Intelligent Networked Enterprise: New Paradigm for The Digital Age
Cloud, Mobility and Social technologies are all around us, in combination with Big Data, IoT, wearables, beacons, artificial intelligence, augmented (interactive) reality, etc. This leads to the question: how could enterprises adapt to keep up with the speed of technology change in the outside world? In formulating an answer, it is most likely, it will incorporate the word ‘digital transformation’, which basically refers to the changes associated with the application of digital technology in all aspects of human society including business. It implies that digital usages inherently enable new types of innovation and creativity for business, rather than simply enhance and support the traditional methods.
So organizations, large or small, which unleash the power of digital transformation technologies steered by their transformed (leadership) behavior, managerial and organization principals will lead to better connected, more effective, efficient and happier customers, employees, partners and suppliers. To realize this, they will be supported by (automated) systems and business processes with real time and actionable data and information presented in a user friendly, uniform, efficient, effective, flexible, integral and integrated manner in their digital (work) environment of preference. The end result for all: a positive (work) experience and more time to get other stuff done. The common reaction to this statement probably will be: “This is just hypish marketing talk.” But take a look at the apps on your mobile phone, what their purpose is, the benefits they are delivering, what they have replaced and you probably can conclude you already jumped (partly) through the digital transformation hoop as a person.
Why are enterprises lagging behind in their digital journey compared to the individual? It is the story of the tanker (enterprise) and the speedboat (you) who want to change direction. We believe it is possible to deliver a much higher degree of enterprise agility if organizations are really committed to their digital transformation ambitions and fuel it with a big change approach. We call it a journey to an Intelligent Networked Enterprise.
Intelligent, processes are data driven. Networked, an employee centric way of working.Enterprise, setting the right vision and strategy based on external/market developments.
Organizations need to prepare and take action to make the transition to digital to ensure (future) product/market fit. This is a process of big change; it involves significantly altering ongoing operations. It will impact every part of the organization, but some more than others. To make this big change happen, it is therefore important to get right employees in the forefront and all impacted employees informed, involved and aligned because they are making or breaking the organizational transition.
To realize the transformation, besides a vision, leadership and commitment, a mass communication and collaboration infrastructure is a necessity to deliver the needed speed and agility. This has to be combined with the right supporting organizational structures, processes and technology.
Technology will push change within organizations. Therefore it is of utmost importance employees will be supported in such a way they experience minimal burden to adjust their work style to get (the new) work done. Shrink the change for the employee as much as possible, by offering a seamless end-user experience from an IT perspective. Ensure they will have the right information at the right time on any device in a user friendly format and can take action in the easiest way possible.
Systems should also provide intelligence to support complex decision making. This implicates that humans and systems will work together in delivery of products and services to the market. An intelligent workforce must not be restricted by technology but must be supported, empowered so they become more productive and have more headspace for creativity and innovation.
Before we dive a bit deeper into different aspects of the Intelligent Networked Enterprise, first attention has to be given to the concept big change, the corner stone to make (digital) transformation happen. This will be the topic of the next post.
 Erik Stolterman, Anna Croon Fors, "Information TEchnology and the Good Life", in: "Information systems research: relevant theory and informed practice", 2004.