It is common ground that the success of the digital transformation is very much dependent on the “digital enablement” – of the individuals, the teams, and the organisation. But the idea of the “digital enablement” today goes far beyond the ideas of the “social adoption” in the earlier day. It’s an enablement in “digital thinking” and “digital working” – realized on different levels with support from the top (senior/top management) as well as crowd-sourced activities from the bottom. But in a way – the “digital enablement” leads only towards a “digitization” of the collaboration – and this is limited in its effects if established in an old operating model of the organisation.
Therefore by discussing the “digital transformation” we certainly need to go beyond today’s belief of the traditional “piped” business. The digital age is characterized by the technological models that are making it happen – and these are based on the idea of platforms with vast scalability and automated intelligence that is managing and coordinating the collaboration, transactional processes and system routines.
In order to advance with the “digital transformation” we need to move forward with the discussion of how-to enable today’s traditional operating models towards the discussion about the characteristics of the “digital” operating model. With this in mind the key theme to this year’s conference is “Digitize & Revolutionize – Moving beyond the Digital Transformation”.
The “digital transformation” is challenging the operating model
While the discussions on the “Enterprise 2.0” idea was about the collaborative enhancement of the existing organization (certainly also with the need of changes in culture and structure), the discussions on the “digital transformed” future of the organisation has to go one step further by questioning the operating model of the organization.
[Parallel to the preparation of this post Lee Bryant published a post to a slidedeck of a talk that he held at Robert Bosch last week that – though slightly from a different angle coming – very much resonates on the idea of this post and the approach of this year’s keynote sessions at Enterprise Digital SUMMIT.]
With the digitization of the customer today’s businesses are already undergoing radical changes as the customer has nearly ubiquitous access to the Internet as the information and commerce platform to reach out for information, third party opinions and its validation in every situation of his/her customer journey. This situation already demands for new approaches in customer orientation and centricity as well as agility as the asymmetries of the traditional markets have nearly vanished.
But the on-going technological developments are demanding for an even further rethinking with the Internet not only connecting suppliers and buyers but also “things” and objects. In Oct last year Robin Chase (ex-cofounder of Zipcar) wrote an exciting article with the title: “Everything That Can Become a Platform Will Become a Platform” A digitalized and connected industry will be mainly built on platform models as technological systems. Within these systems many processes are automated in regards to transactional decision making where service-orientated and self-learning agent technologies are coordinating process flows.
This is dramatically demanding changes for the operating models of the underlying organizational structures. Middle management that was in charge for the decision making in the “piped” organizational model are obsolete. The process flow only demands human action in unsolvable situations – these situations in return are asking for agile and holistic problem-solving task forces.
The platform as the technological model therefore demands also a platform as organizational model with a collaborative network structure. The questions on how-to design these future models and also how-to transform the existing models towards these new approaches are widely open questions to be discussed.
At this year’s Enterprise Digital SUMMIT / Paris we have invited Haydn Shaughnessy, Fellow at the Center for Digital Transformation, University of California, and author of “The Elastic Enterprise”, to explore with us the changing economy of platforms and its major shifts in business and work. Our second keynote speaker Francois Xavier Rousselot, Professor of Machine Learning at IE Business School International MBA Paris / Madrid, will add on this his views on the business impacts of machine learning.
The “digital transformation” needs a systematic “enabling movement”
Besides the outlook on the final state of the “digital transformation” as the future model of the operating system we still have to talk about how to systematically make the transformation happen. At Enterprise Digital SUMMIT this topic is mainly assigned to the discussion of the presented case studies. But as the case study can always only have a look back on what already has been practiced we also included some more forward looking and thinking talks on how to do the “digital enablement” of the workforce.
For this we talk about methods like working out loud, reverse mentoring programs, operational intelligence, leadership transformation programs and approaches for a distributed digital transformation. Many new ideas and thoughts on how to advance the digital transformation process.
We are very much looking forward to the discussions of this year’s edition of the Enterprise Digital SUMMIT and delighted about the exciting list of speakers at the conference. In the following weeks I will share more details about the final program and the contents to be discussed.
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