The Business Imperatives
A Call to Action
Becoming a data-driven or software-defined enterprise, if you aren’t already one, may be no easy task. Think of how long it took brick-and-mortar companies to adapt to the online world, and how many are still struggling. Now, imagine the online world on steroids. That’s the era of the Third Platform.
The challenges and opportunities of the digital universe are technical, for sure, but they are first and foremost organizational. Here are three steps all enterprises must take without delay if they want to thrive in the new era:
Create a C-level position in charge of developing new digital business opportunities:
Whether it is a new position (e.g., Chief Digital Officer), or an enhanced existing one (e.g., upgrading the CIO’s current responsibilities), this new executive role is in charge of identifying and pursuing new revenue streams based on internal and/or external data and its analysis.
Develop and continuously revise an executive-team understanding of the new digital landscape for your enterprise:
Who are the new (and potential) digital competitors? How are you going to cooperate with others in your industry to anticipate and thwart digital disruption? What are the short- and long-term steps you must take to ensure a smooth and timely digital transformation?
Design and execute a plan for accelerated investments in digital enterprise technologies and skills:
Re-allocate resources across the business based on digital transformation priorities, invest in promising data collection and analysis areas, and identify the gaps in talent and skills required for success in the era of the Third Platform.
Increased investment in human capital and the new skills required today is the first order of business for all organizations. Another crucial action to take is launching an enterprise-wide initiative to determine where to focus the response to the opportunities presented by the Third Platform. What kind of new products and services based on data and analytics can the business develop and sell? What are the areas of the business where the Internet of Things will have the biggest impact? These and similar questions must be answered and acted upon, then reviewed and the answers revisited every six months as new applications and new sources of data become available. The Third Platform requires not a “strategic plan,” but a continuously revised action plan.
The right skills, a laser-sharp focus, and a passion for continuous learning and adaptation are a must for enterprises to thrive in the digital universe of tomorrow. The digital universe will continue to expand at a rapid clip and flood already saturated infrastructures and the people that manage them. The Internet of Things will add new levels of complexity – and opportunity – on top of what Big Data has offered in just the last three years. The bright stars of the digital universe of tomorrow will be the enterprises that will ride the data flood to new heights of productivity and prosperity.