Bruce Guptill Research Alerts
What is Happening?
The latest research from ISG Insights shows that the top-rated business factor driving development and adoption of Digital Business, and the move toward enterprise digital transformation overall, is a perceived need for greater enterprise business operational flexibility and agility. Figure 1 summarizes and presents the relevant survey data.
Figure 1: Operational Agility is Job One
Source: ISG Insights Oct. 2016 global web survey; n = 141 C-level Business and IT leaders
The survey provide data, insights, and context regarding CXO Digital Business thinking, plans, and actions leading up to ISG Insights’ Digital Business Summit events. As can be seen in Figure 1, survey participants were asked to “identify the top three (3) business drivers or pressures causing your organization to adopt Digital Business strategies or tactics.” While all factors received some votes, the need for operational agility and flexibility is the clear #1-ranked factor – and will shape how, when, and why enterprises develop and refine their digital business investments and progress.
Why is it Happening?
Agility, especially the ability to operate the business in a flexible, adaptive manner, is the logical place for enterprise leaders to focus digital transformation efforts, because agility enables practically every other factor listed. If we want to be able to adapt and respond to shifting competition, if we need to build or adapt to different business models, if we want or need to grow market and wallet share, all in unpredictable markets and potentially unforeseen environments,then we must have the ability to operate the business in a adaptable fashion. Without operational agility, there is little chance of surviving, let alone competing, in such conditions.
The uncertainty of Digital Business stands out when we look into more of the data shown in Figure 1. For example, CXOs see the nature of competition itself changing. In addition to 41% worried about more competition from within their industries, nearly one-third of CXOs indicate concern about unknown or previously unseen/unexpected competition from new quarters. Operational models and characteristics need inherent agility and flexibility to respond to and adapt to such forces, as well as to enable new business.
That being said, the relatively low rankings of a need for new business models, and of segment disintermediation, and of changing expectations in the workplace, suggest that we are only beginning to see the fundamental business changes and disruptions that so many expect from the move toward Digital Business. This could be because these changes have yet to emerge en masse; in other words, digital disruption may be expected, or even perceived, but is not completely “real” to the majority of businesses at this time. It’s early days still.
Obviously there is massive digital transformation activity underway worldwide, and it is happening because there are tangible business benefits available. The move toward Digital Business, and the drive toward more complete enterprise digital transformation, will continue. Those enterprises lacking operational flexibility and agility will be unable to compete, whether against traditional competitors or against new competitors from unexpected sources.
But even those firms that develop the most innovative and agile operational models risk accelerating disintermediation between business groups and the IT organization as they rush toward the digital future. We began referring to this as “IT-Business dissociation” several years ago in the early days of SaaS, and have been tracking changes and impacts since then (803MKT, Free-Range Knowledge Work Spotlights IT Dissociation and Future, 30Oct2010; and 1163STR, The Seeds of IT Change Were Planted Well Before Cloud Began Reigning, 31Dec2012). Our net position then, and now, is that the wholesale adoption of readily-affordable and useful business IT by business users and groups is shifting enterprise IT assets, responsibilities, and costs to end users, or to end users’ departments. This is creating or exacerbating the disconnects between IT organizations and the business groups and users who require more effective and more integrative IT capabilities than ever.
The digital future is happening; the new operational models are being adopted, adapted, and refined. But how well will they work without a closely-associated, aligned, and synchronized IT + business relationship? Participants in our three 2016 Digital Business Summit events – Berlin, Germany (October 27), Greenwich, CT (November 17) and Chicago, IL (December 1) – will learn the answers first-hand from C-level IT and business leaders who are making the journey to Digital right now, and who are willing to share what they see as what’s next. Registration is now open! Registration, along with links to the event agendas, speakers, locations, and dates can be found here:http://www.digitalbusiness2016.com/.