Digital Business Is Not “Business As Usual”

The foundation of Digital Business is the Boundary-free Enterprise™, which is made possible by an array of time- and location-independent computing capabilities – Cloud, Mobile, Social and Data Analytics plus Sensors and APIs – with Integration as the glue to enable synergy and leverage business value. In becoming a Digital Business – whether a large enterprise traditionally on the buy side of technology, a software ISV in transition or a pure-play Cloud solution provider – this challenge is significant: how to implement a platform to support a Digital Business model and then keep pace with the ongoing pace of change.

Saugatuck Technology research continues to indicate that too few enterprise Business and IT leaders fully understand the challenges and opportunities of Digital Business. Moreover, the same challenges are faced by startups, traditional ISVs and ISVs recently transitioned to the Cloud.

Many executives do not know what is meant by the term Digital Business. Without a clear understanding of the stages of development that Digital Businesses around the world have been and will be passing through, there may be the temptation to take shortcuts and invest in quick fixes, which are not only worthless, but a waste of time and valuable resources.

Digital Business Transformation

The figure illustrates how this will evolve in the vast majority of cases:

  • In the Experimental stage (2005 to 2015), which in most organizations has already completed, the hallmark activity is testing standalone or bolt-on solutions, as prototypes or stalking horses. No organization wants to dive headlong into the quarry without plumbing its depths.
  • In the Hybrid stage (2010 to 2020), where most organizations are finding themselves today, the hallmark activity is linking digital solutions — usually in the Cloud, but sometimes in the form of mobile apps – to legacy solutions, which may be running as workloads on IaaS platforms or in private Clouds.
  • In the Holistic stage (2015 to 2025), where very few organizations are focused yet, the hallmark activity is diffusing the Digital Business key platforms, discussed above, throughout the organization where these new behaviors will take root and become endemic to the culture.
  • In the Transformed stage (2020 to 2030), which is still on the horizon, the hallmark activity is tuning the Digital Business for maximum agility through continuous innovation. In this stage the organization will be poised to move into the next era, where agility will enable adaptation.

The Digital Business Transformation leads to an easy-to-use-and-access platform on demand, enabling analytics-based insights and behaviors, empowering knowledge workers through data and collaboration and ongoing enhancement through innovation. The keys to Digital Business Transformation from an operational point of view can also be applied to the provision of digital solutions, but there are no shortcuts.

Note: Ongoing Saugatuck subscription research clients can access this premium research piece (1372STR) by clicking here, and inputting your ID and password.

Mike West

About Mike West

Michael West is Vice President with Saugatuck Technology. His areas of research and consulting expertise include Cloud Computing, “Enterprise Ready” SaaS, ISVs in transition to SaaS, Cloud and Mobile Development platforms, SaaS Integration, Social Computing platforms, Mobile Commerce / Mobile Payments and GRC. In 2000, Mr. West joined Saugatuck as an early co-founder after leaving Gartner, Inc., where he served as Vice President and Research Director. In 2004-5, Mr. West spent a year in Washington, D.C. at the Corporate Executive Board as Practice Manager of the Information Risk Executive Council, before returning to work at Saugatuck and re-focusing his interests on Software-as-a-Service and Cloud platforms. He has written and presented research on information management, data administration, applications development, application integration, object technology, client/server architectures, mobile commerce / payments, graphical user interface and usability strategies, web site development and Internet applications, network computing, electronic commerce, portals, hubs and communities. Mr. West has an A.B. from Williams College , M.A. from Johns Hopkins University and M.B.A. from the Boston College Graduate School of Management. He has taught IT Strategies in M.B.A. programs at the Boston College Graduate School of Management and at the Haas School of the University of California at Berkeley.

2 thoughts on “Digital Business Is Not “Business As Usual”

  1. Great schematic and extremely useful. BUT…

    What is a “Digital Business Key” (referenced in the) description of the Holistic Stage? Not defined but seems “key” to understanding this post.

    1. So I was referring to several platforms that comprise the “uber-platform” for Digital Business: as I see it Analytics (big data included), dPaaS (for Cloud and hybrid development) and DevOps (for managing the deployment process) are three evolving platforms that go to make it up. I think Crowdsourcing platforms can supplement dPaaS, as can Mobility, Social and Workflow platforms, etc. Some Analytics data is germane to development, deployment and ongoing operations, and these may find synergy with dPaaS and DevOps on a platform such as IBM’s BlueMix. However, most of the Analytics data will be used to directly inform business operations and decisionmaking.

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