Next-Gen Enterprises, Digital Strategies, and Chasing Rainbows

The buzz in the blogosphere is growing around what it takes to become a ?next-generation enterprise.? There are so many new and exciting technology trends to base your digital strategy on, after all ? Cloud Computing, Mobile, Social, Big Data, the list goes on and on. Internet startups and other up-and-comers are looking to disrupt one market after another, and established enterprises are naturally concerned that they need to step up to the plate or risk being on the wrong end of such disruption.

It?s hard to find a single industry whose foundations aren?t being shaken by the tectonic shifts in IT all around us. From financial services to manufacturing to government, there?s no corner of the global economy that isn?t affected by the numerous forces of change either looming on the horizon or actually causing upheaval among customers, suppliers, and partners today. It?s no wonder, then, that one or more of these new technology trends are finding their way into boardroom discussions.

Established enterprises have two strikes against them when they first set foot on this playing field. The first strike, of course, is the classic Innovator?s Dilemma ? if their current revenue streams are still profitable, how will they ever be able to risk transforming their organizations (thus jeopardizing current revenues) until it?s too late? But the second strike against the enterprise is equally dangerous: how will they become a next-gen, ?digital enterprise? given all their existing, legacy technology? You can?t scrap it, but keeping it around is a boat anchor around your neck. Furthermore, all those newer, nimble competitors have built their infrastructure in the Cloud. They don?t have the legacy boat anchor to worry about, right? Perhaps it?s time to quietly sink beneath the waves after all.

Not on your life, you say! We have our digital strategy and we?re sticking to it. Enterprises around the world just like yours are putting together elaborate digital/Internet/Cloud plans featuring a regular buzzword soup of technologies. You have your vision statement and it?s all digital. Nothing is going to get in your way, not even all that legacy threatening to weigh you down.

But then reality sets in. You can hire a room full of management consultants to peck away at their typewriters, and even the best Next-Gen Digital Big Data Cloud Social Mobile Strategy to come off their inky rubber platens won?t answer the one big question: how?

I?m not talking about the pie-in-the-sky, buzzword-laden ?how? you usually get from those big thinkers out there. I?m talking about the practical, step-by-step ?how? that starts with today?s reality, legacy and all, and provides a realistic, real-world approach to transforming the enterprise. For many organizations there?s a fundamental disconnect between the next-gen digital vision and the reality of today?s intractable legacy-centric business. Spending time and money on the former without a plan for dealing with the latter is simply chasing rainbows. Yes, they?re quite colorful and appear to be within reach, but they move away from you as you attempt to approach them, only to fade away entirely.

Putting together the ?how? behind not just legacy modernization, but true enterprise transformation is at the core of my Agile Architecture approach at Intellyx. There are plenty of pundits out there who will talk about rainbows, and that?s fine. I love rainbows as much as the next person. But if you?re ready to cut through the buzzwords and put together a realistic, practical plan to become the next-gen, digital enterprise you know you must become, drop me a line. But whatever you do, don?t chase rainbows.

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