InsightaaS: I don't spend a lot of time talking or thinking about cars, but there's a phenomenon that even I've noticed: when you buy a particular type of car (our most recent was a Subaru), you start to see that brand everywhere on the road.
I think there are parallels to this in other walks of life. For example, in the book I published last November (The Death of Core Competency), I made the point that the management implications of cloud are a much bigger issue than questions surrounding the technology itself, kicking off a key section of the text with the observation that if the entire concept of cloud “was condensed into a single 24 hour period, the ‘clock’ would show that only the first 90 minutes or so of the cloud “day” will be dedicated to technical discussion; the remaining 22½ hours will focus on the managerial implications of cloud."
Since that time, I've noticed other commentary along these lines. After a period of (mostly cloud-related) uncertainty and disruption in the industry, the technology itself is starting to be taken as a 'given', and more attention is being paid to the question of 'what do we do with this stuff?' Accenture's Technology Vision 2015 report, "Digital Business Era: Stretch Your Boundaries," provides a good example of the trend. The overview starts with this: "If your company is like most, the last few years have seen your top teams focused on leveraging social, mobile, analytics, and cloud (SMAC) to transform your enterprise into a digital business. Today, the challenge has become: What will business leaders do with their digital advantage?" It then discusses five issues that are important to the business value of digital infrastructure: "the Internet of Me," "outcome economy," "the platform (r)evolution" ("Platform-based ecosystems [as] the new plane of competition"), "intelligent enterprise" and "workforce reimagined."
For the most part, the text around these headings is about what you'd expect: pronouncements that paint a picture of the future, one in which many readers would be hard-pressed to locate themselves. That's not really the point, though; Accenture isn't really a source of practical, tactical advice for the mainstream economy, but rather, a purveyor of vision to very large customers. What's important is the nature of this vision. If we take the cloud platform as a given, we can start to examine the business benefits that it enables. The ones articulated in the Accenture "Technology Vision 2015" may not apply especially widely, but they provide a data point in a longer trend that moves us from debating the merits of IaaS vs. PaaS (or public vs. private) to a more fruitful discussion on how IT investments deliver tangible business advantages.
If your company is like most, the last few years have seen your top teams focused on leveraging social, mobile, analytics, and cloud (SMAC) to transform your enterprise into a digital business. Today, the challenge has become: What will business leaders do with their digital advantage?
It’s not a trivial question. Becoming a digital business is a massive transformation. Two years ago, the Accenture Technology Vision forecasted the pervasive need for every business to become a digital business. We saw technology begin to take its place as a primary driver of profitability and market differentiation in every industry.
Last year at Accenture, we began to see the industry leaders embrace this transformation and begin to reimagine their businesses for the digital era. The 2014 Accenture Technology Vision declared that “Big is the Next Big Thing.” We saw that the next logical step for large and often long-established companies was to start using technology not just as a way to improve their own internal processes, but also as a driving force for how they grow. We predicted that these new “digerati,” with their deep resources, huge scale, and process discipline, were about to rewrite much of the digital playbook.
Today, we see pioneering enterprises beginning to do just that—but they are doing far more than just flexing their digital muscles. They are fundamentally changing the way they look at themselves—leading enterprises are quickly mastering the shift from “me” to “we.” They are stretching their boundaries by tapping into a broad array of other digital businesses, digital customers, and even digital things at the edge of their networks. Leaders who are eager to drive change are using this broader digital ecosystem to place bets on a grand scale...