The main difference between running digital today and in the 1980s when the concept of CIM (Computer Integrated Manufacturing) was the latest disruptor is as simple as the availability of real-time technology because real-time technology gives us the potential to connect everything with everything else.

In the early days of CIM, ideation around E2E processes already took place, but later in the 90s, with the rise of ERP, companies started aiming to “clean house” and began investing more and more in process standardization and optimization.

Nevertheless, when observing companies now, one can see that they are still in the old mindset where they want to “clean house and optimize” their own businesses instead of looking for opportunities to connect their companies to others and build intelligent networks. If you ask yourself, in your current business environment, to what extent your blueprints are aligned with those from your network, you should not be ashamed if the answer is not at all (even though we all know that the IoT will give us more opportunities to work in a cross-silo and cross-functional way). When we speak about social architectures, we are discussing the combination of processes, data, and values related to a consumer. First how to integrate customers in all aspects, and then how to use devices to move consumers from the current business model and attract them to new ones.

Creating Intelligent Networks

Integrating customers and making the new business models appealing to them require different kinds of E2E processes, different ways of relating to consumers, different ways of acting towards competitors along with knowing that potential consumers in the IoT world are also visible to all other participants in the market.

But in the new intelligent network environment described above, we have even more potential if we keep in mind that a connected world will use intelligent sensors and intelligent infrastructure. Then we can anticipate intelligence networks. So the next phase will have not only human consumers participating in the market but also intelligent assets of companies will interact with intelligent assets from many other companies, and these assets will all be consumers based on intelligent services.

Having this projection in mind raises the question as to whether companies and government should approach collaboration in different and new ways. What if we create intelligent networks, for example, using blockchain semantics which allows cloud-based ledgers to be shared for stocks, leaving the conventional thinking involving on-premise ERPs and inventories behind? Think about the potential in the public sector, healthcare, for sustainability, and beyond.

Why the Pros Outweigh the Cons

Indeed, it may be scary since it is more about giving up responsibility or losing control instead of trusting in future-thinking business architects. Nevertheless, it may be worthwhile to consider since investments in current environments and long-term migration programs are often too short-sighted.

Capabilities such as AI or Blockchain, quantum computing, and open borders in IoT will make different business models and kinds of collaboration possible. We need to think about these things now and change our behavior and traditional roles. If not, we will keep investing in things from the past.

Getting there requires not only thinking outside of the box but a digital lifecycle supported by forward-thinking leaders, with both an inside and outside view, who are not afraid to break away from the present.

Otto Schell in charge of digital transformation consulting at PDAgroup. Find out more about how PDAgroup can assist you with digitalization. For more about Otto Schell, visit his LinkedIn profile.