Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Time Continuums as a Competitive Advantage in Digital Transformation

We humans have a finite speed at which we think, analyze and make decisions that is largely determined by biology, chemistry and physics.  These limitations were not a problem when business was conducted largely by face-to-face interactions with other humans.  Today, however, in the digital age, businesses must operate in “digital” and ultimately in “future” time. Here’s a closer look at these different time continuums:

Human time: Time governed by our biological and mental limitations as humans. We can only focus on a small set of data before our minds are overwhelmed.  When important decisions must be made, our brains need time, significant time, to weigh all the variables, pros and cons and possible outcomes in order to arrive at a good decision.  In times of high stress when making fast decisions is required, many of us don’t perform at our peak.  In addition, weak humans that we are, we need sleep.  We are not always available; we require daily downtime in order to function.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Precision as a Competitive Advantage in Digital Transformation

Throughout history military leaders have suffered through the "fog of war," where they desperately sought answers to six key questions:

• Where are my enemies?
• Where are my friends?
• Where are my forces?
• Where are my materials and supplies?
• What capabilities are available now and at what location?
• What are the environmental conditions?

These “unknowns” impacted the strategies and tactics military leaders employed. Their time and energy as leaders were heavily focused on defending themselves against these unknowns.

Speed as a Competitive Advantage in Digital Transformation

The concept of speed as an advantage is not new. Over the course of 700 years, the Romans built and maintained a system of roads extending over 55,000 miles to enable speedy communications and the quick movement of troops across the vast expanse of the empire.

What’s different today is that digital technologies have warped our perception of time. As an example, a person might say they live five minutes from town, but that can have widely different meanings based on whether they were referring to walking or driving a car.  Digital technologies compress our perception of time and space while expanding our expectations of what can be accomplished in a given time. We expect to complete the equivalent of one hour of shopping in a supermarket in one minute online.  These changes significantly impact the way businesses must operate in a digital era to compete and remain relevant.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Culture as a Competitive Advantage in Digital Transformation

The human work of solving problems, facing challenges and overcoming obstacles tends to share a common goal: creating stable, secure and predictable environments. The tendency for most humans is that once we solve a challenge, we want to be done with it.  That propensity, however, does not fit with today’s reality of perpetual change. 

In the digital business world, organizations have no choice but to operate in an unclear, uncertain and continuously shifting environment that requires a new mindset and approach to formulating business strategies.  Digital winners recognize that change is part of the game, and that they need to develop ways to exploit continuous ambiguity.   In fact, in our surveys of high-tech professionals, when we asked how long they thought digital transformation initiatives would last, about one-third of the surveyed technology professionals answered “forever” – and as we all know, forever is a long, long time.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Digital Technologies and the Compression of Time and Distance

Professor Paul Virilio, a philosopher of speed, urbanist and cultural theorist, wrote at length about the impact of speed on society.  He wrote that speed compresses both time and distance. Where once it took a letter 6 months to get to the other side of the world, an email can now arrive in seconds.  Today's near real-time communications has changed how nations are governed, markets operate and commerce is conducted.  The distance and time involved in communications has been compressed into seconds.

Commanders of Roman armies could once estimate the day and time of battle based upon their soldiers ability to march 20 miles per day on purpose built stone roads.  Today, however, a ballistic missile can be launched and reach the other side of the earth in minutes.   As a result, nations and their military commanders must now prepare to make critical decisions in mere seconds rather than taking days, weeks or months to deliberate.  That's a big deal.  In the past, an army could retreat and give up distance for time.  In the example of the roman army, an opponent could retreat and separate themselves by 100 miles to give them the security of 5 days of time.  Today 100 miles means only a matter of seconds.  The distance and time of military conflicts today has been compressed to milliseconds.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Patterns, Platforms, Competitive Advantages and Automation

Any significant business process that can be documented and best practices identified - will be.  Any defined process that can be standardized - will be.  Standardized processes that can be codified and automated (through robotic software automation), will be - if the volume justifies it.  If the process is repeatable across many companies it will be offered as a shared service on a platform in a cloud.

If you agree with these technology maxims, then you are likely to agree that most existing business processes offer little competitive advantages in the long run, and the advantages of new innovations are fleeting so must be captured early.  They will eventually become part of a shared services platform followed and used by your competitors.  For example, 20 and 40 foot shipping containers offered a competitive advantage for shipping companies and ports that were early adopters, but only for a very short period of time.  After a quick few years the entire world standardized on them and the competitive advantage disappeared.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Making the Hard Decisions in Digital Transformation

How can an organization with decades worth of accumulated ERP customizations and configurations, IT systems and customized software applications digitally transform fast enough to keep up with the rapidly changing behaviors of digital customers? That is a hard question most organizations are wrestling with today.  Often complex custom IT environments served a purpose in a past era, but today where IT speed and agility are required, they serve as anchors restraining an organization from moving forward and digitally transforming fast enough to compete.

Like a CEO that closes down or sells a profitable business unit because it no longer fits with where the organization is going, CTOs and CIOs must rapidly shut down or replace IT systems and processes that no longer support the reality of today, or the vision of the future based on the best information available today - not yesterday. Keeping an outdated IT system or business process for the purpose of achieving a positive return on the original investment is a strategy based on pride, not logic.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

The Center for Digital Intelligence Interview: IoT Platforms with Hitachi's Rob Tiffany

I had the honor of interviewing and disrupting the vacation of Hitachi's CTO for Industrial IoT, Rob Tiffany today.  In this interview we talk all about IoT platforms, big data analytics, architectures, digital twins and solution stacks for industrial IoT.  I learned a lot and hope you will too.

Read more from Kevin Benedict here:

  1. Digital Transformation and the New Rules for Start-Ups
  2. Digital Transformation and Leadership Development
  3. Digital Transformation and Competitive Decision-Making
  4. Combinatorial Nature of Digital Technologies and Legos
  5. Digital Transformation from 40,000 feet
  6. Winning in Chaos - Digital Leaders
  7. 13 Recommended Actions for Digital Transformation in Retail
  8. Mistakes in Retail Digital Transformation
  9. Winning Strategies for the Fourth Industrial Revolution
  10. Digital Transformation - Mindset Differences
  11. Analyzing Retail Through Digital Lenses
  12. Digital Thinking and Beyond!
  13. Measuring the Pace of Change in the Fourth Industrial Revolution
  14. How Digital Thinking Separates Retail Leaders from Laggards
  15. To Bot, or Not to Bot
  16. Oils, Bots, AI and Clogged Arteries
  17. Artificial Intelligence Out of Doors in the Kingdom of Robots
  18. How Digital Leaders are Different
  19. The Three Tsunamis of Digital Transformation - Be Prepared!
  20. Bots, AI and the Next 40 Months
  21. You Only Have 40 Months to Digitally Transform
  22. Digital Technologies and the Greater Good
  23. Video Report: 40 Months of Hyper-Digital Transformation
  24. Report: 40 Months of Hyper-Digital Transformation
  25. Virtual Moves to Real in with Sensors and Digital Transformation
  26. Technology Must Disappear in 2017
  27. Merging Humans with AI and Machine Learning Systems
  28. In Defense of the Human Experience in a Digital World
  29. Profits that Kill in the Age of Digital Transformation
  30. Competing in Future Time and Digital Transformation
  31. Digital Hope and Redemption in the Digital Age
  32. Digital Transformation and the Role of Faster
  33. Digital Transformation and the Law of Thermodynamics
  34. Jettison the Heavy Baggage and Digitally Transform
  35. Digital Transformation - The Dark Side
  36. Business is Not as Usual in Digital Transformation
  37. 15 Rules for Winning in Digital Transformation
  38. The End Goal of Digital Transformation
  39. Digital Transformation and the Ignorance Penalty
  40. Surviving the Three Ages of Digital Transformation
  41. The Advantages of an Advantage in Digital Transformation
  42. From Digital to Hyper-Transformation
  43. Believers, Non-Believers and Digital Transformation
  44. Forces Driving the Digital Transformation Era
  45. Digital Transformation Requires Agility and Energy Measurement
  46. A Doctrine for Digital Transformation is Required
  47. Digital Transformation and Its Role in Mobility and Competition
  48. Digital Transformation - A Revolution in Precision Through IoT, Analytics and Mobility
  49. Competing in Digital Transformation and Mobility
  50. Ambiguity and Digital Transformation
  51. Digital Transformation and Mobility - Macro-Forces and Timing
  52. Mobile and IoT Technologies are Inside the Curve of Human Time
Kevin Benedict
President, Principal Analyst, Futurist, the Center for Digital Intelligence™
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***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

New Rules for Start-Ups in the Age of Digital Transformation

I have had the opportunity to work for and around a good many start-ups during the course of my career.  Often the start-up founders would simply define a problem, develop a solution and launch a company.  The marketing department would then do their very best to identify the individuals in each target company that experienced the problem and had a budget to fix it.  This was always a challenging task, but it is even harder today.

Today, start-ups must not only identify a problem that needs solved, but they must compete against "digital transformation" initiatives in both the business and IT organizations that are trying to reduce complexity through the elimination of applications, customized software solutions, IT systems, multiple instances of ERPs and vendors.

The goal of many organizations today is to simplify the IT environment, and to make business processes much faster and agile.  I see many companies seeking to standardize on a handful of platforms like, SAP, Adobe, Ariba, SuccessFactor, etc. Too many systems in an IT inventory, means too much complexity and the increased risk that data will be compromised, and that systems will be too expensive to maintain, secure and upgrade.  In this age of fast changing digital consumer behaviors, flexibility and simplicity equal organizational speed to keep up with their markets.

What is the answer for start-ups?  Start-up solutions must appeal to the digital transformation goals of their target customers.  It means their solution must be cloud based and automatically upgraded to stay aligned with customer's core platforms and systems.  It means offering artificial intelligence enabled robotic process automation, chatbots and machine learning that can improve predictability, simplify complexity and eliminate troublesome areas of service and performance.  It must not result in any additional layers of complexity, rather new solutions need to solve big problems, while at the same time reducing complexity, and increasing agility and the operational tempo of the business.

Kevin Benedict
President, Principal Analyst, Futurist, the Center for Digital Intelligence™
View my profile on LinkedIn
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Subscribe to Kevin's YouTube Channel
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Technologies
Join the Google+ Community Mobile Enterprise Strategies

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.