The Concept of the Digital Enterprise
The concept of the digital enterprise has been on my mind for quite some time. As a consumer and citizen, I interact with both private and public organizations through their digital representations. While some interactions are convenient, others can be frustrating. I previously explored this issue in an article titled “Uncompromising algorithms + inconsiderate humans = poor service.” As The IT Paradigmologist, I am particularly interested in how managing IT in a digital enterprise differs from a traditional one, and how the DevOps approach can be applied.
The Digital Hologram
I am grateful to Ravi Narayan, a lecturer at the Naveen Jindal School of Management at the University of Texas in Dallas, who introduced the term “hologram” to describe the digital version of an enterprise. The digital hologram should be consistent with the analog version, ensuring that customers have a seamless experience whether they are dealing with physical entities or digital representations. In my view, a digital enterprise is an organization where customers, employees, and partners can interact and transact with the business both in person and digitally, depending on their preferences and needs. Many of the key functions of the enterprise are automated, meaning that customers perceive the organization’s app on their smartphone as “the bank” just as much as they perceive the physical building with people.
Compared to traditional enterprises, there are two significant differences in digital enterprises. Firstly, information systems are not just internal resources but are integral parts of the product itself. I use the term “product” in a broader sense, encompassing goods, services, or a combination of both. Importantly, information systems contribute to or detract from the customer’s experience, differentiating one enterprise from its competitors. The other point I observe is also related to customer experience, and it involves synchronizing the analog and digital aspects to provide a consistent customer experience.
Both the integration of information systems into the product and the consistency of analog and digital experiences imply the need for close collaboration between individuals with digital expertise and those with analog expertise. Most organizations have an IT department that supports multiple business units. The IT department considers the business units as their customers and has formal agreements regarding services, service levels, and costs, further emphasizing the distinction between the service provider and the service consumer. The IT department invests in “business-IT alignment” to bridge this gap, but again, it reinforces the existence of two separate parties.
While centralizing the enterprise’s IT activities within an IT department may have made sense twenty-five years ago, it is doubtful whether a digital enterprise would benefit enough from this structure to justify it. The usual benefits of centralization, such as economies of scale, may be outweighed by the bureaucracy and loss of focus and motivation that often accompany the creation of organizational silos. In general, digital enterprises benefit more from effective product development than from efficient production. Therefore, it makes sense to decentralize IT activities and integrate them as integral parts of the business units. There will still be a distinction between digital and analog disciplines, but they will work together as co-workers rather than one dictating to the other.
I believe it is useful to consider customer-centric collaboration between four major disciplines: analog business development, digital business development, analog operations, and digital operations. This collaboration is based on the three principles of DevOps, a topic I have previously explored in articles like “DevOps – the prequel and the sequel” and “DevOps as part of the IT value cycle.”
The solid lines in the illustration depict the flow of products from development, through operations, to the customer. The line from Digital Operations to Analog Operations represents IT for internal use. Digital Development and Analog Development also require internal IT, but for the sake of simplicity, these relationships have been omitted. It is worth considering whether Digital Operations should provide both external and internal IT support or if and how these should be separated.
The solid lines represent the main flow of value and also reflect the three principles of DevOps: systems thinking, which considers downstream effects, amplified feedback loops for rapid response to unexpected outcomes, and a culture of continuous learning and experimentation. The dotted lines represent collaboration and communication, and the same three principles of DevOps apply to the way of working.
Like my previous doodles, this exploration does not provide definitive guidance but offers one of many perspectives. In summary, here are some approaches for a digital enterprise to consider:
- Focus on delivering a superior and consistent customer experience, whether in analog or digital form.
- Decentralize IT as a co-worker in both development and operations, rather than treating it as an order-taker.
- Apply the three principles of DevOps to improve the interactions between various disciplines.
A digital enterprise should prioritize delivering a superior and consistent customer experience, both in analog and digital channels. IT should be decentralized and treated as a co-worker in both development and operations. By adopting the principles of DevOps, the interactions between different disciplines can be enhanced.
Conclusion: So above is the Digital Enterprise DevOps article. Hopefully with this article you can help you in life, always follow and read our good articles on the website: Megusta.info