Plan of the Brain - Diagrams from Dr Alesha Sivartha's Book of Life (1898) The Public Domain Review

Adopting a Digital Enterprise Mindset (Part two)

Digital facilitates a mindset of ever-accelerating business change.

The first installment of this series introduced the digital enterprise as a radical rethinking of business because of digital capabilities. No business can exist today without having some digital capacity. Barring a few outliers, most enterprises have a website, email, devices, and productivity applications. Yet most enterprises approach digital as a tactical activity focused on technology and do not adopt a digital enterprise mindset.

The digital enterprise is a strategic mindset focused on facilitating ever-accelerating business change. Sometimes change is enabled by the technology but, at other times, change is enabled the freeing of the executive’s minds to do new, bold things. Those things might not even require new technology because the business has learned to run faster, accept more inputs, reduce controls, exploit information, make effective employees, and innovate at will (to name a few things).  

The digital enterprise is an ethos; a rethinking of digital is a business imperative. Digital is in the fabric of the business.

The digital enterprise is an ethos; a rethinking of digital is a business imperative. Digital is in the fabric of the business. The focus of a digital enterprise mindset is strategic. It’s a reconsideration of how digital is thought about by the entire organization. Leadership, business, and employees play equally critical roles in the digital enterprise. Without consensus, the digital enterprise will struggle. If any of these constituents cannot envision the benefits or opportunities that digital offers, the odds for failure increase. In some cases, departments or divisions may find themselves pursuing digital transformations alone without business and leadership participation. In these cases, expect the transformation to be slow and prepare for setbacks and impediments to progress due to lack of cohesion, accountability, and differing goals. A digital enterprise mindset shift needs to infiltrate the entire organization.

Tactically, IT plays a critical role in the digital enterprise. People with knowledge and skills are critical to facilitate the delivery of digital capabilities. This group must also change its mindset to align its work to the digital enterprise mindset. IT needs to shift from being Technology Responders that want to master technology to becoming Digital Curators that support dynamic and continuous transformation.

Technology Responders vs. Digital Curators
Technology Responders vs. Digital Curators

IT Responders want to master the technology; Digital Curators support dynamic and continuous transformation.

As mindsets change from technology responding to curating, so does the understanding of digital’s impact on the enterprise. The combining of the strategic digital enterprise business ethos with the tactical Digital Curator mindset facilitates a convergence “where business people have a baseline of technical literacy and technical people have a baseline of business skillsets.”* 

The digital enterprise comprises three digital dimensions:

    • Digital Business – the products, offerings, processes, operations, innovation, and intelligence.
    • Digital Work – how people get their work done.
    • Digital Information – the data, content, media and other digitally stored information.

These three dimensions align with the changes in mindset and approaches that the business considers:

3D Model of the Digital Enterprise
3D Model of the Digital Enterprise

This 3D Model of Digital Enterprise challenges the well-trodden “People, Process, and Technology” approaches to technology delivery. Specifically by including data and information in the digital enterprise universe. Data and information lie at the center of today’s technology trends and innovations. Today’s businesses run on data and information they collect and can use. A holistic point of view of the entire digital realm enables enterprises to develop more flexible, integrated, and agile digital approaches.

Putting Data & Information at the Center of Digital
Putting Data & Information at the Center of Digital

This is the second installment of a multi-part article on the Digital Enterprise. The first article introduces the Digital Enterprise. In the next article, we address building a business case for the core business leaders to commit to a holistic strategy and some approaches that can help.

*Janine Byas, SSAP,  “It’s time to level-up your EX”, November 1, 2019.


The views and opinions in this analysis are my own and do not represent positions or opinions of The Analyst Syndicate. Read more on the Disclosure Policy.