When an organization has found the right people and leadership, the Future Fit Strategy can be translated to 7 imperatives that will govern the development of the required platforms, practices and partnerships as illustrated in the figure below.
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When successful, these platforms and practices will become the valuable assets that will determine the future success of the enterprise. Many organizations are quite familiar with thinking in terms of business assets as resources with economic value that an individual corporation owns or controls with the expectation that it will provide future benefits. Assets are usually reported on a company’s balance sheet and are bought or created to increase a firm’s value or benefit the firm’s operations. An asset can be thought of as something that, in the future, can generate cash flow, reduce expenses, or improve sales, regardless of whether it’s tangible, like manufacturing equipment or intangible like a patent.
When it comes to the digital world, we often think that because you can’t see, touch or feel the furnishings or furniture that it doesn’t deserve the attention and investment of the physical. We are wired to be sensory creatures and attuned to the feel of a physical planet. The evolution, customs and culture of millennia is embedded. The need and want for physical assets are hardwired by time. In an increasingly digital world and quickly evolving knowledge economy, we need to adjust our thinking and priorities regarding where we invest our time and money.
In this digital world, where every business is becoming a technology business, companies should start looking beyond the conventional assets and regard their investments in modern information technology as the ‘digital assets’ that they have become with clear economic value and the expectation that they will provide future benefits. The success of the ‘innovation ready enterprise’ relies on these ‘digital assets’ providing the maneuverability and resilience to respond to sudden, sometimes systemic change.
So far, we can identify five clear digital assets that every organization needs to develop:
- A Unified Digital Platform;
- The practice of Agile Solution Delivery;
- The practice of Advanced Analytics Capability;
- The practice of Hyper Automation Drive;
- The practice of Business/IT Fusion
Because the technological universe continues to expand, augment and adapt at a phenomenal rate, these digital assets require constant attention, not in the least because the time that organizations have to adjust to new developments is continuously compressed. They must respond faster than ever. It used to be that most attention went to the issue of technological possibility but now we have arrived in a time that almost everything we could dream of has become a reality. Economic viability is also becoming less of an issue because tremendously advanced technologies are now instantly available through the simple call to a cloud-based service. What is now at the center of attention is the socially desirability of technologies. So the question is not ‘Can we build it?’, nor ‘Can we afford to build it?’ but ‘Should we build it?’
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All things considered, the picture above emerges of an IT-infrastructure that is enabling the ‘Innovation Ready’ enterprise, offering a (unified) platform, four distinctive practices and potential partnerships with the hyper-scalers to leverage their cloud services. Each organization will make its own decision to what extend services are acquired through the cloud, through in-house development and/or through on-premise provisioning. The Technovision framework, consisting of six containers and the overarching principles to balance by design, helps to identify the technology trends that are most relevant for an organization and shows the way how to incorporate those in the IT-infrastructure to constantly evolve the maneuverability of the enterprise.