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Business Agility Readiness — Raising the BAR for Enterprise Performance

By September 16, 2014Article

Creating Business Agility: How Convergence of Cloud, Social, Mobile, Video, and Big Data Enables Competitive Advantage,” by Rodney Heisterberg and Alakh Verma, director of product development, Oracle, (John Wiley & Sons, September 2014), provides a business case and game plan for integrating technology to build a smarter, more customer-centric digital business for a successful business ecosystem. “Business agility,” defined as innovation via collaboration to be able to anticipate challenges and opportunities before they occur, produces a sustainable competitive advantage. 

Business Agility book coverThe book’s focus is on Business Agility Readiness (BAR) in terms of the five major trends transforming the business value of IT — the “Force 5 tornado.” It describes how companies achieve BAR by utilizing data-driven platforms enabling reengineered decision-making processes, which leverage digital relationships with a social business model to drive innovation and collaboration. 

Winds of change and the Force 5 tornado 

What are the lessons learned from the accelerating pace of information technology disruption that has created a climate of innovation further multiplied by the convergence of those same technologies? 

The global consumerization of IT and the resulting “bring your own device” phenomenon in the business world are pushing the winds of change and generating the perfect storm of technology convergence with cloud, social, mobile, video and Big Data acting like a “Force 5 tornado” disrupting the business playing field. 

The use of the term “Force 5” refers to both the five technology trends as well as the highest strength level of the winds in such a storm. The “tornado” terminology is based on Geoffrey Moore’s technology adoption model associated with disruptive innovations described in “Crossing the Chasm,” which refers to technologies evolving from niche markets into the business mainstream. 

In the context of the disruptive technology metaphor, forward-looking enterprises can harness this disruptive power to their advantage via Big Data with predictive analytics in order to:

• Produce early warnings to strengthen infrastructure via the cloud

• Collaborate for real-time problem solving in their communities via social networks

• Communicate vital decision-making information to the right people, places and times via mobility solutions

• Provide interactive messages for alerts and instructional information via videos. 

By developing readiness for creating business agility and harnessing the five technological forces that have converged in our present business environment, market leaders will transform the Force 5 tornado spawned by this perfect storm into a coherent pattern of light, creating a rainbow that leads to a pot of gold — achieving success. 

Business Agility Readiness (BAR) roadmap 

The business value of IT can be realized by creating business agility using a strategy of innovation for CIO-CMO alignment around Big Data analytics based on collaborative marketing best practices. This is made actionable as a decision framework by incorporating a holistic customer-centric performance management system for a digital business utilizing a virtual enterprise balanced scorecard as the basis for a BAR roadmap. 

The roadmap describes and measures the CIO-CMO partnership alignment gap in the context of the moments of engagement that drive the transformation from a “system of record” to a “system of engagement” by implementing the Ecosystem Hub architecture. Such a tool is used to assess how to best vet the internal/external collaboration activities associated with management of Big Data for conducting advanced business analytics initiatives. 

This is accomplished by measuring the strategic readiness of the intangible assets associated with human capital, information capital, and organizational capital, which describe the knowledge perspective of the balanced scorecard. 

An illustration of how the Business Agility Readiness roadmap works is a gap analysis for a travel industry scenario based on the “Selling Sonoma County Wine Country” case study. Strategic alignment may be expressed in terms of a BAR roadmap for system of engagement implementation. The roadmap is a framework for a customer experience management solution that integrates digital business strategy with virtual enterprise operational execution via a center of excellence (CoE) for BAR. 

Center of Excellence and Ecosystem Hub 

Enterprises need to define the CoE in actionable terms. The CoE approach has been championed by Gartner for more than a decade to cultivate innovation and collaboration best practices. According to Gartner, a CoE may be a virtual center of knowledge, as an Ecosystem Hub, concentrating digital business expertise and resources in a core competency to sustain world-class performance across a value chain. Companies achieve linking the CoE to tangible value in a virtual enterprise by focusing on the key core competencies required to enable the digital business strategy. 

Big Data integration is a digital business core competency for creating business agility. It is also a critical success factor for CMO-CIO alignment with respect to the key performance indicators reflected in a virtual enterprise balanced scorecard for the “system of record – system of engagement gap analysis” in the BAR roadmap. Thus an Ecosystem Hub is the fundamental platform for a BAR CoE. 

In summary, a CoE is critical for the success of a digital business operating in value chains formed as a virtual enterprise to facilitate BAR in the business ecosystem. 

The dilemma of CIOs and CMOs in a digital business today is knowing how to remain agile in execution while constantly looking ahead to future opportunities such as leveraging infonomics applications for Big Data analytics services. 

The CoE challenge is to avoid the “ivory tower” syndrome by maintaining the “silicon crystal ball” focus on the future while providing relevant insight to CIO/CMO virtual enterprise strategy execution challenges now. 

Click here to purchase the book, “Creating Business Agility: How Convergence of Cloud, Social, Mobile, Video, and Big Data Enables Competitive Advantage.” 

Rodney Heisterberg, PhD, is professor in the School of Business and Management at Notre Dame de Namur University and managing partner at Rod Heisterberg Associates. He worked and consulted for numerous Global 500 companies and was director of information technology management consulting for Gartner where he performed technology product forecasting and led engagements for digital business transformation strategy. Heisterberg served as the co-chair of the joint government-industry group that authored the first U.S. standard for providing content management applications through Software as a Service. Contact him at










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