One for all: The enterprise digital platform serves C-Level executives

BrandPost By Ima Buxton
May 31, 2017
IT Leadership

The Enterprise Digital Platform is the engine of digital transformation in which all CxOs can benefit and leverage to deliver on their roles.

The Enterprise Digital Platform is the technological centerpiece of the new, connected digital economy. With its five key service layers – engagement, integration, development, data, and core IT – it integrates enterprise applications, makes data accessible, and easily connects with ecosystems and users. This enables the new type of processes that define the era of digital transformation.

By design, this requires a holistic approach to the enterprise organization, integrating the flow of information and breaking down departmental barriers or silos. Top-level executives from the different departments of an organization may have inherently different interests and focus on alternative aspects of any given situation. Dealing with digital transformation is no exception.

However, all C-level executives will be jointly responsible for the implementation of a platform strategy. To thrive in digital transformation, the CEO and COO together with the executives of IT, marketing, HR, and finance must truly form a “digital dream team”. Understanding the respective benefits of enterprise digital platforms for each of these CxOs can be the force that helps overcome departmental barriers.

The essential task for CIOs is of course to choose the right platform and lay the technological foundation on which the other CxOs can build their digital programs and use cases. It is important that they are strategically minded and can set a complete business model transformation in motion.

CEOs and COOs focus on strategy and process for the whole organization, looking for new business opportunities and revenue streams in order to maintain competitiveness. This is not so much about finding the “best” processes but defining “next” practices, that enable businesses to remain successful in the evolving industry landscape. The Internet of Things opens the door to a whole set of new products and service innovation.

Use cases for Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) are instantly tangible and have been readily adopted: Personalized communications, products, and services, as well as shopping experiences through integrated interaction with customers lead to often spectacular results in sales, customer retention and brand loyalty. However, there is a danger of creating, what IDC calls, “islands of innovation“. Enterprise digital platforms can integrate these with core IT systems.

The Chief Financial Officer (CFO) profits from increased cost predictability and more measurable business cases of IT projects. The easy access to data also provides more insight and control over assets and costs. For Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO), the greatest opportunity lies in automation and standardization of administrational processes and the empowerment of employees.

To deal with the challenges of digital disruption, a culture of innovation is required – embracing opportunity rather than emphasizing the risks. In such a scenario, the enterprise digital platform can become the reference point for the Chief Information Officer (CIO) and the rest of the “digital dream team”: They must come together to develop a common, enterprise-wide approach to digital transformation. This is critical for success, as IDC has found that cultural resistance to change is the single most important barrier in digital transformation, leading to fragmented innovation, which endangers the successful execution of the platform strategy.

Download for free the IDC Executive Brief “The Enterprise Digital Platform for CxOs”, to gain deep insight into how each member of the digital dream team can benefit from the enterprise digital platform.  

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Further reading

SAP Digital Business Framework: A digital platform for live business