Deep Shift: Fundamental Changes in Enterprise Technology

Topics: Big Data / Analytics Infrastructure Organizational Structure Risk Management

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The Roundtable on Digital Strategies first discussed the impact of technology mega-trends in 2011, as mobile computing, social media, big data and the cloud started to infiltrate enterprise IT. 6 years later, these and other technologies permeate life and business so thoroughly that every organization has to consider what it means to become a truly “digital enterprise.” What is required for success, and what are the risks of failing — or even of not moving fast enough to launch a digital business transformation? The Roundtable convened at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College to share experiences from digital transformations thus far, and to exchange insights, concerns, and practical suggestions about how to ride the accelerating waves of technical change. Participants included CIOs and fellow executives from ARC, Chevron, Eastman Chemical, Eaton, Hilti, the International Committee of the Red Cross, Levi Strauss, Rocana, Tenaris, and TetraPak, along with Executive Fellows and the Directors of the Center for Digital Strategies of the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.

The Roundtable on Digital Strategies meets four times a year to discuss a specific business issue or theme. In focused discussions that cut across organizations and industries, participants from noncompeting member corporations examine meaningful business issues and topical challenges that they have in common. They come away from the day-long experience with new ideas and new approaches to specific challenges—the kind of creative assessment that arises only from diverse perspectives.

Key Insights Discussed in this Article:

  • Technology has shifted from business enabler to business differentiator. The way for IT to keep up with P&L needs is to reduce but maintain core systems for security and infrastructure, while pushing data to the businesses for agile application development and innovation.
  • Incrementalism is dangerous. Companies that move in traditional, measured steps risk being leap-frogged or carved up by competitors: Digital business transformation demands moving at the speed of start-ups.
  • Every new technology innovation creates the opportunity to seize leadership. Predictive analytics, augmented/virtual reality, and the blockchain are the next wave of game changers. The first companies in each industry to define best practices and standards in each will win disproportionate competitive advantage.
  • Enterprises need to re-structure their relationships with risk. Anything that accelerates the pace of change has to be considered, from writing off technical debt on legacy systems to finding faster ways to work with start-ups and technologies.

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