Pathways to the Intelligent Enterprise

No Single Route

Over the past half decade, Canadian business leaders have been hearing the message loud and clear about the need to establish a digital strategy. The challenge, and where managers need guidance now, is how. The route taken will depend on the degree to which industry dynamics and customer demand are changing, and how far along your organization is in terms of transforming to succeed in the digital economy.

Use the four-stage IE progress model as a framework to move from one stage to the next.

  • Observer -> Participant — invest in cloud and analytics, move digital from single departments to an enterprisewide strategy, clearly communicate plans and road maps
  • Participant -> Challenger — broaden the focus of digital plans to engage all functional areas, create talent management plan to harness new skills, e.g., AI/machine learning, establish experience management program
  • Challenger -> Leader — ensure experience management programs are funded and tied to digital strategy, incorporate clear measures of improvement to connect digital to business objectives, formalize change management as a core competency

What Do IE Leaders Do Differently?
Ten Key Attributes

Understanding more advanced organizations provides insight for other businesses. In our study we found what differentiates IE Leaders from the rest of the pack.

IE Leaders have:

  1. Established and executed a formal digital strategy and are producing results
  2. Internalized the need to innovate and grow
  3. Focused digital technology to make incremental and continuous improvements
  4. Integrated enterprisewide digital innovation with operations and customer experience
  5. Invested in cloud infrastructure, productivity and collaboration solutions, and data management services
  6. Commonly deployed multiclouds and AI/machine-learning solutions
  7. Willingness to alter their workforce mix to ensure the skill sets needed for digital initiatives are available
  8. Enthusiastically engaged IT staff and senior management in the execution of digital strategy
  9. Plans to increase their focus on experience management in the next year
  10. Identified customer experience and employee experience as the top 2 metrics used to measure performance of their digital strategy

The resulting outcomes that stand out for IE Leaders that emphasize experience management are highlighted below — the most commonly cited benefit is increased profit.

Experience Management Outcome Improvements Observed by IE Leaders

Figure 6

Competency Around Change Management Is Key

As new processes are introduced and emerging technology is deployed ever faster in enterprises today, the importance of change management intensifies. There’s a balancing act required to ensure rapid progress is made in executing a digital strategy, with the need to socialize and manage the resulting impacts on customers, employees, and other stakeholders. For example, Toronto Hydro has formalized a robust comprehensive change management practice.

"When we adopt a new technology, as part of the whole digital transformation, we work very hard and very comprehensively with our internal users to train them, to give them awareness, to answer questions, to take their input, and embed it into the solution."

Robert Wong, CIO, Toronto Hydro

Skills development is an important ingredient to the change management process, as new tools are needed to progress. The study found that over 90% of IE Leaders successfully or very successfully acquire the skills to execute the digital strategy, compared with just 38% of IE Observers.

Essential Guidance

While there may be multiple pathways to the intelligent enterprise, we see common attributes that help get organizations on the right track.

  • 1

    Take bold steps: establish a clear vision and strategy for the business and communicate that clearly throughout the organization.

  • 2

    Invest in the foundations: cloud and analytics form the basis for any organization’s ability to scale up and derive business value from data — advancements in the areas of machine learning/AI and IoT will come after the building blocks are in place.

  • 3

    Deploy these technologies so that teams are empowered to use the intelligence and insights to impact the business positively.

  • 4

    Ensure experience management is included in the strategy and has a holistic view — tying CX to employee experience.

  • 5

    Finally, build agility into the talent plan as the most progressive organizations succeed by anticipating skill requirements and changing the mix of employees and training programs as needed.

About the 2019 SAP-IDC Intelligent Enterprise Study

In August 2019 IDC completed a survey of 303 organizational strategy decision makers and influencers with Canadian enterprises that have $50 million+ in revenue and a minimum of 100 employees. The study objective was to examine the progress of digital strategy, explore pathways to the intelligent enterprise, and examine the role of experience management in Canadian enterprises.

The Intelligent Enterprise: What It Is and How to Get There

Canadian companies are striving toward building the intelligent enterprise (IE). This InfoBrief examines the progress of IE Leaders and details the benefits gained from their digital journey.