When I first sat down to brainstorm with my team about the book, I shared the history of IT and Business and the changes that have taken place. The speed of change has been so rapid that IT departments have struggled to keep up and as a result have suffered. I explained that today a lot of businesses cannot satisfy consumer demands at the pace of which they are generated because of complicated IT infrastructures, accumulated as a result of this need to keep up. It has led to the divide between IT and Business that exists today. And so I knew this was the time to share how we can prepare for this new paradigm shift in IT thinking — “The Digital Enterprise.”

No Longer An Option

Companies must change to digital. It is as simple as that. Evolution has taught us many lessons and “digital Darwinism” exists for a reason, and therefore I believe organizations are part of this equation too.

“In this connected world, customers are no longer anonymous. They are known. They are not just a number or an account; rather, they are unique human beings with a distinct set of needs. They want a two-way relationship where they are at the center of your world.” – Marc Benioff, Foreword

In order to survive by beating the competition every business needs to become a digital one. Technology is the key driver for differentiation now, whether you are in Retail, Finance, Manufacturing, Government, even Pharmaceutical, there is no longer an excuse not to embrace this digital revolution to improve and innovate. But innovation does not mean just investing in new technologies.

Innovation in every corner of the enterprise

When I was developing the book I wanted to show practical examples of companies that have taken advantage of innovation and this digital paradigm. It was not enough to just talk about it, I needed to reveal those successes. Each example, no matter what industry they represent, have taken their existing systems of record and overlaid these with a key element defining the Digital Enterprise: the Agility Layer. By taking advantage of mobile, cloud, big data technologies for example as a layered and holistic approach they were able to leverage their existing investment in technology with newer and more agile capabilities. Now they are driving their business to become a digital business through end-to-end innovation, enabling the employees to have more insight into the processes they operate, where typically in the past only top management had this information.

The result, clear from the lessons in the examples given in the book, is a boost of motivation, empowerment, job satisfaction and company success.

A study from Capgemini revealed that digital enabled companies have on average a 26 % higher margin.

Digital savvy customers want to deal with digital savvy companies

Software AG helps businesses achieve their own digital enterprise vision, so it only made sense to have someone with the similar vision and gravitas to write the foreword. Marc Benioff, CEO of salesforce.com represents to me a leader who understands what it means to be a Digital Enterprise, for both the company and the customers it serves. A great quote I enjoy reading again and again highlights his thinking perfectly:

“Companies must transform themselves to meet the rising expectations of modern customers. Innovative companies are connecting customers, partners, employees, and even products in new ways. I call them “customer companies.” Becoming a customer company is not an option; it is mandatory for any business looking to grow in the coming years.”

Marc understands that to get ahead in business today we must embrace the opportunities that technology affords companies, doing so will propel greater revenues and customer satisfaction.

Learn from others

I enjoyed developing the book immensely, engaging with customers of our company who have used it to create their own digital vision and researching others who have done the same. We share an amazing future where technology will enable a better world for all.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts and hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did developing it.

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