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The last few years have seen businesses across the world undergoing digital transformation, implementing various initiatives with a view to making their organizations as digitally-enabled as possible to successfully compete in our global digital economy. With many businesses now a good way along the route to digital transformation, many are asking where to go from here. Technology certainly isn’t standing still, so forward-thinking businesses will want to act now to stay in the race.

For more information on Intelligent Enterprise, don’t forget to swot up using the first article in our IE series - What is Intelligent Enterprise?

The next logical step for digitally transforming businesses is to create an Intelligent Enterprise, seamlessly moving business capabilities from the digital era to the emerging era of intelligence. As the sophisticated technologies and innovations that form the basis of so many digital strategies become more mainstream, businesses are having to look for new ways to differentiate themselves. And with today’s technological breakthroughs becoming yesterday’s news in next-to-no-time, agility and rapid change is a must-have. Before we look at how the Intelligent Enterprise is the next step in digital transformation however, it’s worth reminding ourselves just what digital transformation involves.


What is digital transformation?

Many people confuse digital transformation with digitization. While digitization is the application of technology to existing processes, using tools to automate and improve ways of working, digital transformation is so much more than this. Digital transformation involves adapting the entire business, transforming processes, procedures, skill sets, organizational culture and business models to optimize the opportunities that digital technologies can bring. Rather than shoe-horning the latest technology into an existing business set-up, digital transformation means adapting the culture of the business and the way the business operates to work collaboratively with new technology.

As such, it’s not a quick-fix. Comprehensive digital transformation programs require time and effort to make a real difference to the business. But it’s definitely a transformation worth pursuing as it’s only by digitally transforming that businesses can go beyond their traditional boundaries. There’s a whole host of opportunities that digital technologies can bring; increasing business agility, flexibility and adaptability for real improvements to the bottom line are to name just a few.


What next for digital transformation?

As we’ve already mentioned, what were radical new technologies just a few years ago are now becoming commonplace. This means that for businesses to stay competitive, it’s no longer enough to just pursue a strategy of digital transformation. It’s now necessary to go one step further and build on those digital transformation foundations to foster an Intelligent Enterprise. That’s not to say that digital transformation programs need to be put on hold. In fact, the very opposite is true, with comprehensive digital transformation necessary for the organization to evolve into an Intelligent Enterprise. But the end goal now needs to be intelligence-focussed, not just digital.

Using technologies such as AI, machine learning, advanced analytics and cloud computing, digitally transforming businesses can further automate manual activities. Your business is able to identify potential risks and forecast likely outcomes for any number of scenarios. This supports robust decision making and turns insight into valuable business actions. The new era of intelligence makes it necessary to combine the right assets, processes and technology to place data and insight at the heart of the business, staying ahead of both competitors and customers.


Speed is of the essence

Where businesses are able to get a distinct upper hand is by proactively preparing for change, with those who act first able to continually improve their processes with even more data and intelligence while their competitors play catch up. Digital transformation is more of an evolution than a revolution and those who are most successful are those who take a step-by-step approach. Building a firm foundation one step at a time is a must. It’s best to take a speedy but considered approach rather than waiting for a stack of technology to bolt on to the business in the hope that it will act as a remedy for all the business ills. It’s often this long wait for proven end-to-end solutions that puts businesses at a disadvantage, while their more dynamic competitors recognize the importance of building a secure foundation one brick at a time.

A successful Intelligent Enterprise is supported by a digitally transformed organization, with the solid foundations in place from which businesses can re-engineer their existing technologies and processes. By taking full advantage of new and emerging technologies to connect people, processes, data and technologies it’s possible to foster a culture that turns decision making into valuable business outcomes quickly and effectively. Without digital transformation, it’s impossible to build an Intelligent Enterprise. But building an Intelligent Enterprise is the next step in what needs to be an ongoing, perhaps even perpetual process of digital transformation, putting technological innovations at the heart of the business, constantly differentiating the business with technology to deliver optimal value and that all-important competitive advantage.


For more information on how you can begin to build your own Intelligent Enterprise, see the next in this series of blogs - How Does my Business Become an Intelligent Enterprise?

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