The pace at which the world is changing is both fast and irreversible. Traditional business models find it more difficult to keep up in this new economy. Classic, top-down structured companies are organized hierarchically, which means long decision chains – in some cases too long, with all the consequences that implies. If companies want to survive, then they must constantly reinvent themselves and not be blind to (technological) change and the opportunities it brings. Especially in the current economic climate, where change really is the only constant. When companies ignore innovation, they create opportunities for others who do not ignore it. Seeking to cling to the status quo can have disastrous consequences.
In short, companies are being forced to act. In his book The Connected Company, Dave Gray talks about the balance of power that is shifting from companies to the networks that surround them. Customers are increasingly connected, and companies also need to be if they are to be successful. In the first instance, with their customers, but also with their partners and even others in the same industry. The closer you are to them as a company, the more swiftly you can interact and react. This is the idea on which the connected company is based: it is a structure that a company must have in order to keep up in a networked environment, and technology is one of its driving forces.
But to make a difference as a company, you need to do more than just pick some software off the shelf. You can no longer become a successful player in the digital economy just by investing in IT. The way in which companies organize themselves is also of critical importance. The art of a good digital architecture strategy is to define what is needed in order to support the business differentiation strategy.
In that respect, the prerequisites for becoming a connected company are in fact the same as for a digital transformation: align technology with your business strategy, make sure there is structure and be aware that the rules for 'running the business' and 'changing the business' are two different things, but they do need to be combined in a coordinated way.
This white paper attempts to provide an answer to the questions "why change?" and "how?" It shows how to design a connected company from a business perspective, rather than a technological perspective – a technological solution always exists for every issue or every topic.