The Future of Enterprise IT

Posted by Andrew Bartolini on September 24th, 2010
Stored in Articles, Events, General, Technology

September 24 – what a great day!

At last week’s Emptoris Empower conference, noted technology author and consultant, Geoffrey Moore delivered a keynote presentation entitled “The Future of Enterprise IT 2010 – 2020: From Systems of Record to Systems of Engagement” which was a very thought-provoking presentation on the enterprise technology market and where it is headed. Moore’s basic premise, which I discussed here (and is cleverly hidden in his presentation title), is that the enterprise IT needs of the future will shift to “Systems of Engagement” (technologies that improve communication and collaboration) and that the advances in the consumer IT marketplace will inevitably disrupt the enterprise IT world. Today we will continue a discussion of his ideas and vision. Next week we will look at the practical application of his ideas in the realm of supply management.

“Systems of Record” versus “Systems of Engagement”

For Moore, systems of record create efficiency while systems of engagement create effectiveness. Some of the primary differences between the two are:

Systems of Record

  • Focus on Command & Control
  • Transaction-oriented
  • Data-centric
  • User learns the system
  • Security is the key issue

Systems of Engagement

  • Focus on Collaboration
  • Interaction-oriented
  • User-centric
  • System learns the user
  • Privacy is the key issue

What will force IT departments to buy “Systems of Engagement?”

For Moore, the answer is clear: outsourcing, which in his view created globalization and lower-cost output and the market of buyers for that output, has increased the demand for collaboration and relationship building. The challenge to this global business dynamic is to get peers to engage globally. Within the enterprise this burden falls upon the middle of the organization (in this model, the top of the organization is managing and the lower part is producing or transacting). And so, posits Moore, it will be the need to equip this middle tier with systems of engagement that will drive the next wave of Enterprise IT growth.

Consumer IT Influence on B2B Systems

The need to empower “the middle” is where Moore envisions consumer technology or capabilities will have a big impact on enterprise IT. He expects a whole host of B2B systems that are based upon consumer concepts to arise – products/concepts like:  Enterprise Facebook – Enterprise YouTube – Enterprise Twitter – global presence detection – community content management – mobile access to everything – on-demand conferencing – telepresence everywhere – and, global search where information is “pulled” by employees not pushed out to them.

A few early use cases that Moore provided were new product introductions, an ability to leverage virtual experts across the entire enterprise, and ‘collaborative management.’ A more specific example that he cited was the value that an “Enterprise Twitter” system could have during the sales cycle where a sales executive could tweet that she was making a call on a prospect and everyone in the company could have the opportunity to offer information, tips, ideas, and other feedback that could make for a more compelling sale.

Moments of Engagement

Moore defines moments of engagement as those points in time where the decisions that an enterprise makes will determine whether it wins or loses with its strategy. He believes that operational excellence is achieved by making the right decisions at moments of risk; that customer intimacy is achieved by making the right decisions at the moments of intimacy; and that product leadership is achieved by making the right decisions at moments of adoption. In his view, systems of engagement will play a major role in determining who wins or loses.

I think there are some very powerful ideas in Moore’s vision and some very practical applications for it in our world of supply management technologies. I also have some questions to raise which means there’ll be more on Moore in our next article.

Postscript: I would like to thank Emptoris for hosting me at their conference and congratulate them on landing such a high-quality speaker at their conference.

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