How connected is your company?
In the 1990s, Microsoft unveiled its vision of the “smart home” that is eerily accurate for us in 2022.
In a well watched video, a mother uses location tracking to find her husband and uses voice recognition to give him a call. A web TV interface brings in programming from cable and the internet. A barcode scanner adds items missing from the fridge to a shopping list. Sure, the technology may be laughably ancient but these are all things that are available today in some form or another.
While Microsoft may have been surpassed by Google and Apple in trying to create a connected home for us, the vision is relevant for companies today as they transform to stay relevant and competitive.
After watching the video, I asked myself, how well connected are companies? In context of the connected home, it’s a thought provoking question and, perhaps, gives a direction of journey for executives as they review their digital transformation strategy.
One answer lies in how well integrated a company is. In other words, how many systems are connected, data sources unified, processes automated and people joined up to receive, collaborate and share actionable insights to support the running of business applications and decision-making?
We all know that a connected company is no longer an option – it’s a requirement for growth and innovation. Customers expect real-time experiences. Employees need real-time product location information. Suppliers must be engaged to deliver the product the same day. Just looking at this customer journey, there are thousands of systems, data points, processes and decisions that must be brought to bear to effectively acquire and retain loyal shoppers.
Not surprisingly, the world is already connected and so should your operations. Unfortunately, from my many years of working with business and technology professionals, many aspects of companies remain not integrated, and it’s a problem.
This lack of integration should not be a shock considering the average large company runs 22 systems, pulls data from 400 sources and has deployed 464 business applications, not to mention an untold number of processes to map, create and manage. Daunting as this looks, seen positively, this is an opportunity to design the smart company needed for the future
But a smart company is more than just connecting systems and applications and data sources. I am talking about true business integration which means designing ways for all the participants in a digital ecosystem to interact seamlessly to support the outcomes important to the company.
This is the vision companies should strive for, which will make working almost just as fun as staying connected at home using smart technologies. The good news is the connected company is rapidly becoming the reality thanks to advancements in integration, and the openness of executives to be bold in setting and delivering their vision.
Chief Marketing Officer
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