The Death of the Enterprise
Tim Minahan, Chief Marketing Officer
The days of the enterprise as a single entity are officially over. Welcome to the Era of the extraprise.
Throughout the global recession, companies of all sizes focused internally, cut costs and figured out how to do more with less. But as economic conditions improve, many of these same organizations are looking to grow. And to do it, they’ll need to change the way they think and operate.
In the old days, companies operated under the mindset that if they took care of their own business, it would run itself. But in today’s globally connected economy, the lines between what’s insourced and outsourced have become increasingly blurred. As a result, companies must look outside their four walls and manage the interconnected web of relationships on which their businesses now depend.
The traditional enterprise as we know it is dead. The future of business commerce is the extraprise.
In the extraprise, it’s not about executing a process within a company, but across the entire value chain. It’s not about the intelligence within an organization, but the intelligence networks that are developed through communities. It’s not about doing things faster, but tapping insights and best practices to do things better.
In short, the future of business commerce is about being connected, efficient and informed:
- Connected to networks that facilitate collaboration around key commerce processes.
- Efficient by automating tactical, transactional work to drive greater efficiency and productivity.
- Informed by participating in communities that deliver market insights and best practices to fuel optimal performance and decisions.
And it won’t be driven by enterprise applications.
Companies have invested billions in technologies to streamline their internal operations. They started with solutions to make employees more effective in their daily jobs by simplifying things like developing documents, presentations, and spreadsheets. Then they tackled functional areas like procurement and human resources.
Yet business commerce remains highly inefficient. Why? Because commerce happens between companies. But it is still largely driven by closed systems and processes.
The key to extending and improving collaborative trading relationships lies in open systems that can be easily shared by everyone that participates in the commerce process – from trading partners and customers to banks.
Technology is no longer about platform, features and functions. It’s about providing access to communities and insights through which companies can ensure they are doing business with the best trading partners, getting best value and maximizing cash.
Think of it as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Amazon.com for business. Need to know what’s happening in the markets? Looking for a new trading partner and want to know who else they’ve done business with and how they perform? Want to make sure you’re employing best practices for managing cash? Enterprise software can’t tell you any of this. But social-media like solutions that are cropping up to simplify the execution of key business processes can.
Why is personal commerce so easy? Because you don’t have to think about it. All the tools you need to find a product online, pay for it, and have it shipped to your home are right there at your fingertips and completely managed for you.
By blurring the lines between enterprise technology and communities, these solutions create a similar experience in the world of business commerce. Many companies are skeptical of the notion that technologies like those used to drive personal commerce can be applied in the business world. But others have seen the writing on the wall and recognize that the future of commerce – and ultimately their success – will be driven by them.
As one executive puts it, “Companies that strategically implement new, web-based applications can create competitive advantage for their companies. Those that take a sit and wait approach may find that their peers will quickly surpass them in agility, speed and efficiency.”