The journey to a digital enterprise

A digital enterprise starting point is automation and optimisation of processes to improve efficiencies and reduce costs for the orgaisation

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I recently gave a keynote at a Cybermedia webinar on Digital Enterprise, which I am converting to a series of weekly columns in Dataquest. This is the first of the next 9 articles in which I will be sharing my experiences on - Evolution of a Digital Enterprise; The Trust and Experience Challenges; Breaking the Silos first; Technical Debt – Building the foundation; Architecture for Digital; Partnerships; Culture; Leadership and Risk.


In this first article, lets try to define the Digital Enterprise in an evolutionary continuum. A digital enterprise's starting point is automation and optimisation of processes to improve efficiencies and reduce costs. A digital enterprise doesn’t stop within itself and expands its information footprint. The progress of digitalization can be explained in the following steps:

digital enterprise

The transformation started at the enterprise processes level, and some of it at the employee experience level, as in enabling enterprise processes, driving efficiencies, connecting business processes to financial accounting in the form of ERP and various internal systems. Analytics may also improve your decision support during this phase.

In the first digital expansion, the enterprise engages the partners like suppliers and dealers, on supplier e-commerce, channel integration or CRM platforms. Enabling their employees with mobil apps and tools to sell and serve customers better. E.g. giving mobile app to service advisors which allows them to inspect the vehicle without paper and pen, and also being able to take pictures. Next comes customers and products – gathering real time information about the performance, usage and issues with the product and the experience of the customers. This is where things get complex. So let's segment these.


Complexity of B2B2C Enterprises

There will always be two types of organisations – B2C like Banks, Retail, etc. And channel driven organisations like Automotive, CPG, FMCG, etc. The B2C ones will grapple with large volumes, privacy issues, experience, etc. The B2B2C enterprises will find it difficult to expand the digital footprint - because the more players we add, the more difficult is the diversity it adds to the eco-system. So lets focus on B2B2C eg. Automotive.

The target is to engage the customer. But many times in B2B2C industry models, its hard to define your customer. E.g. in trucks business try identifying the customer – is it the finance company owning the vehicle? Or the fleet owner operating the vehicle? Or the logistics company with whom the vehicle is running on contract? Or the driver? Or the customer of the logistics company who needs to know the location of the consignment?

digital enterprise

Then there are further players, like spare part retailers, small mechanics, app aggregators, which are not part of the formal eco-system. But we still have to serve all of them. And remember, we are enriched with data if we serve them.

This is where connecting the ecosystem comes in – the holy grail of digital transformation – serving all participants of the ecosystem regardless of getting into the confusion of defining who’s who.

The holy grail of Digital Transformation is to engage and serve all participants of the customer ecosystem with required data and insights.


The next aspect of reaching out to the ecosystem is product performance. Mobile apps connecting to products e.g. app controlling a fan; or Telematics connected vehicle. This treasure of data can provide intelligent insights to the owner of the product regarding performance, usage patterns, driver behavior etc.

Digitalization is about connecting the actual user and the value adding product/ asset.

This is how a digital enterprise touches everyone that its products and services touch. We need to see where we stand as an enterprise beyond the stage of ERP. Have we connected our suppliers, dealers, assets, customers and end user ecosystem? At what stage are you in?


Please leave your comments here, or engage in a discussion on the post in author’s Linkedin Posts. Coming next - Digital Enterprise is outward flowing journey. If the employees are not happy, how will the partners be happy? If the partners aren’t happy, how will the customers be happy? The quality of a digital enterprise is driven by data, information, and value-added by technology to each of the stakeholders – the stakeholder experience.

Coupled with the Experience is Trust – does your enterprise ecosystem trust you to not disintermediate them? How do you address the stakeholder experience and trust – we will cover it in the next article.


The article has been written by Jagdish Belwal, Founder and CEO, Jagdish Belwal Advisory