CIOs: Gatekeepers to a Digital Enterprise?

journey_digital_enterprise.jpg                                                  By Dan Hushon, Chief Technology Officer, CSC

Over the past year, we have all seen signs that “Digital” is moving past the consumer-focused start-up, and past the CMO and their digital-social agendas, into a much broader enterprise strategy discussion. Many digital strategies center around bringing information into “for purpose” integrations (often visualized), and into decision/recommendation environments. By expanding the information, the analytics and new consumerized apps, mass-customized (and context-aware) experiences are becoming the norm.

The Digital Enterprise has the potential to produce a wave of financial productivity that might dwarf the first digital wave in the mid-90s, when paper moved to email. What do I mean?

In this new digital productivity environment, information from multiple sources is joined together, just-in-time and using substantial meta-information to guide its integration. The information is now customized to the context of each transaction, each search, and each alert. This need to bring information together “just for a purpose” promises to provide more accurate decision support (recommendation), improved presentment (single screen with all the right information), and potentially mass-customized processes that are highly tuned to improve time-to-decision by understanding just what information is required to react vs. the “collect everything you might ever need” (just think about a loan application that uses a digital actuary to re-evaulate risk vs. threshold with the arrival of each new piece of information vs. on a complete book of data).

Graphic courtesy Dave McCrory in-the-clouds/

The net, for me, is that Digital is all about finding new ways to use a full “open world” of information federated across internal and external sources alike. This information comes together in value ecosystems and trades on currency, specificity and link-ability. Data does have Gravity (as Dave McCrory and others have developed here), and this gravity will begin to drive industry “information supply chains” and new demands for thoughtful co-location due to the challenges of distance comparators (like the Hadoop Shuffle Sort). The transformations of Enterprise IT will be greater than those of the email revolution, digital documents and the Business Process Revolution that ensued.

I believe that the time is ripe for a massive transformation of each layer of the IT stack as the new Digital Businesses drive demands for intelligent information processing, improved governance and of course business agility. Innovations -> Standardizations including: cloud, DevOps, and RESTful APIs, and even scale-out data fabrics have established a new way of delivering IT. Today, most enterprises are looking for the proven roadmaps to help them adopt, prove and then transform the legacy estate to enable them to compete in this new digital marketplace…from consumerized experiences for customers, employees and partners, to fully agile information services that may evolve continuously as new insights naturally fine tune the business.

Today, the CSC Technology team launches a number of position papers. These papers address the Journeys to the Digital Enterprise both in key vertical markets, but also across the new IT stack. These position papers are designed around an “open world” content base and will be continually amended to bring new details and evidence to the journey. Further, these papers bring forward some new solution patterns to help build out the green field digital enterprise (start small and protect the benefits), and then bring the information from the legacy estate forward into these conversations through APIs, federation and new process strategies. Each paper includes a FROM:TO discussion along with a set of first steps to help enterprises move strategically toward this common digital horizon in which information and agility are the new currency of IT.


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