In my last blog titled Digital Transformation in Uncertain Times, I tried to highlight what it means to undergo Digital Transformation and what some of the considerations for making sound investment decisions are. Making the right choices upfront will help you avoid expensive potholes that would require rework, having to throw work away, or, in worst-case situations, having to start from scratch after pouring millions of dollars into it. Let’s try and understand various components of your Digital Footprint and peel this onion one layer at a time.
Let me describe my view of an ideal Enterprise Digital Core that contains many layers and sections. Let’s look at these circular layers from the outside to the core. The outermost layer in this picture is the Systems Layer. There are five types of Systems represented here that reflect the operational classification of various systems that need to be in place for any enterprise to operate the business. Stay tuned for more on this later in this blog. The next layer is the Process Layer. This identifies the business processes that need to be enabled. The next layer is the Application Technology Layer. This identifies the core investments every enterprise needs to make to support the business processes. At the center of these layers is the Digital Core Platform. Applications are built on top of this Digital Core Platform. The most critical piece here is DATA and the Platform. This is the engine that drives the applications, which in turn enables the business processes. This complete picture represents many aspects of what we like to refer to as the Enterprise Digital Core. Every business must have this core or a similar setup) to imagine the critical components necessary to digitize the business so that it is structured for unlimited growth and profitability. This is achievable only if the right decisions are made along the way to reach a state that allows for consistent growth and continuous innovation.
Let’s slice this onion and see what is in the different layers of each slice to better understand this.
Systems of Engagement
This slice represents all your digital assets that allow you to engage with your customers, employees, and suppliers. Let’s take Customer Engagement with CRM software as an example. Businesses typically invest in a CRM application to engage with their customers starting from Marketing to Sales to Service. Such integrated applications support business processes like Campaign-to-Opportunity, Prospect-to-Customer, Quote-to-Order, etc. These investments ensure that companies are able to engage with their customers, understand buying preferences, and provide enhanced customer service. A strong Digital transformation must include leveraging this data to provide a 360-degree view so that businesses are able to empower workers to delight their customers by providing them with detailed customer preferences at the time of engaging with customers.
Systems of Record
Every business needs to have a system to deal with the complexities that come with inventory, shipping logistics, returns, receivables, payables, and general accounting. ERP, Supply Chain, and Financial applications support the complexities of business processes such as Order-to-Cash, Procure-to-Pay, Manufacture-to-Inventory, etc. These applications become central to the end-to-end integrated operation that benefits directly from digitization. It is important that decisions for investments in a System of Record are strategic, long-term, and must have the capability to grow and expand as business changes. Data collected during this process must be harnessed to provide a 360-degree view of the business that looks at every operation through the lens of increased speed, reduced cost, improved efficiency, and improved profitability.
Systems of Insight
Data is the new oil. Every business needs to recognize data as a critical component for investing in a Digital Transformation strategy. Systems of Insight provide businesses with the necessary knowledge for continuous improvement and growth. Analytics products like Einstein or Tableau help support the process of converting data into information, information into insight and then converting that insight into action. With large volumes of data collected over time, Predictive Analytics capabilities help companies to take the step beyond insight by helping them make informed decisions by confidently looking at the forecasts and projections made by products like Salesforce Einstein. Choosing a right platform that allows your data to grow infinitely and helps you mine that data to learn from previous mistakes and avoid them in the future is critical. Hence, any investment decisions for the right technology platform should focus on cost, data security, scalability, and adaptability for changing business needs.
Hence, any investment decisions for the right technology platform should focus on cost, data security, scalability and adaptability for changing business needs with economic situation is very critical.
Systems of Innovation
Businesses have to not just take notice in the capabilities of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technologies but have to keep that an integral part of their overall strategy to stay competitive and gain market share. This is often viewed as one of those decisions that should be looked at in the future, once the advancements become mainstream. News flash – the future is already here. The companies that have invested in such capabilities are harnessing them now to provide better experiences that were not possible in the past. Speech Recognition has evolved now to support touchless interfaces like Alexa, Siri, and many others. Image Recognition algorithms have evolved into real-life applications that can recognizing objects, damaged parts, etc. Such usage is now very much prevalent in driving efficiencies and augmenting human intelligence. When choosing a digital platform for your Digital Transformation journey, ensuring that such capabilities are part of the platform and can be easily plugged into your business process is extremely critical.
Systems of Differentiation
No business is going to remain in the same state. If there is anything constant in today’s environment, it is change. Business models are disrupted rapidly, and new models emerge. When your business needs to stand out and compete in a global marketplace, your investments need to consider the ability to serve your customers anytime, anywhere, and on any device. The flexibility to bring your Digital Core to Mobile devices seamlessly becomes critical. Supporting a set of APIs so that your Digital Core can be accessed from any user interface is critical. Your digital platform must be scalable to allow for unlimited expansion. Connected devices present immense possibilities for using data coming from sensors or IoT devices. Speed of execution becomes crucial when the core is extended to the edge on devices that cannot process High-Volume data.
At Rootstock, we have delivered a strong ERP, Supply Chain, and Financials solution for over a decade on the Salesforce Platform. Today, over 200 customers have relied on Rootstock as a System of Record that is tightly integrated to the Salesforce Marketing, Sales, and Service, that have become a System of Engagement for many customers on the Salesforce Platform. Some of our customers directly engage with their customers for complex order management functionality. Rootstock is built on the Salesforce Platform, which allows us to deliver a System of Insight, with capabilities in Tableau and Einstein, for our customers. We see a huge opportunity in building capabilities with Einstein, Einstein Voice, and Einstein Vision to extend Rootstock’s functionality so that our customers can leverage their investments and have a System of Innovation at their disposal to innovate their business model. We have made our Rootstock core functionality available on Mobile devices, with a strategy of exposing many core features as APIs. With this and using Heroku as a low cost, scalable engine for High Volume processing, we already provide a unique System of Differentiation for our customers.
We are thinking long-term for our customers so that we can become a reliable partner for their growth and success. Investments made in Rootstock today will provide the flexibility and scalability that is required for unlimited growth and profitability for every Agile Enterprise. Read our blogs and connect with us to see how we can help you build a strong Digital Core that will protect your investments for the future.