By Drew Ianni
April 14, 2021
So what exactly is the Autonomous Digital Enterprise (ADE) and what are the forces behind its rise? It’s a critical concept for Ram Chakravarti, chief technology officer of enterprise software giant BMC. So we asked him to talk about it, along with the future shape of the corporation, and how companies can rank their own digital competitiveness through BMC’s new ADE Index. BMC works with 84% of the Forbes Global 100.
The pandemic accelerated the rate of technological change and innovation, which is enabled by advances in processing speed, cloud computing, mobility, and artificial intelligence. This acceleration is daunting and can seem chaotic at times, but most executives see this as a unique time to create new products, markets, and enterprise value. Many see this as the Fourth Industrial Revolution – or Industry 4.0. The first Industrial Revolution featured automated and mechanized means of production. The second brought mass production to new middle-class markets in the US and abroad. And the information age – enabled by computers and online connectivity – created an interconnected global marketplace.
Industry 4.0 & The Rise of the Autonomous Digital Enterprise
Chakravarti sees Industry 4.0 as the era of digital business driven by “intelligence, automation and autonomy.” And today’s digital enterprise is driven by a transformation that enables new product and business model innovation along with a mandate to create compelling, highly personalized customer experiences. The way you do that is with agile execution that enables a company to compete and differentiate itself from rivals. Successful ADEs will develop new operating models enabled by key technology tenets, so they can craft and assert their digital competitiveness. The operating models that compose an Autonomous Digital Enterprise address cultural, organizational and structural issues.
And according to Chakravarti, a key measure of success for any digital business will be its focus on “customer centricity and the transcendent customer experience.” Chakravarti explains: “An Autonomous Digital Enterprise is customer-centric, agile and derives actionable insights from data. It minimizes manual efforts to capitalize on human creativity, skills and intellect. And to thrive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, we believe that every organization will need to have that north star to define its aspirations and function effectively as an ADE.” Another unique component of Industry 4.0 is the rise of external partnerships and open innovation ecosystems. Chakravarti points out the value in “creating tech-enabled value and functions that operate with minimal human involvement in both the internal functions as well as with an enterprise’s external ecosystem of partners.”
The Core Tenets of the ADE
Successful Autonomous Digital Enterprises will develop new operating and business models within Industry 4.0. The operating models that compose an Autonomous Digital Enterprise address cultural, organizational and structural issues, and require enterprises to do the following:
- Create ‘Innovation Ecosystems in a Sharing Economy’ in which an enterprise establishes a network of external and non-traditional relationships, and the rise of the sharing economy enables companies to deliver new products and services
- Structure ‘Digital Business Domains’ whereby dedicated lines of business (LOBs) become responsible for end-to-end delivery of innovative and potentially disruptive digital products and
- Facilitate ‘Optimized Technology Buying’ so that LOBs can rely more on their own IT resources and budgets and share IT buying decisions with centralized IT to ensure consistency and
- Reconsider the ‘Evolved Role of Centralized IT.’ Centralized IT evolves to ensure cross-functional efficiencies, interoperability, and security while focusing less on operations and more on
- Establish ‘Tech-Savvy Corporate Functions’ so enterprises can rethink how humans, machines and ‘digital workers’ interact to deliver value and align their digital business strategy with their internal skills and
ADE Industry Spotlight – Tampa General Hospital
Chakravarti finds timely examples from the health care sector and especially BMC’s work with Tampa General Hospital.
Clinical and business leaders there rely on a “daily blast” dashboard, intended to provide an easy-to-digest, single view of hospital operations. It takes into account more than ten key performance indicators, including bed capacity, an index that tracks visits-by-procedure with payers, and various financial metrics. Maintaining and updating the dashboard in a timely manner proved challenging for Tampa General, as it depends on dozens of workflows that use disparate proprietary and third-party systems, databases and analytics platforms, both inside and outside the hospital. This left the analytics and business intelligence team responsible for producing the dashboard with almost no margin for error, and motivated the team to find a more practical, efficient, and automated way to leverage timely, high-value business intelligence across the organization.
BMC worked with the team at Tampa General and implemented its Control-M workflow automation solution to help manage the daily dashboard development, by automating the process of monitoring and managing workflows across a variety of computing and software platforms and cloud architectures. The hospital also leveraged the platform’s ability to help orchestrate workflow execution sequencing by automatically troubleshooting jobs and monitoring workflow execution to provides alerts if there are any upstream job failures that could delay data availability for the dashboard. Significant efficiencies were also created by the platform’s ability to automate, orchestrate, monitor, and troubleshoot the numerous data exchanges that need to occur to produce the daily dashboard.
The ADE Index – Benchmarking Digital Competitiveness
BMC has developed the ADE Index to benchmark and assess the progress of organizations in achieving this critical business transformation. In the fourth quarter of 2020, BMC surveyed 1,200 business and IT decision-makers from twenty industry categories and eleven countries. It focused on organizations with at least 500 employees and annual revenue over $100 million. The survey asked respondents to think about their organization’s digital competitiveness by considering the degree to which it may be currently practicing the operating models and technology tenets that compose an Autonomous Digital Enterprise. The survey also asked how this was likely to change in two years. Calculations based on the research reveal a current global average ADE Index of 39.3%. This means that, on average, organizations practice more than one-third of what is needed to be an Autonomous Digital Enterprise. Looking out two years, respondents believe their organizations will have increased their efforts. The projected 2022/23 Global ADE Index is 46.1%, which would represent an increase of 17.3%.
“The core focus of the ADE Index is to help companies be more digitally competitive,” said Chakravarti. “The Index serves as a mechanism to help companies baseline where they are today, and the analysis also allows the company to consider what is important to them in regard to their unique strategic business imperative. From there it helps them prioritize and sequence the underlying initiatives in their pursuit of being an ADE.”