The Eco-Enterprise

ImageDemand-supply network participants faced with multi-brand, multichannel, multi-distribution strategies can quickly discover they do not have the required agility, adaptability and alignment with their upstream and downstream partners to cope with the fast moving change in market conditions.

While “cloud computing” is a term bandied about by various technology vendors to suit their own enterprise centric software applications, Systems Of Engagement provide a platform of industry process dynamics that are selectively used by network participants.

These processes are driven by the need to support dynamic external enterprise demand and external enterprise supply activities. This is achieved by dynamic network process integration that is available on demand, rather than static data centric application to application integration.

Systems Of Engagement coordinate and support real world inter-enterprise functions, processes and transactions and communicate in natural business language.

This shared common data approach automatically preserves the context and integrity, of business transactions that flow from primary production to end user consumption; and greatly simplifies master data management and governance issues for network participants.

The trend in software has been to facilitate application to application and system to system data integration.

Systems Of Engagement can achieve (business network integration) at a “business process” level, which represents a step change in technology and transforms IT from a maintenance cost center role to a means of delivering new business value.

The business model of the airline industry helps us understand the flexibility now demanded in the marketplace. Just a few years ago, low-cost airlines won major market share from the traditional higher cost airlines. They did this by bundling more and more services at lower and lower prices.

However, low cost business models are only an advantage as long as there are high cost competitors; and as the low cost best in class models, morphed into best practice – it was adopted by some of the major airline brands; and then it be-came common practice to discount airfares, as all airlines adopted the low cost strategy.

With nothing other than price to differentiate them, the majority of airlines were soon operating at a loss, resulting in business failures and a number of merger and acquisitions within the industry.

Today most airlines are low-cost, but have achieved profitability by offering consumers speed, convenience and flexibility. Seats on airlines can be booked online 24*7*365.

This enables dynamic pricing within the industry, advance bookings attract lower prices; late bookings attract higher prices.

Most airlines have used their new found flexibility to unbundle the services and in-flight experience that they offer to the business and consumer passengers.

It’s all about dynamic inventory allocation, pricing and consumer experience.

If you want to travel in economy class and check a bag on the aircraft it costs extra. If you want priority boarding it’s extra. If you want extra leg room it’s extra. If you want to eat on the aircraft it’s extra. If you want entertainment on board it’s extra. If you want to access WI-FI for your computer in-flight that’s extra. Alternatively you can purchase a premium economy, business or first class ticket and get all of these services and more as bundled services.

This evolving business model is based on a selective set of bundled, unbundled and rebundled processes that customers can choose from a traditional enterprise-centric business model is its “market-in” approach.

An Eco-Enterprise creates business driven value by understanding the end-to-end business environment it operates in. It fashions its value proposition to align with how the market creates, transforms, distributes, exchanges and consumes value; and combines its core business processes with selective upstream and downstream partners.


Systems of Engagement

Dynamic Network Architecture (DNA) – The next big thing

Posted on 2012 0810| Leave a comment| Edit

Common Platform

More of our business models are outsourced to global networks, more of our end-to-end business processes require collaborative management and execution, across multifunctional businesses and multi-tiered networks.


Meanwhile IT is stuck within the barricaded four walls of the enterprise.

ERP technology was designed and built for an era when business standarized processes and differentiated products, now business standardizes products and differentiates processes.

When IT does venture out into the network, it seeks to mandate its view; and control what business people clearly understand to be a dynamic and collaborative process.

Worse still the control mechanism used by IT is a form of Chinese whispers (EDI, static data messaging) that attempt to coordinate heterogeneous global network real time processes. This leads to distortions in demand uncertainty and supply chain disruptions.

President Reagan told Mr. Gorbachov to tear down the Berlin wall, business leaders need to tell their CIO’s to tear down the IT walls within their organizations; and demand that IT departments utilize systems of engagement that serve the dynamic and variable needs of the business.

In this new world we need business network solutions not IT siloed enclaves.

We need a dynamic network architecture (DNA), where Systems of Engagement are driven by business users and require no software code to self-organise, self-configure & self-customise on the fly 

Cloud as an overarching network principle presents us with the opportunity to solve collaborative network problems with dynamic network based solutions.

This is a revolutionary approach to business issues that change @ NetSpeed. The only question is will you lead it, follow it or be swept away in its path.


Service Oriented Architecture VS. Dynamic Networked Architecture

Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) does not work and cannot scale.

SOA builds rather than simplifies complexity.

In a world of continuing uncertainty, there is a need for dynamic processes, which in turn demand dynamic workflows, as well as cost elasticity to cater for different use, uses and usage of the system. Until now dynamic processes and workflows have not been available to interrelated businesses.

What is required is not SOA but a Dynamic Network Architecture (DNA) that can align, integrate, coordinate and differentiate inter enterprise dynamic trading processes; between and among vertical industry participants. This requires interchangeable variable rule sets within a Supply Chain Utility.

DNA’s can be designed for specific industries, incrementally built out as supply chains, and purchased by individual enterprises, just like any other utility (electricity, phone etc).

Supply Chain Utilities can provide all the cross functional business processes, transactions and dynamic workflows necessary, to coordinate and execute all end-to-end trading relationships in any vertical industry process; and retain the context and integrity of the transactions throughout their process lifecycle.

Enterprise legacy systems can then be seen as points of attachment to intelligent shared services provided by the Supply Chain Utility (just like telecommunication systems).

Business users can use a common transaction platform to configure and self-customize those dynamic business functions and processes to suit their individual needs; and execute them in real time, without writing a single line of code (just like telecommunication systems).

Under this scenario, not only can common platforms enable individual enterprises to create best in class competitive advantage for themselves, but also for their collaborating demand / supply network partners.

Dynamic VS. Standardized Network Processes

Inside the enterprise there are business functions that are highly dynamic and unstructured, invariably they are customer and supplier network interactions at either end of the enterprise.

The core financial and administrative internal processes provide enterprise stability and continuity in an otherwise hectic environment.In the main they are predetermined processes with fixed roles, relationships, workflows and fixed outcomes.

The issue is that information techology providers have always designed solutions from the enterprise core out. Rather than the business network in; as a result all development is based on the predefined roles, rules, relationships and out comes, used for the core processes.

This practice emerged from the time when enterprises focused on standard processes, and differentiated themselves by their products. Now the wheel has turned and enterprises can no longer depend on product differentiation, now they must rely on process differentiation. therefore there is a compelling business need for dynamic roles, relationships and emergent outcomes; governed by interchangeable variable rule sets.

Technology vendors who persist wth implementing standard processes for all; means every business network problem is answered with an enterise hammer solution, so all business network issues look like nails.

Telecommunication technology, on the other hand, was designed from inception as a network utility that could be simultaneously shared, by a multiplicity of collaborating, cooperating and competing users. Telecommunications system operations are both centralized (individual carriers) and distributed (carrier inter-operability), enabling network scalability and automation.

The telecommunication networks manage all of interrelationships, interconnections, carriage and intelligent shared services. This enables billions of business and consumers to self customize the network services to their own individual needs; yet seamlessly utilize a global network of shared services across a myriad of households, businesses, country borders, even outer space.

Throughout history the telecommunications industry has been able to seamlessly flex and adapt to changing market demands and technological innovations (e.g. telegrams, operator assisted calls, rotary dial, touch tone, fax, email, cell phones, internet, world wide web, video, broadband and 3G technology).

Telecommunication service provider networks, view all customer premises equipment as instrumented points of attachment to the network; irrespective of end user technology type, scale or vintage.

The instruments are then loosely interconnected to the global telecommunications network (all parts of the global telecommunications system simply interact with and rely on one another for communications); utilizing intelligent shared services (dynamic number addressing that enables network alteration and configuration of the core, carriage, instrument scale and network access).

These Telco service providers are themselves part of a global communication network of cross border service provider networks; and yet individual telephony users see the network of systems as one local network.

The utility of shared networks, when viewed by an individual instrument is far greater than the instrument itself. Communications networks are not therefore, individual islands of functionality (like ERP systems); rather, they are loosely coupled global federated networks.

They allow for a myriad of discrete user points of attachment (instruments) to be loosely interrelated and inter-connected, gaining access to intelligent shared network services. The intelligent shared network services enable billions of users to seamlessly share on-demand voice, video and data communications on one global telecommunications platform.

Customer Premises Equipment (instrument) vendors within these networks remain free to innovate anyway they can, providing they stay within the broad principles of the International Telecommunications Union.

We the users (from kinder to retirees) are able to dynamically self customize global telecommunication networks to suit our dynamic need at the touch of a phone keypad.

When we learn to differentiate between enterprise and network issues, we are halfway to managing IT multi-layered enterprise / network dynamics; delivered on global federated platform networks (Supply Chain Utilities).

Business Change is outstripping “Enterprises Software Solutions”

The methods and speed in which cross functional business processes are being created, transformed, combined, bifurcated, recombined, analyzed, and applied to solve business network problems is growing so rapidly; current computer software systems are not keeping up with the pace of change.

If software integration technology is to have any chance of matching the end-to-end business process complexity that business faces, then the information systems technology responsible for executing dynamic business processes; must be simply adaptable by business users. In other words form must follow function (just like in natural ecosystems).

The Concept of Dynamic Business Processes as a Supply Chain Utility

Supply Chain Utilities take the concept of platform-as-a-service (PAAS) to new levels of productivity.

By focusing on mission critical trading relationships among end-to-end network participants, extending generic business processes across many enterprises at many stages, and leveraging shared connections; Supply Chain Utilities are able to accelerate user adoption cycles and achieve orders of magnatude in productivity gains.

What if Supply Chain Utilities could provide all the generic business functions, processes and transactional capabilities necessary, to coordinate and execute all end-to-end trading relationships in any vertical industry process; and retain their context and integrity throughout their process lifecycle?

What if business users could collaboratively configure and dynamically self-customize those generic business functions and processes (just like this Facebook or Skype), to their individual needs; and execute them in real time, on shared Supply Chain Utilitiy platforms without writing a single line of code.

What if the business relationships and transactions executed in real time inside the Supply Chain Utility, and not on the network participant’s legacy system, and then updated enterprise’s computer as a system of record?

Collaborative Business Networks

We need to get some consensus on what end-to-end demand / supply networks really mean, to determine what mechanisms are required to gain visibility.
In my view, for retail business models to be sustainable in this new age of busines uncertainty, they must become aligned, agile and adaptive throughout their end-to-end demand / supply value networks.

This entails orchestration, loose integration and coordination of clustered end-to-end demand / supply network partners.
As facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, iPhones, iPods and iPads change the customer shopping experience. Demand / supply network partners need to understand how end-to-end network value is created, transformed, exchanged and consumed in this new environment.

All of these events are network driven and yet all computer business network applications to date are enterprise (silo) driven.

Retailers are now compelled to manage product assortments and inventory across multi-brand, multi-category, multi-channel and multi-distribution strategies, (what products to range, across which channels, what inventory to keep, when, where and how much to keep and distribute).

Therefore demand / supply network partners need to rethink how their combined dynamic sales, operations and distribution strategies interact, react, cycle and feedback; to accommodate the new physical-digital retail selling environment.

Demand / supply partners must be able to digitally link their discrete enterprise functionality, distribution centers, and external business processes (the use of shared assets, combined business processes, social, mobile, voice, video networks and multi-channel retailing); into a seamless experience for the ultimate consumers of their products and services; without ripping or replacing their legacy IT systems.

Top executives have not used computer technology to this extent, because it has not provided them with the capabilities they need to manage dynamic business processes.

IT departments and many chief information officers have yet to realize that data systems of record are not what business manager’s need—which explains why IT people and business line managers do not always get along that well.

In many enterprises, business management people, have begun to implement their own Cloud based business process automation solutions; independent of the IT department (e.g. Salesforce Dotcom)?” However these business process solutions are served as pre-defined single instance siloed applications to individual enterprises. Salesforce Dotcom proudly announced recently that their CRM solutions were based on a billion lines of code and rising. That is not simplifying complexity, it is increasing complexity.

What’s needed is real time coordination and management of business process dynamics that are multi-dimensional, multi-functional and multi-tenanted.

Industry networks have a compelling need for this kind of dedicated real time network support (Cloud Process utilities that coordinate and manage people-to-people and system network-to-network dynamics); that cannot be preprogrammed the way that current application-to-application and system-to-system interactions are.

Dynamic processes cannot be predefined or ‘flowcharted in advance’. because dynamic collaborative, cooperative and competitive processes are ’organic’. Through combination, bifurcation and recombination, they ‘present as emergent processes’ that change, not only their function, but also their structure as they begin, grow, contract and continuously evolve.

These are not the kind of processes you can call in IT to analyze, model and code – and get back to you in 18 months with a solution.

Supply Chain Networks- Visibility, Collaboration, Innovation

Supply Chain Utilities enable end-to-end industry network visibility, collaboration and real time innovation.

Supply Chain Utilities coordinate real time sales, production, inventory management and distribution in diverse end-to-end vertical industries. This provides an enhanced view of end-to-end demand / supply network process transactions to network participants, who are then better able to strategize dramatic productivity improvements; within and beyond the four walls of their enterprise.

This scenario enables industry demand / supply networks to be viewed as business ecosystems.
Because vertical industry networks (ecosystems) are integrated wholes, whose dynamic outcomes cannot be reduced to the sum of its smaller functional parts (individual enterprises); and the business ecosystem outcomes result from the interactions of its parts; and not the function of its parts taken separately.

What survives in evolving vertical industry networks are not particular individual enterprises or supply chains but the complex web of evolving relationships between and among them.

Utilizing this approach, individual enterprises can grasp why dynamic networks work the way they do; what makes them tick, and how their utility (use, uses, usage) drives the evolving structures of their external business environment.

In dynamic networks structures follow functions, which in turn result from the interactions and interdependence of their parts. These interactions produce the behavior patterns of the ecosystem. When enterprises understand these patterns they can then more safely make assumptions about how value is created, transformed, exchanged and consumed within and beyond their ecosystem.