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Ready Or Not The Extended Enterprise Is Coming

        posted by , October 10, 2011

Organizations no longer fit into neat boxes.

Organizations may no longer have employees.

Every significant technology trend of the past 5 years has pushed organizations in the same direction. Towards a brave new world of boundaryless business and technology.

It's called the Extended Enterprise.

An extended enterprise is a loosely coupled, self-organizing network of firms. In place of employees — extended enterprises depend on other enterprises for marketing, sales, operations, logistics, technology (everything the extended enterprise does).


The extended enterprise allows large organizations to operate with few employees. Every significant technology trend of the past 5 years (at least) has pushed organizations closer to the extended enterprise model.

Cloud (and supporting technologies such as virtualization)

Cloud related technologies will eventually allow organizations to completely outsource infrastructure as a managed service.

SaaS

SaaS allows organizations to replace in-house applications with managed software services.

Outsourcing, Contract Labour, Telecommuting

This is the extended enterprise in action. IT organizations are at the forefront of the switch from employees to enterprises.

There are many flavours - offshoring, nearshoring, contracting, crowdsourcing etc.. They all represent the shift from the employee to the enterprise.

Social Media

Social Media and related technologies such as social media monitoring and social analytics enable the extended enterprise.

Supporters of the traditional office (and by extension traditional employment) point to the need for people to have meetings. However, as social media adoption has picked up — the preference for meetings has declined significantly.

Social media is a far more powerful way to collaborate.

Mobile Technologies

Every advancement in mobile technology makes the traditional office seem less appealing.

People want to work at Starbucks or in their bathroom — wherever they feel like.

Mobile devices are the one area of technology in which executives tend to be way ahead of the curve. Mobile technology has served as a inspiration to many leaders to shift their organizations in the direction of the extended enterprise.

Analytics

Analytics (and pretty much any technology related to metrics and measurement) enable the extended enterprise.

The extended enterprise depends on a series of contracts between enterprises. This has to be measured or it all falls apart.

How to Prepare for the Extended Enterprise

Like any broad economic/technology shift — the extended enterprise will benefit those organizations and individuals who embrace change as an opportunity.


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