Presented by EdgeVerve

While the digital enterprise has undoubtedly come a long way, it’s still tied down with siloed functions, legacy processes and poor data visibility. A successful digital transformation mandates busting silos, boosting operational efficiencies and augmenting human potential. With business uncertainties high, pivoting from a “siloed” operating model to one that is “platform-based” enables more organizational agility, scalability and customer-centric approaches.

Easy enough, right? For many enterprises, it’s a lot harder than you may think. We’ll look at the barriers they face in making this transition, solutions to overcome them and what’s next.

The barrier: Siloed structures

Digital transformation promises significant benefits; however, enterprises often struggle to deliver desired value. The presence of silos across people, process, data, network and technology leads to detrimental consequences such as isolated information, operational incompetence, data gaps, departmental autonomy and perplexing technology landscapes. According to market research firm IDC, companies lose 20-30% in revenue every year due to inefficiencies because of enterprise silos.

These silos occur within an enterprise primarily as a result of unscalable point solutions and suboptimal tech investments. The adoption of point solutions prevent organizations from obtaining a comprehensive view of their processes. Point solutions require managing and collaborating across multiple solutions, leading to substantial time and financial investments. Moreover, the training requirement of resources in various tools and different support processes to resolve issues burdens the employees and affects the customer experience negatively.

Imagine an enterprise that splurged on top-tier software for each department. Despite each system being state-of-the-art, the absence of integration led to chaos. Picture the marketing team rolling out a blockbuster promotion, yet the operations team is completely unaware, causing a logistical nightmare. This is what we call ‘functional silos.’ Further, each software suite came with its own isolated database, leading to data inconsistencies and duplication. The finance department, perpetually out of the loop, struggled to reconcile numbers, while customer service had zero visibility into sales activities. This fragmentation didn’t just cause operational hiccups; it led to ‘data silos,’ where disconnected systems resulted in redundant and inconsistent data.

Many organizations primarily focus on achieving cost efficiencies rather than harnessing the true potential of digital technologies for strategic differentiation through innovation. Consequently, they often prioritize incremental approaches instead of undertaking well-thought-out transformative shifts. While this approach may yield some immediate victories for enterprises, it fails to achieve sustainable cost savings, operational efficiencies and faster time to market.

A shift in mindset: Embracing connected enterprise approach

Siloes derive from piecemeal approaches that overlook human factors, misjudge the need for modern systems and ultimately lead to a complex mix of outdated and new systems. These conditions create an environment rife with inefficiencies and confusion, impeding the organization’s growth and potential for innovation. So how does an enterprise bust that silo to keep pace with business evolution?

Transcend digital adoption; become a digital native enterprise. The first and most essential step is a shift in mindset. Digital transformation and platform adoption is not actually about using digital technologies; it’s about how to actually become digital. Doing so requires embracing the “Connected Enterprise approach.”

Imagine two enterprises at the crossroads of digital transformation. The first, a technology-driven enterprise, eagerly adopts every new tool that hits the market. When Robotic Process Automation (RPA) becomes the buzzword, they dive headfirst into a Proof of Concept (POC), validate its efficacy, and establish a Center of Excellence. They then scour their operations for areas to apply this newfound capability. Fast-forward 18 months, and Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) is the new frontier. Again, they initiate a POC, validate, and start another Center of Excellence, perpetuating a cycle that is more reactive than strategic.

Contrast this with a visionary enterprise that starts with the end in mind: the customer. They meticulously analyze key customer journeys and critical business domains. Instead of asking, “What can this new technology do for us?” they ask, “How can we redefine our customer’s experience or optimize our business domains?” They then identify the technologies that can make that reimagined future a reality. This is not just digital transformation; this is business transformation. This is the essence of a Connected Enterprise mindset.

Elevate human-centricity as your guiding principle. A successful transformation doesn’t require hiring people with certain skill sets. The enterprise must focus on widespread digital dexterity among all existing and future employees, otherwise they are set up to fail from the start. 

Customer first over technology: The true north. These cultural shifts start and end with the customer. Enterprises can always automate any number of processes, but if it does not change the experience or the value that the customer is getting, success will be limited.

Foster sustained organizational resilience, not just short-term gains. This is unlike any other journey because there is no end date. This is a continuous journey requiring a shift in mindset that fully embraces a culture of digital innovation and collaboration. It’s not about automating existing systems within the enterprise, those systems came into place because of the various constraints that already exist. It’s about identifying how to use this platform that brings these capabilities to bear to help completely reimagine that entire journey. Identifying and executing the most enduring journey comes from the ability to shift the mindset of the organization.

Embracing the platform-based model

Once an enterprise has embraced this journey to shift its culture, leveraging a platform-based operating model is proven to be an effective method in ensuring that organizations have consistent, end-to-end processes and complete visibility into people, processes and partners. This approach aids in bridging the data gaps and creates meaningful intelligence from the full scope of data across organizations. Further, this intelligence enhances processes, augments people and enables collaboration with partners, ultimately busting silos and boosting operational efficiencies. Platforms can scale easily and provide centralized management so that enterprises adapt to the evolving business requirements with control.

Platforms are also versatile and adaptable. One of the most important tenets of a platform is the ability to sit on top of the existing infrastructure and change as per the business requirement, unlocking the full potential of existing and future tech investments. This helps free up resources that can again be used for strengthening the technological core of the enterprise. 

With the platform-based model, enterprises will no longer be wondering, if I don’t even know what the problem is, how will I live? Instead, they will be able to:

  • Unlock efficiencies at scale — Enables enterprises to leverage contextual insights to scale their transformation through digitization, drive a high degree of straight-through processing through automation
  • Amplify human potential – Enables enterprises to augment human potential that drives exponential increase in productivity while also enabling enterprises to be more human-centric in how they Connect with their customers, employees and partners.
  • Harness the power of connected ecosystem — Enables enterprises to minimize distance and maximize the value to end customers by taking an ecosystem approach, enabling partners to innovate jointly with them. They take a more human-centric approach to how they connect with their customers, employees and partners. We enable this by shattering systemically sluggish silos by making the journeys horizontally connected both within and across the ecosystem.

At the end of the day, the goal of an enterprise is to be competitive. Technology transformations have become synonymous with progress and innovation, but organizations often rush to deploy new technologies without thoroughly assessing their long-term implications. They fail to recognize that implementing new technology without first shifting the culture and mindset is a recipe for failure. Implementing an enterprise-wide shift in mindset and adopting the platform-based model is the key to creating a connected enterprise that harnesses its digital tools to overcome challenges, rapidly responds to employee and customer needs, and is ripe for competition. 

Unlock your enterprise’s full potential — embrace the Platform Shift with EdgeVerve.

N Shashidhar is VP & Global Platform Head, Edge Platforms at EdgeVerve. Connect on LinkedIn.

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