Two back-to-back panels explored what it takes to successfully transition to the untethered enterprise, one consisting of academics, and one of CIOs. Not surprisingly, each of these panels viewed the opportunities and challenges through somewhat different lenses.
The academic panel talked about the need to be entrepreneurial and move quickly to try out new ideas in the marketplace. Agility beats strategy every time. Marketplace experimentation is very important, and it is the right way to make decisions as to what works and what does not. Top down strategy plans take too long to formulate and generally don’t work so well because technologies and markets are changing so fast. With digital platforms, cloud and other such capabilities, the cost of experimentation is much lower than in the past, whereas the cost of missed opportunities is very high. Companies need to embrace this culture of agility.
The CIO panel was more guarded. While they agreed that agility and experimentation were very important, they viewed them more as aspirational objectives that were not always practical given existing investments and commitments. Unlike the academic panel, the CIOs emphasized the need for ROI analysis and careful planning, especially when considering big technology bets. Stitching together the overall infrastructure to support a variety of cloud services and mobile devices requires discipline, otherwise things will not work or there might be serious security and quality breakdowns. A recurring theme across the two panels was the impact of legacy infrastructures on the evolution toward the untethered enterprise. ”