The digital enterprise hub: harnessing the true power of your digital estate

The world of artificial intelligence As Kevin Kelly, co-founder of Wired Magazine and author of ‘The Inevitable’, says: “Much of what will happen in the next 30 years is inevitable, driven by technology trends that are already in motion. We’re marching towards firmly connecting all humans and machines into a global matrix.”

Digital Enterprise Hub

Burgeoning technology is bringing with it huge and fundamental changes in how people live, work and play. In order to stay competitive and relevant, organisations need to recognise that this shift is coming

The world of artificial intelligence

As Kevin Kelly, co-founder of Wired Magazine and author of ‘The Inevitable’, says: “Much of what will happen in the next 30 years is inevitable, driven by technology trends that are already in motion. We’re marching towards firmly connecting all humans and machines into a global matrix.”

The world’s largest taxi firm (Uber) owns no cars, the world’s most popular media owner (Facebook) creates no content and the world’s largest accommodation provider (AirBnB) owns no properties. Although they are still very much first generation, digital assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa are also starting to become a central part of many households.

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It is clear that a fundamental shift in how people interact with brands, technology and each other is fast approaching, and businesses need to be ready.

The digital journey

From content management systems to e-commerce capabilities, mobile applications and, more recently, the Internet of Things (IoT), AI and VR, the evolution of digital has led organisations on a journey which has revolutionised how they engage with customers, transformed business models and opened up new revenue streams.

The next few years will see organisations start to get to grips with what these technologies can offer. While businesses are waking up to a new way of operating, many are not in a position to harness the true power digital advancements can afford – primarily because their current digital estates cannot deliver in this brave new world.

Organisations are still not using data in real-time, or sharing data across departments. In addition, existing platforms are not equipped to support the intelligence and reach needed to be disruptive and stay competitive.

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We are at a point where businesses need to consolidate their digital technical strategy in a unifying hub. The importance of this cannot be underestimated, as by implementing a digital enterprise hub, which acts as a control centre for an entire digital estate, organisations will, for the first time, be able to bring together all digital assets and manage them from a central location.

Welcome to a single view of technology: introducing the digital enterprise hub

We strongly recommend one approach to the digital and physical estate that’s based on the concept of a hub. This hub provides the spokes, decision-making and intelligence needed to align all digital assets around improving the consumer’s experience, relationship and convertibility.

The control centre or ‘brain’, facilitated by the cloud and AI, manages an organisation’s digital infrastructure, consisting of multiple assets such as IoT, mobile, content, ecommerce etc. It also aligns these to a central, over-arching customer experience strategy.

It’s a centralised platform – a nerve centre that brings content, functionality and data together. It defines the strategy for an organisation’s technology systems, and it prepares the ground for the future. Think of it as an app store for a business’ digital capability.

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It is worth noting that there is currently no technology available to do this. At present, an organisation cannot simply buy a readymade hub solution off the shelf. The building blocks are there; what is missing is the centralised strategy and the control centre to integrate, unify and align all digital assets.

Platforms are emerging to fill this role, but until they reach maturity existing systems and platforms need to be coordinated if they are to bring an organisation’s digital estate together. That is where utilising the expertise of a digital integrator becomes vital.

In addition, organisations need to build a team responsible for their hub. The current web team would be best placed for this, with overall responsibility given to a chief transformation officer (CTO). The appointment of the CTO will also act to cement the shift in mindset required at the most senior level of an organisation and hopefully enable it to permeate throughout the business.

Building a digital hub – where to begin?

To facilitate the business models of the future and put the customer at the centre of the digital eco-system, organisations need to join the dots between systems.

But where to begin? Fortunately, few organisations are starting from scratch. Many have a degree of digital maturity. Their digital estates may be disjointed, under-utilised and poorly integrated, but those legacy estates often still provide a platform on which to start, the soundest platform of all which is the content management system (CMS).

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An organisation’s CMS has been the only enterprise grade system that has held tenure and acted as the focal point of a digital ecosystem. It has established a centralised role in managing content, interactions and branding for an organisation, even with the introduction of e-commerce systems, advanced personalisation tools, single customer identity tools and product information systems.

It already acts as the connective membrane between a business and its consumers. It is the focal point of an organisation’s external internet capability and where all engagement data and analytics live.

Of course, a digital enterprise hub is far more than a CMS, but as organisations start to embark on this approach, their CMS is often perfectly placed to provide the necessary foundations to be able to bring all services under one enterprise umbrella.

However, the CMS cannot do this easily without a decoupled or headless capability; this is crucial to achieving the flexibility needed for integrations and resetting the roles and responsibilities of the CMS within a digital hub world.

The web application needs to take over ownership for composition of all data points from within the hub, presenting the content with the right brand context in a highly performant way. Removing friction from this process is key to success.

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Final thoughts

Burgeoning technology is bringing with it huge and fundamental changes in how people live, work and play. In order to stay competitive and relevant, organisations need to recognise that this shift is coming.

They need to take time to innovate, so they can transform their business models in order to capitalise on change. Crucially, they need to take a joined up approach to technology using a digital enterprise hub.

The choice for business is simple: stick with existing models and run a very real risk of becoming obsolete, or embrace new hub-based approaches to technology and truly harness the power of digital.

 

Sourced by Martin Paton, senior technical director at Amaze

 

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