Chapter 4The Intelligent Enterprise

Organizations are, by and large, pretty dumb. Shows like The Office and comics like Dilbert are funny not because they’re absurd but because at times they hit a little too close to home. Steering an organization can sometimes seem like a constant fight against chaos—there’s political intrigue, competing points of view, and sometimes even an active desire to subvert the system. One of the most stunning cases I’ve come across involved a business that actually ran an entire shadow IT department. They were eventually caught when they migrated their customer engagement system off their (already deployed) isolated network onto the cloud.

Culture is essential. So is capability. Culture might enable the vision, but without supporting skills, processes, technology, and data there’s only good intentions. The goal in making it real is to try to tame the chaos inherent in managing highly complex systems and transform into an intelligent enterprise.

Most organizations are united in a common objective. Despite this, people still act independently. Everyone knows their role but all too frequently people act in isolation. It works, but only to a degree; faced with instability or a changing market, the organization struggles. Quality suffers, cost increases, and inefficiencies abound.

A truly intelligent enterprise operates like our nervous system. It’s adaptive, agile, and flexible, able to respond quickly and appropriately to external stimuli. Faced with ...

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