Maribel Lopez Keynoting The ET6 Enterprise Transformation Exchange Conference
At the ET6 Transformation Exchange conference, the program addressed how various companies had approached enterprise transformation. I kicked off the program with a keynote on building an intelligent enterprise. Instead of focusing on the technology maturity and adoption aspects of digital transformation, I shared how business leaders must develop multi-disciplinary technology skills similar to the Polymath Leonardo da Vinci.
Leonardo was a master at art, anatomy, mechanics and architecture. Leonardo also continued to collaborate with peers and mentors well after developing his craft. This allowed him to further his skill and influence. He started with art but adapted his skill set over time as he felt his client’s needs were changing. He also mastered using core skills that he learned in one field to support his advancement in other areas. Hence, mastery of art allowed him to illustrate new device concepts and architectural designs to his clients to secure new contracts.
As business leaders, we should embrace these core concepts as we approach enterprise transformation. I use the term enterprise transformation instead of digital transformation because it includes the organizational change policies that impact how people work. On the technology side, we must become more like Leonardo by learning about new technologies that are beyond the current purview of our jobs.
The best technology strategies will leverage a combination of mobile, cloud, big data and analytics to deliver new insight and new experiences. A company simply can’t run a competitive business if it doesn’t support mobile. It can’t scale and shift models easily without cloud computing. And a business can only be competitive if it embraces new ways of collecting and analyzing data to deliver new actionable insights. However, most of us are comfortable being specialists. To thrive in the new digital era, we’ll all need to push beyond our existing boundaries. We can start by learning more about complementary technologies and services. Effectively, we must emulate the practices of Leonardo da Vinci by excelling at one skill but also advance our knowledge of other areas through education and collaboration.
Additionally, digital transformation requires more than just replicating our existing processes. Successful digital transformation efforts deliver right-time experiences. Right-time Experiences provide your employees, customers and business partners with the right information, at the right time on the person’s device of choice.
Over the course of two days, representatives from both start-ups through companies that were more than 100 years old shared their insights on the challenges and opportunities with digital transformation. For example, Honeywell discussed how a 132-year-old company was using IoT and mobile to deliver new customer value while driving revenue growth. Built.io and Beyond Curious shared how their joint customer, the Miami Heat, was changing customer engagement. One lesson learned from The Heat’s transformation efforts is the need to coordinate a business and technology strategies. Security was a topic raised in almost every session. The industry has made significant progress in offerings to protect the enterprise. Meanwhile, Intel provided a glimpse into the future of IoT while Marketo described the new world of customer engagement. It was clear that opportunities abound. I look forward to keeping the dialogue alive at ET Summit in November.
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The Enterprise of Things (EOT) Spells Opportunity For BlackBerry
BlackBerry made several announcements in favor of its expanding security and services portfolio, in the quest to further shed its device legacy. Like other mobile management vendors, BlackBerry has expanded its services to offer unified endpoint management (UEM). BlackBerry’s UEM will allow companies to support corporate and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programs for mobile devices as well as Windows 10 and MacOS computers. Part of the announcements also extended endpoint and software management for new workforce devices such as wearables. In its press conference, BlackBerry highlighted support for enterprise devices such as the Recon Jet Pro.
On the application front, a partnership with Microsoft will enable IT to manage and apply protection policies to Microsoft Office 365 mobile applications such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint from BlackBerry UEM. Mobile app support got a boost with new analytics capability will allow developers to track daily and monthly active users, daily minutes used, usage by OS type and version, as well as user engagement by feature. Additionally, the company updated its collaboration secure Enterprise File Synchronization and Sharing (EFSS) solution, called BlackBerry Workspaces, with in-line comments, @mentions and alerts. It also integrated DocuSign for signature capabilities.
Why EoT is important for Blackberry
As noted in the BlackBerry press release, the next wave of connectivity and change lies with the Internet of Things (IoT), which refers to a growing network of physical objects that have sensors and Internet connectivity. IoT efforts that focus solely on enterprise-related devices are called the EoT. With billions of connected devices coming online, BlackBerry’s real market opportunity lies in services to support connected things for the enterprise. Beyond the obvious reason that IoT/EoT is the future of computing, this market could help BlackBerry return to growth because:
- There’s no predetermined leading vendor in the EoT space. The EoT refers to numerous use cases, products and vendors that vary across different industries. Given the diversity of the market, BlackBerry could win business by partnering with established vendors in the industrial space such as Schneider and Rockwell.
- The buyers extend beyond IT for IoT/EoT use cases. Roles such as plant manager, facilities maintenance and logistics managers are new buyers for EoT services, providing an opportunity for BlackBerry to reach a new untapped audience.
- BlackBerry already has IoT/EoT products and customers. The company has purchased several IoT companies. For example, BlackBerry’s QNX line delivers secure, mission-critical solutions for general embedded, automotive and connected transportation systems. The company’s software operates in areas as diverse as automobiles, surgical equipment and nuclear power plants. These markets have the high security and reliability. It also offers an asset tracking and health service called Radar.
Moving beyond UEM to real EoT
UEM is slowly gaining traction as organizations look to support Windows 10 environments. All of these features are necessary to compete in the UEM space but is that enough for BlackBerry to be successful in such a competitive market. My theory is that UEM is table stakes for anyone entering the EoT space, but it’s not the end game. Given the company’s early EoT success, Blackberry should spend more time marketing its EoT knowledge as a long-term differentiator, but it also must push the ball forward in EoT. VMware is already nipping at BlackBerry’s heels with its recent announcement of the EoT management service.
So, how can BlackBerry deliver more value to its customers? It must continue to ramp its solutions business. Today’s EoT environment is a complicated set of technologies that need to be deployed and integrated as a solution before EoT can deliver business value. For example, a typical EoT solution contains connected devices, analytics, and software that can consume the data before a customer can gain new insights into their operations.
With this in mind, it’s clear that managing and securing EoT devices is important, but not enough to be considered a strategic EoT play. Products that offer immediate insight, such as asset tracking, workforce optimization and logistics will provide the value to purchasers. Note, I didn’t say another “platform” for connecting devices. The market has plenty of platforms that connect data but stop short of delivering insights. BlackBerry already launched a solution called Radar for asset tracking, but it needs to add more services, faster. The company has also focused on delivering a broader security portfolio that complements its other EoT initiatives.
IoT/EoT is a difficult market for any vendor to crack. BlackBerry will need to acquire, partner and enhance existing market solutions to drive EoT efforts forward.While the EoT has reached the top of the hype cycle, actual deployments are nascent, suggesting a huge opportunity for any vendor that can come up with the right stuff. Keeping UEM current is essential for BlackBerry, but it needs to aggressively define a new EoT future for its clients that’s beyond what companies like Microsoft and VMware are discussing with UEM. It will be interesting to see how the next chapter unfolds.
This post originally appeared on Maribel’s column at Forbes.com. Sign up for my free newsletter here so you’ll never miss a blog, video recording or research note. Maribel is the founder of Lopez Research, a market research and strategic advisory firm. She’s the author of the Wiley book “Right-time Experiences” Twitter:@MaribelLopez