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    Innovation Playbook for Large Enterprises: Digital Market Leadership

    May 7, 2021

      |  

    In this post, we detail a 3-step playbook for enabling innovation in the enterprise for digital market leadership:

    • Digital recombination
    • Incremental innovation
    • Collaborative innovation

    Enabling Innovation in the Enterprise – Rapid or Incremental, Collaborative and Safe

    In the age of digital business, large enterprises have competition coming from all sides – other incumbents, disrupters/start-ups, and big tech. The dynamics of this competition have changed too – symmetric competition is just one part of what you’re up against as a large enterprise.

    What’s more, consumer needs and technology trends are shifting rapidly (compounded by drivers like Covid-19) – a need for a la carte products and services is becoming the norm. The one-size-fits-all approach just doesn’t cut it.

    All enterprises know that to outcompete they need to become nimble and digitally responsive – they need to become world-class software houses. To do this, you need to be able to innovate rapidly and safely, and do so in a way that does not create more technical debt. The new enterprise KPI is idea to launch in 6 months.

    Here at digitalML, we’ve been partnering with the world’s largest companies to enable just this. From our work with customers across verticals, we’ve formed a 3-part innovation playbook to get you there.


    1. Digital Recombination – The Goal State for Large Enterprises

    Your enterprise already has lots of existing functionality – that comes with the territory of being a market leader. This functionality can be used to form parts of new innovative offerings, but more often than not it’s locked away in complex silos. Unlocking and exposing as a set of high quality APIs, Services, and Events is key. Plus, you can leverage partnerships and 3rd party functionality to supplement what you already have where appropriate.

    We’re noticing that digital recombination is the goal state for enterprises – the ability to combine digital building blocks (modularized and normalized business and IT functions, represented as APIs/Services/Events) rapidly and innovatively, in support of your digital initiatives.

    We see market leaders trying to do this in a manual way, but it’s complicated stuff:

    • priorities and initiatives mapped out, planned, and reported on across Lines of Business (LoBs) and org charts;
    • hand-crafted capability maps of what is available, what is coming, and when it should be available held in spreadsheets and copy pasted into executive presentations;
    • combinations of capabilities and collaboration between teams to deliver products and services to support the initiatives;
    • complex relationships between the systems of record that provide the functionality, data, logic and process and the consumers relying on it;
    • and updates – the digital world is changing quickly.

    Competitive advantage can be achieved when enterprises bring this all into a platform designed for digital recombination at enterprise scale.

    You can find a full post on digital recombination, what it is, and how to get there here.  We also recently hosted a webinar on the practical roadmap to get to digital recombination; you can download the recording here.


    2. Incremental Innovation – The Entry Ticket to Digital

    So now that we know the goal state, what about the day-to-day? Enterprises don’t go from 0-digital innovation overnight – it’s an evolution filled with complexity.

    The entry ticket to digital, and a key enabler to the recombination goal state is incremental innovation. This involves small-steps of innovation and improvements to existing products and services. Done correctly, incremental innovation is a natural by-product of application updates, functionality improvements, and integration build-out. We work with enterprises that are working hard to constantly evolve incremental versions, updates, changes that add to complexity. Their entire IT workforce are doing this type of innovation on a day-to-day basis – it’s the norm. And that’s likely the case for you, too.

    Incremental innovation can be optimized to reduce time, cost, and complexity, and done so in a way that simultaneously removes manual work and helps make the digital recombination goal state possible. Done right, your enterprise ends up with at valuable portfolio of digital building blocks. These are APIs, Services, and Events which can in turn be combined by different teams to create magic.

    A key part of true enterprise API solutions like our ignite platform is to provide you a collaborative way to achieve and optimize incremental innovation, while simplifying the complexity associated.


    3. Collaboration is Key to Innovation

    The best innovation is collaborative innovation. The best ideas are fostered when they’re joint ideas from people with different viewpoints and expertise. This BBC podcast does a great job of summing up the power of collaboration (as well as discussing the two types of innovation). And there’s no better demonstration than the collaboration across the life science industry and health partners to develop Covid-19 vaccines in less than 12 months (a process that would typically take 10+ years). The same collaborative innovation can be fostered within your enterprise.

    Draw on your business, technical, and consumer-centric expertise across groups, LoBs etc., to collaborate and create best-of-breed ideas that will outpace competition. Also, involve partners and others in your digital ecosystems.

    Collaboration is necessary across the digital product lifecycle (and throughout the API, Event and Service lifecycle within that). It’s collaboration across multiple roles, both business and IT. And each role has their own activities and responsibilities, tied to their own goals and priorities. A unified platform that enables all these roles, in a collaborative way, while complementing your existing infrastructure and processes is key.

    The API, Event, and Service lifecycle is a key part of collaborative innovation, as it’s these artifacts that power your products and services. Here at digitalML we group the roles into the following lifecycle stages, to ensure each is enabled based on their priorities and responsibilities:

    Diagram of the API lifecycle - plan, design, build, and run


    We have an upcoming blog post which provides more detail on how to enable roles and collaboration at each lifecycle stage. Be sure to subscribe to our mailing list to get the article straight to your inbox.



    This 3 step approach to innovation can be daunting, but done right we see it netting large enterprises technical differentiation and compounded simultaneously, to achieve and maintain digital market leadership. Book a consultation with our innovation experts to see how a partnership with digitalML using the ignite platform can get you there in months, not years.

    About the Author
    AvatarGemma Sindall
    Gemma is a Marketing Manager at digitalML. She has a keen interest in digital strategy and the best ways to merge people, process and technology. Her experience spans Marketing and Client Services in the Technology and Financial Services industries.