The Digital Renaissance And The Intelligent Enterprise

Ginger Shimp and Jeff Janiszewski

The following is the ninth in a series of conversations about digital innovation and the intelligent technologies powering the Intelligent Enterprise, with Jeff Janiszewski and Ginger Shimp from SAP North America Marketing. In this blog, they discuss what it takes to create an Intelligent Enterprise.

Ginger:

Do you remember playing musical chairs as a kid?

Jeff:

Yeah, but where I grew up, it was full-contact musical chairs. The weakest kids not only left the game bruised, but humiliated. It was a tough neighborhood.

Ginger:

That speaks volumes about you. But what if you played “through-the-looking-glass” musical chairs, where instead of taking chairs away, chairs were added? And what if the person running the game had the responsibility to keep all those chairs filled? And instead of being humiliated for leaving the game, participants got paid to leave the game?

Jeff:

I see where you’re going with this. There are more jobs out there than people to fill them.

Ginger:

And human capital is just a small part of the problem. For example, look at the oil and gas industry. The demand for energy is way up, but not only do they need a massive number of workers, they [also] need more steel for the rigs and pipeline. They need more transportation, more professional services, more compliance, more everything. And they have a lot of empty chairs.

Jeff:

And not only are their direct competitors trying to lure away all of that with better offers, but global markets are shifting as well. As tariffs rise in one country and markets collapse, businesses are scrambling for opportunities in other countries.

Ginger:

It’s a dynamic situation, and it’s fueling the digital renaissance. Just as the internet boom of the 1990’s created a whole new way of doing business, today’s economy is being dramatically altered by digital innovation.

Jeff:

But it’s not really a disruptive innovation. Disruptive innovation happens when technology eliminates the need for something – for example, tractors replacing horses, or DVDs replacing videotapes. We’re not talking about the introduction of new devices. Digital innovation is a foundational transformation. It’s about changing the way business is done.

Ginger:

And change is unavoidable. Ironically, change is a constant. Remember Arthur Stanley Eddington’s Arrow of Time? Eddington, a British astronomer, said that if you draw and follow an arbitrary arrow and find that things are more chaotic, you’re headed into the future. Similarly, if things are less chaotic, you’re headed into the past.

Jeff:

He was into time travel? He would have liked our “Searching for Salaí” podcast.

Ginger:

I’m sure he would, but he wasn’t really referring to time travel; he was talking about entropy. It’s the reason your desk naturally gets messier but doesn’t spontaneously organize itself. In a closed system, everything dissipates. Things have a natural tendency toward disorganization. However, if you add energy into a system – for example, you take the time to clean up your desk – it can become organized again. The same is true with businesses.

Jeff:

So, we’re saying that ― left unattended ― a business will devolve into chaos, but if the business innovates, it will not only become ordered but will prosper.

Ginger:

That’s just the way the universe works. It takes effort to make things better. It takes an investment. It seems intuitive, but how often do we see companies cutting corners and trying to save their way to success?

Jeff:

It’s a sure sign of collapse. Change is inevitable, but productive change requires effort.

Ginger:

We’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating: Truly transformative innovation happens when people, data, and technology are combined. But when a business doesn’t innovate, it will undoubtedly stagnate and collapse. Looking forward, building an Intelligent Enterprise is an imperative for all businesses.

Jeff:

Absolutely, but it’s important to understand what we mean by “intelligent.” There are really three kinds of intelligence. Information, knowledge, and wisdom. Information is just that great big pile of data. Knowledge is what you gain from analyzing that data. Wisdom, however, is when you synthesize all that knowledge and gain insight. An Intelligent Enterprise is an enlightened enterprise.

Ginger:

As a practical matter, the Intelligent Enterprise is in touch with their customers, their partners, their suppliers, and their employees. And it breaks down the barriers between those stakeholders allowing them to act in coordination in real time. When a threat arises, such as a breakdown in the supply chain, or an opportunity opens up, like a new market or a new resource, the Intelligent Enterprise will quickly react in a synchronized fashion across the entire business.

Jeff:

However, an Intelligent Enterprise won’t magically come together any more than my desk will organize itself. The Intelligent Enterprise requires a foundational transformation enabled by the implementation of new systems. Business is changing slower today than it ever will and faster than it ever has. The Digital Renaissance is here. It’s now. Stagnation is not an option.

Ginger:

If you find yourself playing a game of through-the-looking-glass musical chairs, you need to have the nicest chairs possible to attract the best talent.

Jeff:

You need to have the best employees, the best partners, the best supply chain, and the best customers. Being the best incentivizes the best to work with you. That’s how you build an Intelligent Enterprise.

Ginger:

Draw a metaphorical arrow in the direction your business is going. Are things getting more uncertain, and chaotic, or are you putting the necessary energy into the system to create an Intelligent Enterprise?

Jeff:

We’ve had a lot of fun working on this blog series and we hope we’ve managed to entertain, enlighten, and inspire you. We truly believe that we all benefit when businesses run better.

Ginger:

And if you did enjoy this series, coming soon Jeff and I will have another series of blogs on our approach to marketing.

To learn more about how SAP Leonardo is empowering the Intelligent Enterprise visit https://sapinnovate.me/leonardo/.

For a more imaginative experience of how technology has become integrated into our lives, listen to our cool new podcast, Searching for Salaì.

Searching for Salaì is also available wherever you listen to podcasts:

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Continue the experience at www.searchingforsalai.com.


About Ginger Shimp

With more than 20 years’ experience in marketing, Ginger Shimp has been with SAP since 2004. She has won numerous awards and honors at SAP, including being designated “Top Talent” for two consecutive years. Not only is she a Professional Certified Marketer with the American Marketing Association, but she's also earned her Connoisseur's Certificate in California Reds from the Chicago Wine School. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of San Francisco, and an MBA in marketing and managerial economics from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. Personally, Ginger is the proud mother of a precocious son and happy wife of one of YouTube's 10 EDU Gurus, Ed Shimp.

Jeff Janiszewski

About Jeff Janiszewski

Jeff Janiszewski is an SAP award-winning B2B marketeer with a proven track record of designing, implementing demand generation and pipeline strategies that generate sales across a diverse range of industries and solutions.