The Intelligent Enterprise Promotes Swarm Organizations

Gerd Ehrhardt

In today’s world of fast changes, disruptions, and globalization in the tech arena, only effective leaders know how to create and use networks for achieving their goals.

Digitalization has created constant pressure on traditional companies to operate faster and become more flexible. Stability and efficiency are no longer in the heart of today’s business model. Instead, there is an increasing need for strategies that allow automation, innovation, dynamics, and agility.

Intelligent enterprises allow every industry to work through business models that leverage networks and the cloud platform. Today, leverage is the key to creating a functioning strategic network.

These innovations also created the need for organizational and cultural changes within companies that recognized the urge to move from a traditional business model.

During my doctoral thesis, as well as business model innovation coaching activities, I analyzed studies in the fields of human resources, swarm organizations, and leveraging networks.

I concluded that the cloud platform, an open business platform designed to ease innovation and integration supported with agility and flexibility, can promote a different type of connection within an organization. This type of horizontal connection is also called a swarm organization.

Swarm organization involves groups that outperform individuals when it comes to making decisions, predictions, and forecasts. These “swarms” work in real-time and are able to contribute their input while receiving closed-loop feedback.

Swarm organizations’ results suggest this method is potentially more effective than working in traditional, hierarchical ways. For example, when more than one employee works on a project, it implies that the entire team understands the challenges within a project, which maximizes their effectiveness.

In this type of network, the employees within a team work as entrepreneurs with fewer limitations from management and more freedom to contribute to the common goal.

Swarm organizations have positive effects on employee motivation and team spirit, as they are based on self-organization and giving employees more flexibility.

At the same time, leaders in swarm organizations can focus on the vision and what their customers really need from their business. Leaders and employees are connected, which enables employees to hear all stakeholders in charge of customer success and no one is left out of the process.

Finally, swarm organizations are not about drastic changes. Instead, they are more about the consistent implementation of the steps that originate from a central vision and are executed by the groups within the organization.

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Dr. Gerd Ehrhardt

About Dr. Gerd Ehrhardt

Dr. Gerd Ehrhardt has a proven record of multiyear and multilevel experience in transformation management. He has spent most of his career in an international environment within the software industry. Gerd has lived and worked in many countries on three continents, these include Germany, France, the USA, Singapore, and Jordan. He works at SAP, writes for the Forbes Magazine, the SAP News Center and contributes to the World Economic Forum Agenda. Please follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn