Rise of the global enterprise

When I joined IBM in 1981, it was a classic 20th century organisation – the multinational.

Multinationals emerged to gain access to local markets and resources, setting up mini versions of themselves in literally hundreds of countries.  And for decades it was a very successful model.

However, what looked like efficiency has become redundant. Multinationals simply replicated or duplicated their business in every country. So now there are 150 mini IBMs around the globe.

This means that they have their own models for distribution and supply chain optimisation, procurement and marketing, frozen outdated business models and often disconnected from the electronic web of the enterprise. Even today, suppliers, customers, agents and producers are paper and distance constrained.

This duplication is inefficient.  The next generation marketplace – with the convergence of applied artificial intelligence, super fast networks, wireless systems, smart agents and real-time communications – will require organisations to ask the hard questions to determine their core competencies, strategic positioning and corporate identity.

They will also ask the questions about what they outsource to other enterprises to capitalise on the connected network of organisations all working in their core competency and delivering accelerated innovation and delivery execution for the marketplace.

The enterprise will come to think of itself not as an organisation but as a network, and not just a network of technology but also a network of people.


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