Getting under the skin of digital business

Visceral Business is eight years old today. When it began, it was propelled by the point of view that technology was going to radically alter the way we model and develop business opportunities and the way we work.

It was founded on the belief that networked media was going to fundamentally reshape how we organise, communicate and connect. Digital business was going to reframe leadership, talent and interaction, and create new operating environments and operating systems.

Well, it’s done all of that. And yet, still in many ways, the journey has only just started.

It’s worth remembering that when we began, the hashtag was just a year old.

Eight years on, while some of the world’s largest start-ups are now multibillion-dollar unicorns,  a great number of businesses are still only partly on the road to using tagging and creating taxonomies for content management, for example.

Change can be a slow and lumpy process.

The impetus from our work came from the thought that by enabling businesses to be effectively networked digitally, we could help them to develop action potential, create organisations that people wanted to connect to, and fire synapses about what’s possible.

The main point was really a call to organisations that wanted to make the most of existing their origins and heritage, transitioning market propositions, elegantly, to make the most of the new opportunities on offer.

There’s still a great deal to get to grips with concerning designing an effective digital business strategy.

Back in 2008, we saw technical infrastructure as a central nervous system. Today, that thought is morphing into algorithmic management and AI.

The potency that the combination of future-facing people, technology, skills and information flows puts on the table, and getting under the skin of that, was something we wanted to encapsulate in the words ‘Visceral Business’.

And since the beginning, we’ve been talking about business with ‘is us’ at its centre – that is to say, flat, peer-to-peer and characterised by the five main attributes we consider to form the core DNA of an effective digital organisation: Being networked, seamless, open, compelling and having a purpose beyond profit.

Here’s Les Carr, Professor of The Web Science Institute at Southampton University, talking about these at The Open Data Institute.

Les Carr Webscience crop 2

Business advantage is now something that can be accessed more easily than ever before. It can be derived from the velocity of data and information flowing into a business, and also by accelerating peer-to-peer knowledge as a result of being connected.

Designing a data-enriched tech stack and identifying, developing and working with a network of positive change agents within an organisation are the two of the most powerful ways to develop an organisation’s intangible assets.

It’s how businesses of value are created and also how they can sustain a unique corporate culture and operating advantage.

In 2008, the notion of vital, dynamic organisations and people interacting and responding to them in ways that can be measured in real time was very new.

In the intervening period, much has happened to the idea of organisation. New parts fit together differently. Applications are taking the place of conventional structures and processes. We have real time metrics and predictive modelling at our fingertips.

Yet, are businesses truly making the most of the implications of digital strategy in their business modelling? The bottom line is there’s more to do to create operational readiness for the next wave of change.

Since 2011, we’ve been tracking the path of advancement through our research in key sectors, helping organisations accelerate their knowledge and develop an integrated approach to how they transform digitally.

Over the coming weeks, I’m going to be writing a series of posts that goes back to basics, deconstructing digital business, looking at the various elements of it within our model and what it means.

Business never stands still. Today, it’s concerned with how we move from rigid structures and ‘built to last’ thinking, to dynamic, vital, iterative and just-in-time organisation, in a joined-up way.

Corporate value has been, and always will be, about connecting the dots to create the potential for effective action.

Over the years we’re proud to have walked that path with our many clients. I’d like to say a big thank you to them.

And thank you for your attention if you’re reading this. Hopefully, you’ll join us and be part of the next stage of that journey.