At a recent Technology Innovation & Leadership Summit, Mighael Botha, CTO of Software AG kicked off the event with a presentation called “The Vision of the Digital Enterprise.”  This presentation reviewed the critical issues of matching an organization’s architecture and technology to its challenges.  Botha called the challenge, “Using 21st century technology to solve 21st century problems.”   I’ve seen many presentations recently talking about the need to respond to the customer and create a better customer experience.  Botha’s presentation was unique because as a world class CIO and CTO he   understands the new customer experience and the back-end architecture required to make the experience a reality.

Botha started off with a theme we’ve been hearing consistently–companies must adapt to survive.  Botha said Charles Darwin’s theory that the species which are most adaptable to change are the ones who will survive can be applied to business as well.

As an example, Blackberry and Nokia in 2009 had 65 percent of the market.  Six years later, it was just 2 percent.  He also said that half of the 500 largest global companies in 2000 are out of business today.

When the CIO or technology department gets the call from marketing or the CEO to create a better customer experience or to adapt in some fashion, the architecture must match up to the solution.  For different companies, the digital experience can mean different things.  For example, for Greyhound, it means a better customer experience.  For, it means handling the volume of requests at reasonable speeds.

I think the contribution Botha presented in this part of the presentation was his summary of the three key drivers of disruption in enterprise technology.

First, let’s get grounded on the stats.  According to Botha, at the time of his presentation last summer, there were more than 2 billion internet users.  We will have 50 billion connected devices by 2020 and data usage is growing at a 40 percent rate.  It’s predicted we’ll have 40 trillion GB in data usage by 2020.

Botha looks at the disruption, which is everywhere, and its impact on the architecture and the technology requirements to make the newer customer experience a reality. In that context, his three drivers of digital disruption are connected customers, Internet of Things and fast access to data.

Connected customers are driving companies to create different experiences. As an example, Macy’s knows a customer is in the mall and sends a text to them to try on an outfit they had looked at on their site.

The Internet of Things is creating volumes of connected devices and driving new architectures and systems to add value to customers and creating new revenue streams. As an example, Lexmark started putting sensors in their devices and can now predict when their products will need repair and, as a result, can offer a new service with SLAs.

We’ve heard about big data and that can be solved with multiple technologies.  The value is not in the data, the value is in what company leaders and managers can get out of the data.  For instance, can packages be shipped faster or can a shipper get more boxes in each truck?  As an example, UPS considers space on a truck perishable inventory so fast access to data is a differentiator for the business.

In my next post, I’ll share the multiple case studies that Botha presented and their impact on the back end architecture, then I’ll share the key technologies that Botha presented a potential solution to these challenges.

What do you think?  Make your comments to this post here:

Want to see Botha’s entire presentation?  Go here:


Alex Jarett is the Founder of the Technology Executive Club and its service, the Technology Innovation Institute.  The Technology Executives Club is a private association dedicated to the success of IT executives and those executives who serve IT.  TEC helps executives and their teams make best use of technology by providing a forum of their peers and industry experts dedicated to sharing practical thought leadership on IT Trends, IT Leadership and Strategy.