09.26.2016

Digitalization

Author: Babur Ozden
Digitalization

On September 22, 2016, the world of (big) business woke up to the Maersk press release announcing major changes and new strategic destination.

I have had the pleasure of visiting Maersk headquarters three times in the last two months. It’s an elegant campus that is representative of its culture and values, located right on the water at the heart of one of the prettiest cities on our planet. There I met the people who are tasked with an enviable new journey.

Maersk’s industry leadership has been built over a century by the subject-matter expertise of its employees, credibility and reputation; and amassing a network of assets such as (very big) boats, (millions of) containers, terminals, data and information.

It is the world’s largest company in an industry that is core to the global economy and to the availability of civilization to humanity.

Below is the opening line from the press release.

“22 September, 2016. A.P. Møller – Mærsk A/S will become an integrated transport and logistics company with digitalized and individualized customer solutions.”

“Digitalization” is pointed out 5-times throughout the press release!

Digitalization is spreading among the captains of industries such as Maersk, General Electric, Shell et al. It is driven by the Chairman & CEO and led by the C-suite.

Over the years, the world’s largest corporations have adopted numerous information technology related paradigms, each forming one or more new layers in the enterprise IT & OT architecture.

What will be the new architecture layer enabling digitalization across the enterprise at Fortune Global 1000 companies?

A knowledge layer.

More precisely, the knowledge abstraction layer.

Data from silos, knowhow of employees, and information from business processes reorganized as enterprise digital knowledge in a new layer.

What does this new layer enable that the enterprise cannot do today?

Rapid development of a large number of new models.

Why is that important?

The more (models) thrown at a business opportunity or problem the “faster” it is grabbed or solved.

Increasing the speed at which business profitability is achieved through rapid development and deployment of a large number of new models.

Faster time to business value is a competitive advantage.

The one with more models beats its rivals.

And the one with orders of magnitude more models disrupts one or more industries.

I had an opportunity for a quick conversation with Mr. Immelt, Chairman & CEO of GE, following his presentation at the GE Ventures CEO Summit. He sees a company’s level of digitalization as function of models in use, the more models the more digitalized the company is.

At the end of our 3-minute conversation he posed a question, “Babur what would be the chances of survival of 20th century industrial giants facing a 21st century rival where tens-of-millions of daily decisions are aided by 1,000,000 models?”

A Fortune Global ranked industrial giant has all the ingredients to crank  out a large number of models rapidly: domain expertise, subject-matter experts and the data.

What’s been missing until recently is the platform that enables development and deployment of models rapidly and at mass scale.

The knowledge layer on top of the IT & OT architecture serves this purpose.

I am very excited for my friends at Maersk. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to digitalize a global industrial leader.

I am also excited about the Maana Knowledge Platform, selected by global giants, (more here in our press release) to form the knowledge layer across their IT & OT architecture to accelerate digitalization.

 

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