How to build an Adaptive Enterprise?

Nov 15, 2017
Written by
Marc Lankhorst
Marc Lankhorst

How to build an Adaptive Enterprise?

In today’s turbulent business environment, organizations need to be excellent at designing and implementing change. The ‘Digital Enterprise’ requires continuous innovation, which means that organizations are in a constant state of flux. At the same time, they need to stay in control. They have to deal with regulatory pressure, financial constraints, and the risk of disturbing their going concern while implementing major change.

In a previous blog post and in our eBook ‘The Adaptive Enterprise’, we have argued that to survive and thrive in this environment, organizations need to focus on six capabilities to become more adaptive: Simplify, Innovate, Collaborate, Accelerate, Decide and Control.

Seven capabilities

How do you improve your change capability?

In our eBook we addressed the need to digitize these capabilities using a collaborative business design platform such as Enterprise Studio. The eBook explains how such a platform helps you to align strategy, people, processes and technology and how to handle the large amounts of data involved, perform various analyses to support fact-based decision-making, and visualize and communicate change. What we did not discuss, however, is how to get from A to B: How can you improve your change capabilities to address your business issues, by effectively using Enterprise Studio?

To help you with this, we have created an assessment and improvement method based on a detailed capability model. It’s a refinement of the six main adaptive enterprise capabilities described above, and of course implemented in Enterprise Studio itself. The figure below outlines the approach.


Usage and outcome analysis

It starts with identifying the important business issues your organization wants to address, supported by a list of >100 questions. To give you an impression, here is a random sample from that list:

  • Which capabilities are required for our business model?
  • Can we trace the contribution of each project to concrete business outcomes?
  • Does our use of personal data respect privacy regulations?
  • What is the impact of introducing a new product?
  • What is the end-of-life technology risk for an application?

For different business questions you need different collaboration, analysis and change capabilities. Selecting the questions most relevant to you determines which you need.

Seven disciplines

Enterprise Studio’s functionalities (above) support these capabilities. We assess your current usage (if any) of these functionalities, using a second set of questions. That provides insight into your current capabilities. We create heat maps depicting your current and target capabilities, and the gap between these.

Current target gap analysis

Now implementing or improving capabilities to fill that gap requires some thought. To guide you in this process, we have created a maturity model that maps these capabilities to different growth stages. Typically, you start with the more basic capabilities and implement the more advanced ones and at a later stage.

Maturity model

Finally, to support the capabilities needed to answer your business questions, our approach recommends specific use of relevant functionalities of Enterprise Studio. This closes the loop and lets you make the most of our platform within your business context.

In summary, to address the six key capabilities mentioned above, we provide a detailed set of supporting capabilities, we assess your need for these based on the business issues at hand, and we address their support by the functionalities of Enterprise Studio. Thus, you know what to use, tailored to the specifics circumstances of your organization. You can forever change the way you change and become an Adaptive Enterprise!