element 42 Day I

Welcome to element 42!

I do not know how you landed here … Hell, I sometimes do not know myself. I guess that is what keeps life spicy.

You may be one of the fantastic, outstanding individuals I had the pleasure of working with during my 20+ years journey in Business Technology. If you are one of them you are a curious learner, you are creative,  you drive for outcomes, you always do the right thing and you help and inspire others … To net it out: you have a positive impact on the universe and are a ‘Warrior of the Light’. Welcome!

I am fine … thanks for asking. It turned out that the  spring & summer break helped me clarify what I want to do going forward. At the same time some things were brought to me quite unexpectedly  and I take them as a sign from ‘the Universe’. So no matter what my full time profession will be in the future (shepherd, innkeeper, CEO … it’s all on the table), at least part time I am gonna be a consultant to both investors and businesses. In terms of roles I will work as a industry expert for investors, as an advisory/supervisory board member and as a project-based consultant for businesses seeking to grow faster than their industry peers.

Guess what I will advise my clients on? Yes – you guessed right – Business Technology and the design choices to be made in creating a winning Go-to-Market.

(… and that is what I founded element 42 for.)

Business Technology emerged roughly 20 years ago and rightfully could be called the ‘Seed of Digitalization’. Why?
Because by design it tried to start with Business as its core object and tried to figure out how Technology could be applied to it to improve it. Organizations like McKinsey’s Business Technology Office were (and continue to be) among the early thought leaders on the topic. Since then countless CIOs, CEOs and investors have grappled with the concept and still today we like to talk technology: Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data … you name it. None of these technology vectors mean much unless put to use in a business context with the intention driving a business outcome. Simple, isn’t it?

However translating technological capabilities into business value seems to be a continuing challenge based on my experience in Enterprise Software and SaaS.

Software businesses struggle selling technology and driving business outcomes for their customers, ultimately hampering their growth outlook. Their organizations frequently market a superficial ‘business promise’. Underneath that they are continuing to be in ‘technology push’ mode, short cutting the process of translation into customer business terms. Product and Sales organizations struggle to align and execute on a Go-to-Market process that breaks this conundrum. Instead there’s beefy headline promises and – more often than not – modest business outcomes.

At the same time Investors struggle to increase the value of their software investments for some of the same reasons. Due to a scarcity of critical-mass targets, platform strategies increasingly become the only viable investment strategy: starting with a nucleus company, smaller investments are ‘bolted on’ to forge a new bigger player in a given domain. To deliver on the anticipated value increase however, countless operational problems need to be overcome. The capability to deliver Business Technology to the investment’s customers becomes the key to growth and scale and thus the path to value for the investor pursuing a platform strategy.

What’s the ‘So what?’ here? Well, there’s a gap to close which spans the full process from building technology, expressing it’s benefit in customer terms, applying it to a customer’s business context, implementing it and driving business impact with it. This process or value chain needs to be well orchestrated and executed with a Business Technology mindset. For investors and businesses alike getting this process to work is the critical path to value in the form of above market growth or premium returns.

Ok. I guess that’s it for now. In this blog I will share my own view from time to time but also link to thought leaders that I consider to have relevant perspectives on this topic.

If you want to discuss Your ideas or projects, don’t hesitate to ping me under element42@element42.com or call me (cell number in the Imprint section of this site).