The future is indisputably unpredictable and when it comes to Technology and Innovation, witnessing the explosion of ideas and development of the previous years leads certainly to the fact that even the most vivid imagination may not be able to envisage how our life will be in 10 years from now.
However, despite the inability to clearly predict the future, past experience, observation and collective intelligence is able to provide certain glimpses in a future window, indicating certain high level directions and concepts that may emerge and evolve.
Technology roadmapping is one of the key activities that try illustrate certain paths that should be followed in order to proactively prepare oneself based on certain forecasting estimations, in order to successfully meet the challenges that lie ahead.
In this context, the “Research Roadmap on new forms of Enterprises” is the roadmap that has been prepared by the FutureEnterprise consortium, in close collaboration with the FutureEnterprise experts, and constitutes the project’s report summarising and grouping together the major challenges that enterprises and entrepreneurs should tackle in order to transform themselves into new organisations (called “new forms of enterprises”) in the Digital Era. The main vision of this roadmap is to support such organisations towards reaching sustainability and growth in a future landscape where technology plays a vital role and becomes the main driver of all aspects of the human life. Such new forms of enterprise are inherently digital (not simply use digital as distribution channel or for operational support), are driven by continuous business innovation and act as multi-sided platforms that deliver (shared) value to the whole ecosystem.
In total, the final release of the roadmap, which is primarily targeted at researchers, includes four (4) Grand Challenges that aim to clearly identify areas where further research is needed in order to provide the necessary assets to enterprises and entrepreneurs to achieve the desired digital transformation.
The four Grand Challenges along with their accompanying research challenges as elaborated in the collaborative brainstorming process can be regarded as a sequence of steps which set the ground for the transformation and then are executed in a circular and iterative manner (as shown in the next figure), to allow constant evolution and innovation.
In more detail, FutureEnterprise has identified the following Grand Challenges that, if tackled properly by the research community will deliver the necessary cornerstones that will allow enterprises and entrepreneurs to become key players in the economy of the future.
I. GRAND CHALLENGE 1 (GC#1): DIGITALISATION AND SMART ENTERPRISE TRANSFORMATION
GC#1 aims at providing a view on the required elements that an enterprise should consider in order to transform itself and develop the necessary readiness level that will make it possible to pursue advanced digital operations ad targets, such as employing smart analytics and building new, self-governed and shared-value generating collaboration platforms.
II. GRAND CHALLENGE 2 (GC#2): PERVASIVE BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE-AS-A-SERVICE
GC#2 concerns the prevalence of a pervasive, intelligent, proactive but also rapidly responding and user-friendly business environment that will constantly assess the plethora of factors that affect the everyday operation of an enterprise and will constantly push intelligence (and not just information) to its stakeholders, in a personalised manner. This will allow enterprises to grasp a better understanding of their operational environment and of their own performance, identifying strong and weak points, and emerging opportunities and threats that should be constantly considered and tackled in order to become context-aware and responsive to the best possible extent.
III. GRAND CHALLENGE 3 (CG#3): COLLABORATIVE BUSINESS MODELS FOR NEW KINDS OF ECONOMIES
GC#3 explores the definition, experimentation and constant evolution of novel business models that challenge traditional operating models, follow the paradigms of the Sharing Economy and the Circular Economy, and capitalize on novel technologies and Future Internet assets in business environments in order to introduce unique innovation propositions at multiple levels, ranging from the innermost configuration (workplace, enterprise architecture) and the core product / service offerings of an enterprise, to the customer-facing, networking elements of its business system (user experience).
IV. GRAND CHALLENGE 4 (GC#4): INTELLIGENT ENTERPRISE COLLABORATION PLATFORMS
GC#4 embodies a radically different context for business innovation and collaboration among organisations, with new platforms that promote collaboration, boost productivity and enable business innovation in consistent lifecycles; from invention to production, from supply chain management to ERP systems, and from customers’ adoption to collaboration with internal business functions or external partners.
The above mentioned Grand Challenges are further analyzed in the roadmap’s document into smaller research challenges which define specific sub-sections of research