September 13, 2022

Avoid digital duct tape with a new approach to enterprise applications

by Mark Nix, Head of Product Marketing & Strategic Solutions

Is your company ready for your next business venture? Whether it's your plans for your next new product, your next acquisition, your next market expansion, or just your next employees, can your organization’s enterprise infrastructure easily handle your requirements to meet the demands of what’s next for you to successfully grow your business?

Sadly, the answer is usually an emphatic “no”.

Simply stated, most companies don’t have enterprise systems in place that can rapidly and effectively meet business requirements for their next venture, regardless of the objective, schedule, and opportunity. They may have systems in place to address the most immediate needs, but when it comes time to mobilize these systems for the next venture, the effort to connect and expand them is too painful and too expensive.

The result? The opportunity is lost, becomes a money-losing failure, or at best, a massive internal disappointment.

Since the last century, every industry – public and private – has actively pursued digital transformation initiatives to become more efficient, gain deeper operational insights, deliver better services to their customers, deploy new business models, and expand sales into existing and new channels. Too often these initiatives have relied on enterprise systems that have not stayed current or are constrained by technological limitations and aging environments. These systems are updated, modified, connected, and deployed to meet new requirements in a haphazard fashion that is seemingly assembled and patched with what is best described as “digital duct tape”.

Why apply digital duct tape to enterprise systems?

To understand why every business needs a new approach to enterprise solutions, let us quickly review how digital transformation initiatives have outpaced the systems companies rely on every day. It's why digital duct tape – the quick fixes and compromises enterprises make to adopt new technologies – is frequently deployed not as a bandage but as the solution.

Most organizations over the last several decades have made substantial investments in process automation, data analytics, self-service tools, and other operational capabilities. They have done this, however, by duct-taping new solutions onto aging systems which in turn have created unwieldy IT infrastructures saddled with growing technology debt and an increasing risk of technological obsolescence. Often, this complexity involving connecting incompatible systems requires companies to acquire additional solutions to meet business and operational requirements. More duct tape is wrapped.

Likewise, consider the ever-present requirements for better operational analytics and business insights. Without easy real-time access to your enterprise data, it's hard to get the information you need to be responsive. Too often, companies enlist other applications to solve this incestuous problem with incumbent systems, which, of course, requires the deployment of more duct tape.

But the system problems persist and quickly a myriad of spreadsheets are crafted and deployed to answer key business questions because – despite all the applied duct tape – companies still cannot get the information they need. These uncontrolled spreadsheets essentially become a new layer of duct tape.

And soon, without doubt, the answer to every enterprise problem requires another application of duct tape which paints an ugly picture that is hard to visualize and difficult to understand. It is neither pretty nor sustainable.

The end of digital duct tape. Finding a new north star for enterprise applications.

As digital transformation accelerates, and disruptive change increases how do companies build a digital infrastructure with the flexibility and power to reconfigure their entire business to seize new opportunities and simultaneously end their reliance on digital duct tape for every enterprise system project?

It starts with charting your course out of this enterprise dystopia by following your next north star that:

Empowers every part of your enterprise to innovate quickly, draw data and capabilities in real-time from your entire organization, and is unconstrained by preexisting business models, technology choices, and organizational boundaries.

Veterans of enterprise systems might laugh at the idea that companies can support innovation at the edge with universal access to company data because, when siloed, companies have to tradeoff between flexibility and consistency. This is how newcomers regularly disrupt established industries. The incumbent leaders have extensive products, relationships, capabilities, and data, but they are separated and cannot be harnessed to best serve customers.

That is why this north star delivers a new architecture that unifies your technologies without inhibiting innovation. It is not about a single product, tool, or practice but rather a purposely designed architecture that combines a central, consistent store of data with a flexible development environment to support both traditional core functions and innovative business applications. All of which leverages your team’s strong leadership, a resilient culture, and well-designed incentives.

With Nextworld, you can address business needs from different directions. You can implement a solution that works inward from the edge of your enterprise to the core, rapidly address new business imperatives, or craft a custom industry application that elevates your competitive edge. With any of these approaches, Nextworld leverages a sustainable architecture supported by a 100 percent no-code design. This ensures that you can deploy the integrations you need and your applications are ready for the next release.

What Nextworld is delivering today is a solution approach that has never-before been available.

Pain beyond duct tape: trauma induced by centralized ERP projects consumes more duct tape.

As if digital duct tape for cobbling together enterprise systems is not painful enough. Promulgating new centralized ERP projects generate additional trauma and often the need for more duct tape. Organizations often endure years of pain when they implement enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems and sometimes collapse under their own complexity after their project reaches its first birthday or additional capabilities are needed after the initial go-live period.

Consider a company that wants to proactively manage potential supply chain delays caused by bad weather. Many procurement systems do not have the data models to correlate shipping routes with meteorological forecasts. Sure, there are ways around this problem, but they likely involve even more software and another IT project to transform and load weather forecasts into the supply chain system. That requires – you guessed it – more duct tape.

This highlights a key benefit of embracing your new north star: phase 1 can deploy your enterprise solution where and how you want and need without subsequent phases creating additional expensive complexity. Center. Edge. Division A or division G. Maybe Division A and C this year and Division E next year. It does not matter. It is about delivering effective solutions to a schedule that works best for your business rather than the vendor.

Neither should your solution lock to software from any single vendor; it should provide tools that allow any developer to create applications that integrate data and capabilities with the rest of the organization without imposing a vendor-defined data model on the business.

With a north star that only uses a 100% no-code approach, you gain a rapid innovation approach within a coherent framework. Any one of your business units can build any application it needs that is integrated with the company’s data and IT infrastructure.

And in this case, the need for duct tape has been eliminated.

A new north star that accelerates digital transformation for every business.

Your new north star will:

  • Integrate all your enterprise information and capabilities to support product innovation and data-based decision-making.
  • Accommodate the rapid development of powerful custom applications that are automatically integrated with the rest of your enterprise systems.
  • Deploy tailored applications and workflows that eliminate countless workarounds like manual inputs, rogue uncontrolled spreadsheets, and bolted-on niche applications.
  • Deliver key core business applications implemented over time to your schedule from either the edge or center of your enterprise. Start anywhere to eventually go everywhere.
  • Provide operational agility to quickly make radical changes to processes, organizations, and data structures.
  • Enjoy all the advantages of a reliable, global and secure SaaS system with benefits that include regular innovative enhancements and updates across your core and custom code cloud applications.
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Companies that chart a course to this north star will find themselves steadily replacing their duct tape-infused systems with integrated, flexible solutions. In less time, they can achieve the power and flexibility of a fully digitally-transformed business. Best of all, if an opportunity arises that requires a quick shift in business model — like adding a subscription service to a traditional retail sales business model — they will not be slowed or stymied by technology compromises or a pile of mismatched digital duct tape.

Chart a path to Nextworld to find your true north star.

At Nextworld, we are passionate about being your north star for your ongoing digital transformation journey. Our solution is categorized as a SaaS cloud enterprise application suite, but we're offering something new and different. Nextworld delivers an Enterprise Resource Platform, it goes beyond the traditional definitions. We deliver core applications, like finances and inventory, with a platform that can be extended by outside developers. Our 100 percent, always no-code environment enables every business to customize their systems without fear of being left behind or doing an expensive project when the next applications update is released. The cloud-born Nextworld platform adapts to any data structure and integrates seamlessly with all external technologies. And it can be adopted at the edge of an enterprise without reworking its core systems.

Best of all, Nextworld ends your reliance on expensive digital duct tape as your new north star for your journey away from your current enterprise systems dystopia, a geography that consumes too much time and money and is full of broken promises and way too many spreadsheets.

Nextworld is ready to be your enterprise’s new north star – regardless of your industry or size. The end of digital duct tape. A true north star for your business. You only win – in terms of time, money, and capabilities – when you chart your cloud journey with Nextworld as your new north star and stay ahead of what’s next®.

Mark Nix

Head of Product Marketing and Strategic Solutions

Head of Product Marketing and Strategic Solutions

As the Head of Product Marketing and Strategic Solutions, Mark Nix helps Nextworld® customers make their digital goals a reality with solutions spanning from purpose-built mobile apps to core ERP. An accomplished senior executive, Nix has over 30 years of experience as a passionate and innovative sales leader, specializing in building high-caliber engineering organizations.

Today, Nix leads a team that specializes in gaining a deep understanding of the customers’ business challenges, and how to solve them.

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