Daan Witteveen is industry leader Technology Media & Telecom (TMT) at Deloitte with a passion for technology enabled business models, innovation and venturing. When asked what human nature is to him in his field, Daan replies: “Human nature is to initiate what’s important at any time while taking ownership and responsibility over the execution of the idea: also called ‘distributed entrepreneurship’. Entrepreneurship that is accessible to everyone.” According to Daan technology developments enables this, spreading innovation quickly.

The future of innovation and entrepreneurship

In the industrial economy, small companies were mainly active on a local scale while the global market place was for large multinationals. In the last decade however, new technology is rapidly changing the business landscape enabling innovation and boosting entrepreneurship in both multinationals as well as through thousands of start-ups.

IT systems such as ERP and CRM are supporting the primary activities of a company. Yet, in the digital age these primary activities are becoming digitized as well. Digital companies create competitive advantage through real time (big) data analytics resulting in continuous improvement of the primary activities. “Large data will have a huge impact on innovation, venturing and collaboration”, according to Daan. “Or to put it in other words, the way we run our business, we collaborate and how we organize ourselves will be thrown in the coming years.” Daan sees three emerging trends:

Cloud as a platform for business, innovation and venturing

As traditional enterprise applications are moving to the cloud and software is provided ‘as a service’, it is the business owner and no longer the IT department that decides on which software to deploy. Ever more of these applications truly focus on enabling innovative and adaptive business models. Not only multinationals and large institutions benefit from cloud solutions, Daan says. Due to sharp declining IT development costs through cloud solutions and open source software, new venture models arise such as lean ventures and start-up boot camps. “In the near future I expect the emergence of a few highly successful technology driven business platforms in the likes of Amazon, Facebook, Salesforce.com, Innocentive and eBay.”

The company ‘as a service’ fostering distributed entrepreneurship

Think of the world consisting of platforms available ‘as a service’. Governments make rules and regulations to create frameworks for collaboration. Roads, railways, power and data networks are available as a utility or ‘infrastructure as a service’. Note that it was not long ago that many of these services were considered proprietary for the happy few.  However, once available for everybody these platforms, provided ‘as a service’, boosted our economic growth and welfare. The importance of the railways in the 19th century on the US economy is in essence not different from the tremendous impact the 2G and 3G mobile networks had on the European economy.

Daan asks us to imagine that ultimately everything will become available ‘as a service’, i.e. proprietary ownership is no longer relevant. “Would it be possible for entrepreneurs to start a venture? A venture whereby the key building blocks of the required corporation become available ‘as a service’?” Daan believes that ultimately cloud computing, technology enabled services and open source software applications will take away all barriers to start an organization of any kind. Collaboration tools support systems for bookkeeping and invoicing and whatever you can think of will sooner or later become available as a service. Mostly available for free or pay as you go, no upfront costs. The company as a utility or ‘as a service’ may turn every idea, plan or dream into a venture. In this new world entrepreneurship is not only possible within the walls of the corporation. Distributed entrepreneurship is just a few clicks away …

Technology platforms and applications ‘as a service’ will replace outsourcing

Traditional outsourcing is about taking over entire business processes by third parties. While business process outsourcing made companies more efficient and cost effective, the benefits are mainly achieved on a macro level. On a micro level the opposite is happening. Due to strict service level agreements (SLA’s), innovation and entrepreneurship were only allowed within the existing SLA frameworks and objectives. No surprise that insourcing is in the rebound. This is not only because innovation is limited by the principal-agent relationship formalities, but also because more and more traditionally outsourced solutions become available ‘as a service’. It puts the principal back in control over the entire process, realizing the same efficiency in a more adaptive manner. Good examples are found in the banking, insurance and mortgage industry in the field of claim handling, fraud detection and online banking. What is your core business in the future?

POSTED BY LIEKE VOERMANS ON NOV 15, 2011 on http://www.tedxamsterdam.com/2011/human-nature-forecast-daan-witteveen-on-innovation/