How Well Do You Understand the Digital Enterprise?

Most of us think we’re pretty savvy when it comes to knowing what makes today’s innovators and business greats so successful. But do we really? What do you think makes a successful company?

When I think about the organizations dominating the market in creative ways—the businesses that most entrepreneurs would like to emulate—they all have one thing in common: they’re “digital enterprises,” companies that use technology in innovative ways to gain a competitive advantage.

Have a go at our digital enterprise quiz and see if you can guess the names of these four well-known companies, and what makes them so successful as digital enterprises:

Q1: This company uses the key elements that make up a digital enterprise, including data analytics, contextually-aware services and social feedback to enhance their overall subscriber experience. Its IPO in 2012 was the biggest in technology, and one of the biggest in Internet history, with a peak market cap of more than $104 billion.

A key characteristic of digital enterprise models is the use of data analytics to continuously improve your methods of customer engagement. A big driver of Facebook’s ongoing success is that it tailors each user’s suggested pages or Likes by analyzing their preferences.

Q2: This company started out in a garage in 1998. It is now officially the site with the most traffic in the world. Need another clue? Today, it makes the bulk of its revenue from a technology that essentially makes it easier for advertisers to see what customers want to buy, based on the words they use across its platforms. 

As consumers have become more sophisticated, Google has evolved from being a straight search engine to the world’s largest advertising platform. It was also an early champion of mobile technology.

Key to its dynamic digital enterprise business model is the mobility and adaptability that Google demonstrates – this obsession leads to better internal business processes, such as the streamlining of communication channels between different departments. In turn, this has a positive impact on the end customer experience and enables companies to keep up with the constantly-evolving demands of consumers.

Google’s recent announcement of “Alphabet,” a new parent company under which Google will sit, further illustrates my point around adaptability: The new structure will give Alphabet companies the independence and flexibility required to develop their own brands and to respond to consumer expectations at a quicker pace.

Q3: This revolutionary app-based service has disrupted a 100-year-old industry, resulting in vocal protests from the incumbent market leader in the UK. It did this partly through a faster and more efficient ordering process. By mid-2015, the service was available in 58 countries and 300 cities worldwide.

Uber’s app-based “transportation network” service has completely revolutionized its industry. The model, built from the ground up using cloud technology, has also led to an improvement in customer service in the industry as a whole, as competitors are forced to change their strategy.

Like the other companies listed here, Uber also uses social feedback to enhance the quality of its service. Social feedback allows senior executives to listen to customers and fully understand the potential pain points of their business, in order to combat them before they materialize and damage the company’s bottom line.

Q4: This company’s warehouses are so big they could hold more water than 10,000 Olympic pools; its supply chain is so efficient, it can commit to 1-hour delivery times in London. Not sure? If I told you it’s piloting drone deliveries, I’m sure you’ll realize it’s…


Amazon’s original online bookshop business model was revolutionary at the time. It continues to remain the market leader in e-commerce by incorporating other elements of digital enterprise models, such as automated service delivery, contextually-aware services and consumer analytics discovery triggers. For example, Amazon’s analysts can identify what you’ve been buying and tailor your ‘suggested buys’ as a result.

Using a combination of the different elements of a digital enterprise keeps established businesses like Amazon–as well as newer market entrants like Uber–market leaders in their respective fields and allows them to appeal to an increasingly tech-savvy consumer.

From Uber to Twitter and even Starbucks and Dominos, the list of successful digital enterprises is vast. Today alone, you have probably interacted with at least 10 of them.

We are truly operating in the era of the digital enterprise. It’s clear that any company looking to remain at the forefront of their industry needs to adopt some, if not all, of the attributes we attribute to digital enterprises–from an innovative business model to extreme data analytics, or contextually-aware services that lead to a better customer experience.

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