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Field Marshal Erich von Manstein, in his Lost Victories, the landmark analysis of the Eastern front, writes extensively about the dangers of silo effects – different branches’ inability to work together in a concerted (joint) way.

In theory, von Manstein had the capabilities to subdue the Red Army in months, but instead his technologically superior forces were slowly worn out – as he puts it – in numerous tactical victories which resulted Iron Crosses, promotions and other praises, but were not decisive on the whole theater.

Talking to large blue-chip companies today often brings von Manstein to my mind. A typical such enterprise consists of Business Units, with full profit and loss responsibility, and Supporting Services who try to satisfy BU’s needs. Then there’s ‘lean’ Administration with a CEO merely advising the revenue-generating BU leaders.

This model works when the business environment remains stable, but even then it dangerously erodes out the capability to throw maximum resources into a decisive product, service or disruptive technology.

Spimes along with the Industrial Internet/IoT are such decisive choices. Unorthodoxially, moving from product business to digitalized services must be driven above the BUs, under clear technical leadership, budget and authority. Otherwise the BUs insist on developing their own, unscalable and most critically, non-interoperable digital platforms.

Also in many cases, the BU-specific solution is not financially viable by itself, but this remains invisible as it is not accounted separately but combined into products as sales cost, resulting inferior product aspects toward customers.

I hope I’ll meet several CSPOs (Chief SPime Officers) in the near future.

//Pasi

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