4 External Forces Challenging Every Enterprise Organization | MicroStrategy
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4 External Forces Challenging Every Enterprise Organization

Today’s enterprise organizations compete in a turbulent business climate, fueled by constantly evolving technological, market, regulatory, and competitive forces. In this volatile environment, organizations that can leverage intelligence to anticipate and react to sudden and continuous change will gain a powerful edge over their competitors.

Earlier this spring, my hometown of Bethesda, Maryland witnessed the shuttering of a flagship Barnes & Noble bookstore, a long-time neighborhood fixture. Months later, in a storefront just one block away, a new purveyor opened for business—Amazon Books. Cue “The Circle of Life” from The Lion King.

In the modern business jungle, the circle of life is spinning ever faster, propelled by unyielding external forces that pressure every enterprise, not just brick-and-mortar retailers. Technological innovations keep shifting the balance of power. Market powerhouses keep reshaping industries. Regulatory bodies keep changing the rules. And the competition just keeps coming.

Technological Innovations Level the Playing Field

Recent technological advances make it easier than ever for any company to start or transform a business. For instance, modern cloud offerings essentially provide “instant infrastructure” where a company can spin up a new business offering virtually overnight, without the expense or delay of deploying its own dedicated resources.

Similarly, mobility can give any company access to an “instant audience”—potentially to every smartphone user in the world. And, with advancements in areas like big data, IoT, and machine learning, an organization can obtain unprecedented visibility into its business operations and create a powerful competitive advantage by running more productively, precisely, and proactively than ever.

Market Giants Reshape Industries

Forget about 800-pound gorillas—today’s movers and shakers now sport trillion-dollar market caps. With their massive scale, exceptional efficiency, and cultures of innovation, powerhouses like Apple, Amazon, and Alphabet/Google can easily steamroll their way into established industries—and they can also open up new horizons.

For instance, Amazon may be wreaking havoc on many brick-and-mortar retailers, but its AWS cloud offering powers untold numbers of businesses and service offerings. Apple has disrupted markets for personal computers, phones, cameras, music, and even watches, but its mobile app ecosystem spawns opportunities for a multitude of next-generation businesses.

Regulatory Forces Rewrite the Rules

With the stroke of a pen, new or changing regulations can disrupt the status quo across entire industries and create sudden, unanticipated challenges for businesses.

For instance, the EU’s recent General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) had companies scrambling to achieve compliance and avoid stiff penalties. In the U.S., the Affordable Care Act (ACA) reshaped the healthcare industry, but ongoing uncertainty about its future is creating tension in that market. Changes in tax and tariff policies can derail a company’s business model by disrupting global supply chains, limiting available markets, or shrinking profit margins.

Competition is Unyielding

As if all those external forces aren’t challenging enough, most enterprises are battling well-entrenched competitors for market share and revenue. With new technologies, expanding global markets, and the accelerating pace of business, it’s difficult for any company to maintain its competitive advantage.

Constant pricing pressure tends to erode profit margins over time. Product commoditization or lack of innovation can reduce demand and open the door to substitute products. And it’s never been easier for new entrants leveraging modern technologies to rapidly penetrate established markets and displace the old guard.

One way or another, these powerful forces will bring change to every business. Those that can harness the power of intelligence will survive and thrive.


The MicroStrategy Map of the Intelligent Enterprise can show your organization how to leverage its existing data and enterprise assets to build a powerful competitive advantage in an increasingly challenging business environment. Explore the map in its entirety and watch for upcoming posts detailing other sections of the Map.

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