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The Enterprise is Not a Monolith

"The Enterprise is Not a Monolith" header image

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again — the business world is transforming.

As technology makes it easier for agile, purpose-built groups to collaborate around projects no matter where they are in the world or the organizational structure; modern enterprises are shifting from traditional, siloed hierarchies that take forever to get things done to flexible, team-centric models that are hyper-focused on effectiveness and efficiency.

Keep reading to learn how smaller, more agile teams are breaking down the monolith and how your organization can get in on the transformation.

Modern Enterprise Organizations Are Moving Toward Teams

According to a study by Deloitte, the majority of companies report that they are moving away from traditional organizational structures to redefine how their teams are led, how goals are set, and how teams interact with other groups in the organization.

An illustration of a pie chart with a statistic about businesses becoming more team-centric

In fact, only 14% of executives believe that the traditional organizational model — complete with hierarchical roles based on seniority and narrow expertise — is even effective anymore.

And research would support that the shift toward small, flexible teams is actually part of human nature. Workers spend two orders of magnitude more time with the people nearest their desk than with people more than ~160 feet away. Despite what the organization chart says, we just work best with the people who are in close physical and digital reach.

The organizations that succeed in the future will consist of networks of small, flexible, and connected teams.

An illustration showing how teams were, are, and work together

And as organizations make the shift to a more agile model, so must the tools they use to reach their full potential.

Why Monolithic Tools are Bad for Enterprise

Monolithic tools are a bit like forcing five different-sized round pegs into the same square hole. Sure, a few pegs may fit okay, but most must be forced to cut corners in order to make it work.

As optimistic startups, companies build the toolset they need in the moment. They can't predict how large they might become in the future, so they focus on building or buying a tool that satisfies their immediate needs.

And that works — until it doesn’t.

As companies grow, their monolithic architecture starts to crack. Heavy applications become too slow, maintaining them is a struggle, and security becomes a huge concern as more and more workarounds are bolted to the system.

In many cases, legacy enterprise applications aren’t able to integrate well with modern systems, which means critical data remains siloed inside the monolith and efficiency shrinks to record lows. This makes it difficult for teams to successfully collaborate and compete.

To top it all off, internal teams are often charged with working on a legacy system or designing an application that will interface with the legacy system. This results in complex architectural challenges and backward compatibility issues.

The result of monolithic enterprise tech? Patched systems, inefficient applications, and solutions that, quite frankly, don't work well for anyone.

So what’s the solution?

Instead of going big, cutting-edge enterprise organizations are going small and implementing tech that’s aimed at addressing the needs of individual teams — which in turn empowers the entire enterprise.

How Enterprise Software is Going Small

As more organizations shift to team-centric models, newer, smaller tools are hitting the market and making work easier.

Tools like Facebook’s Workplace, Slack, Google Team Drives, Dropbox, and dozens of others are facilitating the transition from the needs of the enterprise to the needs of individual teams by making it easier to share critical documentation with speed and security.

Products like Slack, Zoom, and Microsoft Skype enable companies of all sizes to improve collaboration, communication, and workflows.

These solutions can be deployed as needed, allowing individual teams to access key features they want — without building an add-on to a monolithic software system that will require months of development and testing before launch.

Let’s take a deeper look at Dropbox, a prime example of today’s team-based but enterprise-ready software. A platform that evolved from a file-storage system to an enterprise software portal, Dropbox empowers teams of all sizes and locations to coordinate on projects from start to finish — even featuring shortcuts for G Suite and integrating with Slack and Zoom for in-platform messaging and video calling. They also recently added HelloSign to their platform, which allows users to take advantage of digital signatures and workflow automation that further collaborate and eliminate redundant, manual tasks.

By integrating this tool and others like it, each team within a larger enterprise can function seamlessly without sacrificing security, scale, or time worrying about finding a solution that works with an outdated, monolithic system.

A chart comparing a monolithic enterprise to a small enterprise

Shrinking the Monolith: Integrate to Future-Proof Your Enterprise

For far too long, enterprise organizations have been viewed as a singular entity with singular needs.

But in reality, every enterprise is a collection of individuals and teams who have unique personalities, different ways of working, and a variety of end goals.

Traditional, monolithic tools simply aren’t flexible enough to meet the needs of agile teams, so many are left without critical features they need to be effective.

To start dismantling the monolith and building a future-proof enterprise, you must embrace integration with the small-but-mighty enterprise tools that reduce redundancy, increase security, and simply make work more productive for your physically- and digitally-connected teams.

The shift away from large, monolithic enterprise software will increase as more and more business owners and developers alike recognize that, in order to grow, organizations must shrink into agile, task-based teams.

Ready to move beyond the monolith in your organization? Here’s some recommended reading:

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