Building An Adaptive Enterprise

Berlin, 5.11.2020

Transforming Enterprises

Dr. Oliver Grasl

Oliver Grasl co-founded transentis in 1997 and has been managing partner ever since.

After reading mathematics and theoretical physics at Cambridge University and the University of Innsbruck, and a brief foray into software development, he later specialized in business engineering at the University of St. Gallen (Executive MBA, Dr. oec.).

Oliver’s personal mission is to help his clients to explore, re-design and transform their enterprises.

+49 173 6546727

+49 30 800937050

Adaptive Enterprises

What They Are And How To Get There


What Is The Ultimate Goal Of An Enterprise?


Shareholder Value



Market Leadership

Total Value Added

What Is The Ultimate Goal Of An Enterprise?


Shareholder Value



Market Leadership

Total Value Added

Why You Will Probably Live Longer Than Most Large Enterprises


The Seven Most Valuable Companies In The World Didn't Exist 50 Years Ago


Beware: Not Everybody Works In Large Enterprises

Distribution of companies in Germany according to company revenue class (in 2018)*

Distribution of employees in Germany according to company revenue class (in 2018)**

Everything discussed here applies to enterprises of all sizes - each have their own challenges.

Fascinating Startup Statistics*

  • 90% of new startups fail.
  • 75% of venture-backed startups fail.
  • Under 50% of businesses make it to their fifth year.
  • Only 33% of startups make it to the 10-year mark
  • Only 40% of startups actually turn a profit
  • 82% of business that fail do so because of cash flow problems.

How Can An Enterprise Survive In The Long Term?

They Turn Into Adaptive Enterprises!

Adaptive enterprises are highly flexible and have the ability to transform or adjust in almost real-time by altering routines and practices in response to changes in the economic environment.


Adaptive enterprises continuously reinvent themselves before becoming obsolete.


Adaptive enterprises explore the future while exploiting the present.

Successful companies founded in the 19th century: Bosch, Siemens, General Electric, Johnson & Johnson, DuPont, ...

Hasn't Survival Always Been The Issue?

So what's new?

Of course the idea that business are forced to adapt to the outside world is not new.

But a few aspects have changed.

The scale of transformation has increased - not just products and services but the entire enterprise.

Ever shorter, faster transformation cycles: "continuous transformation"

Technology as enabler - not just for the enterprise, but also for enterprise transformation itself.

What Are They Obstacles To Becoming An Adaptive Enterprise?

Financial fragility

High regulatory pressure

Inability to handle complexity

Large technical debt

  • Increasing costs
  • Decreasing margins
  • No cash in the bank
  • Health compliance
  • Financial compliance
  • Data protection
  • Standards vary internationally
  • Monolithical, inefficient systems
  • Litte interconnectivity
  • Low degree of automation (No APIs)
  • Inability to extract insight from data
  • Little methodological capability
  • No sophisticated management tools
  • No tools to manage the "big picture"

Back To Basic: A High-Level View Of Transformation

Distinguish between the transformation process and the enterprise being transformed

You need a powerful transformation process and and adaptive enterprise



Adaptive Enterprise

High-level View Of A Transformation Process

"Double Loop Learning"

High-level View Of A Transformation Process

Key Capabilities Need To Build An Adaptive Enterprise

Execution & Standardization Capability

Decision Making Capability







We will discuss Agile Transformation Processes in detail in our meetup on 19.11

Prototype Everything

The essence behind prototyping is to inspire and validate your thinking and your designs.


Get  feedback from your stakeholders as early as possible


Use sketches & diagrams, visual models, simulations, mock-ups, walkthroughs, storytelling & playacting ... whatever fits the situation.


Establish prototyping as a permanent activity.

Obersvation & Measurement: Turn Into An Analytical Enterprise

Build an accurate, real-time representation of the business ("Digital Twin")

Observe and measure you entire ecosystems: customers, partners, internal processes and structures, factor markets,…

Use simulations and ML to classify patterns and test future scenarios

Not just "tangibles", but also relationships between them and your corporate knowledge

Create An Adaptive Enterprise

Overcome organisational silos

Build a flexible digital core

Continuously search for new business models

Business Model



Continuously Search For New Business Models

Most investments lose money*

6 out of 10 investments lose money

3 out of 10 investments show some performance

4 out of 1000 show large performance

*Return distribution in US Venture Capital 2004-2013,

as found in "The Invincible Company"/Osterwalder

Overcome Organisational Silos

Most organisations are at risk of harboring "organisational silos", because departments are split along functional specialisations and then split again into management hierarchies.


Build An Adaptive, Agile Organisation

Build A Flexible Digital Core

Underpin entire "customer journeys"

Automate your processes

Make your enterprise "computable"

Avoid technical debt


To increase their chances of long-term survival, enterprises need to become as adaptive as possible.

Regularly adapt vision and purpose it to the demands of the economic environment.

  • Shared purpose and vision
  • Sensing and seizing opportunities
  • Keep re-aligning capabilities
  • Resources flexibly



Vision & Purpose


Network of empowered teams

  • Clear, flat structure
  • Clear, accountable roles
  • Active communities of practice

Business ecoystem

  • Active partnerships
  • Integration based on standards
  • Permanent exploration of new business models

Computable business ecosystem

Transformation Process

Rapid "double loop" transformation

  • Permanent prototyping
  • Rapid iteration and experimentation
  • Continuous enterprise learning


Adaptive, transformative mindset

  • Continuous personal learning
  • Data-driven decisions
  • Computational thinking


Avoid technical debt

  • Continuously evolve architecture, systems and tools
  • Continuously evolve development and delivery practices

We transform enterprises.

Intelligently and systematically.

Since 1997.

We help our clients to explore, re-design and transform entire business ecosystems, using our expertise in transformation management, enterprise architecture and enterprise analytics.

transentis consulting

GmbH & Co. KG

Geisbergstraße 9

D-10777 Berlin

+49 30 9203833320

Adaptive Enterprise

By Oliver Grasl

Adaptive Enterprise

Transforming Into An Adaptive Enterprise

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