Monday, June 9, 2014

Five-Dimensional Digital Transformation

Digital is a multi-dimensional journey!

Digitalization is not a single dimensional effort to using the cool digital technologies, but a multi-dimensional pursuit to embed digital into the very fabric of the business. To stay competitive, companies must go beyond experimenting with digital and commit to transforming themselves into a fully digital business powerhouse. There is five-dimensional maturity in differentiating digital winner and laggard.

  • Differentiation from strategic dimension: The strategic differentiation is the key step in such radical transformation. A coherent company has a deliberately close alignment among the company’s strategic direction, its most distinctive capabilities, and most or all of its products and services. However, there’s dichotomy that often exists between vision and "doing". Strategies need to be first and foremost long-term, specifically because they are directional and need to allow for the organization to knock the rust off and move coherently in the described direction. Secondly, strategies need to be descriptive, but prescriptive as well. Because they outline the areas where possible conflicting priorities may lie and outline how they are able to be handled in the organization in terms of resource allocation such as time, budget, people, etc. Thirdly, the differentiated strategies need to be game changers. They cannot be a cornucopia of more of the same to keep the engine running just a little faster. The have to show that the organization is "playing to win"; not just trying not to lose. Without this, they will never have resounding buy-in at the middle and bottom of the organization where execution really lives, and thus, conflict of priorities and silos will continue to hinder progress.
-Strategic differentiation occurs when all parts of the choir sing their respective parts in harmony to achieve a higher purpose and make a unique impact, the music as a symphony of voice.  
-Strategic alignment occurs on multiple levels, but it presupposes the ability of each link to articulate their strategic intent. If strategic intent can be understood, both within and without the organization, the alignment process becomes an analytical 'e-harmony' process where the actual configuration of the organization's strategy is a consequence of design and implementation strategies.

  • Dynamic capability from execution dimension: Enterprise capability management, in essence, consists of a portfolio or matrix of capabilities that are used in various combinations to achieve outcomes. Within that portfolio, a capability will be transient unless managed and maintained over time. Therefore, a typical capability lifecycle spans need, requirements, acquisition, in-service, obsolescence, and disposal. Capability gap is the lack of a capability. A capacity gap is a lack of 'the resources' needed by the processes which operationalize a capability to do a given amount of work.  Large groups can interact and be able to divide and conquer a complex challenge to accelerate the solution in forming capabilities and capacities if done right, the most important thing when it comes to implementing strategy is to gain the buy-in or  understanding of those who will be affected by it, and cognizant of interconnected digital business ecosystem as well. The dynamic digital organizations need to get away from letting things fall through and start creating “integrated wholes” by utilizing the following correct processes to solve these complexities, ultimately bridging the chasm between strategy and execution.
-Ability to collaborate with their business counterparts        
-Understanding of end customer expectations and experience         
-Organizational structure (hierarchy, existing roles and skill sets)     
-Technical abilities in social, mobile, analytics or cloud        
-Agility to move quickly, adapt and change course

  • Organizational democracy from structure dimension: Organization design is the vehicle through which business strategy is executed and defines the environment in which the talent can unleash the potential. Organizational democracy will begin to become the emergent model; that openness needs to become a leadership competency; that democratic processes will overtake hierarchical control; and that culture of innovation will become a more fundamental organizational asset. In industrial business reality, functional silos are generally constant barriers to business advancement or maturity. More often, organizations are too siloed to be able to relate coherently as a holistic business to the customer's journey. It will take a lot of leadership for the digital pioneers who want to bridge the chasm, to find new ways to hasten their collective best thinking efforts. There is no doubt that the chasm between strategy and execution is very complex in nature. It’s never a question of if these problems will happen, it’s a question of when and to what degree. The best way to remove these silos and problematic hand-offs are to replace them with a many-to-many infrastructure. Hierarchical structures will transcend into 'network structures'. It’s all about engaging specialized talent so they can converse in ways they wouldn’t be able to on their own. This process should be intensive and highly effective, enabling an organization to get all the right people in tackling a challenge from all the right angles all at once, which in turn results in the optimal solution. From customer engagement perspective, creating good content and its distribution to the right personas, at the right time is exposing most businesses to huge areas of potential improvement in their customer engagement thinking. There's no easy panacea for organizational democracy. A 'whole systems ' approach will transcend into an 'interconnected systems ' approach:
- An integration of across national and international business, social and political systems.
-A greater awareness of the intricacies and the systemic value of organizational systems, processes, people dynamics, technology, resource allocation, supply side variables, market variables, economies of scale, etc.

  • Diversification from management dimension: Diversity in thought’ is the gold nugget to be found in embracing diversity at the digital era. Especially, at the command-control industrial era, when conformity to expectations is very highly valued, and independent thinkers are seen, by default, as trouble makers. Because at traditional settings, when the human mind perceives the thought differences, an unconscious signal goes off that often sets the mind into a defensive mode of self-protection. If one’s unconscious mind is in self-protect mode, then respect for differences will not automatically occur. As mindsets are deeply embedded in the ways of thinking with assumptions and biases that pervade an organization. They’re rarely reexamined, even when new or contradictory information comes to light. Digital now opens the new window to see through the complexity from the different angle, based on the latest social collaboration tools and technology maturity, optimistically, the digital nature of hyper-connectivity and cross-boundary collaboration can stimulate the next level of ‘diversity in thought’. 
-The real power of social technology comes from the innate appeal of interacting socially and intellectual stimulation that people derive from sharing what they know, expressing opinions and learning what others know and think.
- Social technologies enable social behaviors to take place online, endowing these interactions with scale, speed and disruptive economics of the internet; provide platforms for content creation, distribution, consuming, co-creation and transformation of personal and group communication into content.
-For scaling collaboration, some companies have created institutional platforms that focus on building longer-term relationships. Sustaining long-term collaboration allows participants to develop subject knowledge over time and focus more directly on business objectives to digital business strategy and digitally enabled innovation and transformation.  

  • Design from customer experience dimension: Digital is the age of customers. Explicitly consider user and customer experience and interaction design as a first class citizen. Customer experience (CX) is the sum of all experiences a customer has with a supplier of goods or services, over the duration of their relationship with that supplier. This can include awareness, discovery, attraction, interaction, purchase, use, cultivation and advocacy. It can also be used to mean an individual experience over one transaction; User Experience (UX) involves a person's behaviors, attitudes, and emotions about using a particular product, system or service. User experience includes the practical, experiential, affective, meaningful and valuable aspects of human-computer interaction and product ownership (Wikipedia). The distinction is usually clear in context: In every process, you have to think about how to support executors with the right tools and facilities to enable them to make the process perform. That's not only screens in process management but also the availability of information, the possibility to ask for help, back up by colleagues etc, together with the business process modeling. Actual real life usage of a system will highlight areas where process design best practices and usability may work against one another. Thus:
-Budgeting for an iterative development model will ensure that the users are not stuck with the first pretty wire-frame that was put into code.
-The second has to be with the user interfaces that are easy to use. Appropriate model transformations and quick prototyping facilities grant that business-level designs are always aligned with user interaction designs that implement them.
-This grants impressive advantages in terms of the speed of delivering the solutions, as well as ease of understanding and usage by customers.  

At high maturity level, organizations have to stretch out in every business dimension for driving the full-fledged digital transformation, in order to adapt to the new world of business: Fast, always “on,” highly connected and ultra-competitive.



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