Saturday, February 6, 2016

Digital Master Tuning #128: Three Aspects of Managing Digital Business Continuum

Digital is the continuum with speed, always “on,” and highly connected.

The effects of an increasingly digitalized world are now reaching into every corner of businesses and every aspect of organizations. Business agility is imperative to meet the demands of rapidly evolving digital consumer behaviors and dynamic business ecosystem. Therefore, digital leaders need to more proactively rethink the art and science of business management, from learning to doing, from design  to delivery, from talent management to customer satisfaction; here are three aspects of managing such a digital continuum.

Continuous learning and training: Though information is only clicks away, knowledge can now be outdated shortly. Hence continuous learning and training become more important in the digital era. Education, either formal or informal, is the means to the end, not the end itself. Informal learning at the corporate level starts to be more accessible to employees. The forms of informal learning take place in some of the most progressive organizations that support talent development. Shift the focus from formal learning and look more to placing structure around the informal learning. It doesn’t mean the formal learning programs are not worth pursuing, just that the greater value-add training is probably in other areas and can be taken with flexibility. Informal learning is on the rise with the increase of social collaboration tools. The emergence of social platforms provides the new way to learn, share and collaborate via direct applications at the corporate level. Continuous learning needs to become a lifestyle, not only a job requirement, And a quality education, regardless of styles, should open, not close one’s mind, helps receivers to inspire thinking, recognize opportunities, update knowledges, and build capabilities and skills.

Continuous Performance Management: Today’s digital employees are multi-generational, multi-cultural, and multi-devicing, they leverage the latest digital tools to work anytime and anywhere. Today’s employees also value different things compared to previous generations of workers. Therefore, talent management as a business critical process needs to be agile in adapt to the accelerated change facing in organizations. The traditional performance management based on more static processes and an annual review is no longer efficient enough to improve employee engagement and mapping staff performance with more dynamic strategy-execution continuum. How about real-time appraisals that take place consistently and can be tracked accordingly. The continuous performance management method is to track in monthly basis the performance against the company results. This will not only have a performance and goal review but also guarantee the alignment with corporate goals.  Each objective has milestones that the progress can be tracked by either the employee or manager and recorded in the talent system. Objectives are then rated when they are due in the year. Each objective could even be weighted to assist with an overall year-end rating. The very goal of continuous performance management is to make strategy management more tangible, and trackable for achieving the expectation.

Agile project management with continuous delivery: The philosophy behind Agile is to make continuous improvement to satisfy customers' need. Application development projects need to bring up the most business value, the de facto best practices of managing IT project portfolio need to include such as, only manage business project, not for technology's sake, prioritize the portfolio, and manage full application life cycle in a continuous delivery mode: from App Dev to potential application retirement, with the right methodology, talent and metrics, to catch up with the speed of business change without sacrificing the quality. Agile allows for refinement and evolution of requirements definition over time. Agile development techniques focus on solving the problems that arise because customers’ needs evolve over time. Agile methods exposing the customer to early functionality is a key reason why agile works. It is often the early look at the software that lets customers realize what they want and what is being built is on track or not. The precept that developers should strive to deliver working software early and frequently is so powerful in avoiding cost overruns and delays.

The multidimensional digital transformation provides impressive advantages in terms of the speed of delivering the solutions. Digital transformation is not a one-time project or a stand-alone initiative, it is a continuous journey to adapt to the new world of businesses: Fast, always “on,” highly connected and ultra-competitive.


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