Tuesday, November 12, 2019

The Multitude of Hybrid Digital Management Disciplines

From the business management perspective, hybridity is the digital theme, simplicity and complexity are duel forces of running a high-performance digital business.

We are experiencing a major shift from the industrial machine age with information scarcity to the digital era with knowledge abundance. Traditional top-down linear management style is frequently criticized for its silo, inflexibility, bureaucracy, unresponsiveness, or lack of innovation.

The rate of change has accelerated, indicating that business leaders must learn how to break through the industrial constraints and limitations, bring greater awareness of the intricacies and the systemic value of organizational systems, processes, talent, technology, resource allocation, and economies of scale, etc, apply the multitude of hybrid management disciplines and practices to improve the organizational maturity.

Centralized vs. Distributed Knowledge Management: Knowledge is power, it couldn’t be truer in the digital era. Knowledge as an intangible resource and invaluable asset needs to be managed systematically. Knowledge Management is not just a technological problem or a top down maneuver, but a business and human problem. Look at the organization chart to find out where in the organization the requested expertise might be sitting. It is important to prioritize efforts and take a phased approach to address objectives and identified KM related problems. Part of taking knowledge seriously as a corporate asset involves assigning responsibility for knowledge within the organization Communication and exchange are critical, assigning cost and resources is challenging but necessary for improving KM effectiveness and efficiency.

 It’s the hybrid KM business solution to well balance the two ends - centralization and decentralization for achieving effective KM. Because having too little oversight and too much decentralization leads to lack of any “KM system.” On the other side, if there is too much centralization and inflexibility, and there won’t be room for growth and adoption by users. It is also critical to build a cross-functional decision-making team and establish reasonable and actionable guidelines for evolving the KM infrastructure to address end-user needs, and transform modern businesses from static to dynamic, from efficient to agile and from functioning to delight.

Centralized vs. Distributed IT Management: IT continues to grow in importance to organizations, both operationally and as a competitive advantage. IT cannot architecture itself in isolation. The effectiveness of IT management can be derived best when overall IT organization reflects on how the business is structured for responsibilities and accountabilities of key decision makers.

The effective IT management approach should have the right mix of centralized and decentralized IT services as per business requirements to deliver IT-enable business competency. The advantage of centralizing IT capability include but not limit to more control and standardization, simple IT systems, more vertical organizations, faster to make changes rolling out to all the distributed sites of the firm, more efficient way to manage IT budget, more flexibility to adapt to local changes, better quality, fewer security risks, and higher IT maturity. The advantage of decentralizing IT capability include such as more responsive and ‘customer intimate’ IT capability; better focus on local customer services (region focus vs overall firm focus); less focus on technology and more on business (IT-centric vs business-centric).  From the talent management perspective, it does make sense to assign some IT staff in the business functions or work closely with internal customers for truly understanding business deeply.

Centralized vs. Distributed User Experience Management: Digital is the age of customers. Therefore, UX/CX management is emerging as one of the significant aspects of business strategy management. It would be interesting to experiment on how to structure UX teams to satisfy the strategic goals of UX in their organization and what you have learned in the business process. 

One of the biggest benefits of centralized UX is a focus on planning what areas UX will focus on based on strategic alignment. By default, this brings UX into overall strategic planning conversations with the leadership team and highlights the value they bring to that process. From the organizational structure perspective, If the UX team is decentralized and belongs to the product team, then it is easier to connect the value of UX to the performance of products. 

The key is to take a hybrid approach, to incorporate UX inside an organization successfully, you have to work on different levels, the management has to understand the value to become supportive, the project teams need to understand and be able to work effectively together with the other functions inside the organization. Multidisciplinary collaboration is the key.


From the business management perspective, hybridity is the digital theme, simplicity and complexity are duel forces of running a high-performance digital business. It’s important for digital leaders and managers today for learning to think the systemic wholeness, leverage the hybrid digital management disciplines to balance centralized and distributed business management practices for renewing knowledge and rejuvenating something new into the classic business management, and building an evolving digital organization to ensure the “business as a whole is superior to the sum of pieces.”

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