Thursday, December 26, 2013

Digital Shift: A Hyper-Connected Enterprise

Digital organization Enforces the Dot-Connecting Culture.

Command-and-control came about through the Industrial Revolution with the perspective that everything, including organizations, can be viewed as mechanical in nature. In the "Birth of the Chaotic Age" with explosive information abundance, it makes a very strong case that command-and-control organizations are inherently incapable of handling, processing, managing the sheer volume of information we are faced with. The crucial digital shift is to build a hyper-connected, widely-collaborative and smart organization.

Hyper-connectivity is the key characteristic of digital organization: Connecting the dots, both across and within organizational boundaries has always been a problem. Few organizations have found a way to reward the type of thinking that allows people to connect the dots. Dot connecting is knowledge alignment. There are often lots of people capable of "connecting the dots" but unfortunately, a lack of cultural support for independent thinking and sometimes contrarian positions are often prevalent. In short, it's often risky for people to stick their necks out particularly when they may not have the concrete data to establish certainty. Therefore, the emerging digital organization shall update the old-fashion of stuff:
1) Silos
2) Autocratic management
3) Individualistic cultures
4) Good old bureaucracy (invented when management was invented)
5) A culture that must have winners and losers
6) Fear of litigation and making mistakes generally (human error is no longer a reality, it’s forbidden as accidents and taking responsibility) 

Broad-collaboration across-business ecosystem: An organization is about collaboration. Collaboration through the cloud and social media is already driving changes to enterprise systems to expose them to outside change. While people fight over the correctness and structure internally within organizations, the customers and clients are turning to businesses that give them the control and power to maintain their personal data as the source, though they understand the digital normal is moving away from privacy towards transparency. Being customer-centric is a transcendent digital trait and core of corporate strategy in today’s digital organizations

Use technology to enable integral design and seamless customer experience, rather than use it as a constraint: The cost benefits of maintaining data is in the design of the overall system (people, process, systems) and not the tools. That is why collaboration matters. Organizations need to move away from mantras like "Truth is in the data and data must be in one place" as an excuse for creating barriers, gatekeepers, constraints, and overlords to saying "It is relative, but hey here's the context." As you do need to enable it in the design of the systems, with business goals to optimize business process and enhance the customer experience.

Create business harmony: Collaboration is good, but it’s not an end in itself. Creating a context where people can collaborate where they are empowered and respected and make collective decisions is the essence of information governance. It is the business "harmony." A business organization can only achieve high performance via seamless execution, by taking the collaboration road; the organization will not be blind to underlying organizational challenges. Moreover, such a path should offer a more holistic view, hence, allowing for the review of work design, pay& incentive systems, decision-making structure. And the design of an organization will have a significant impact on how performing and considerate the organization is.

Hyper-connectivity enhances people-centricity. Complexity science & chaos theory, which demonstrate more of a biological model, are still fairly new & have not yet gained widespread acceptance & understanding. Combine that with the fact that most decision-makers grew up in the mechanical/command-and-control perspective & it's no wonder that we're not there yet. But many enterprises are learning to be much more considerate in order to build customer-centric, employee-satisfied, high-performing and sustainable organizations by getting the structure right. And dysfunctional social-political contexts are reprehensible of bad structure, not bad people. Thus, organizational design (structure, which includes policy) must be adaptable, take advantage of the latest digital technology platforms & tools, and provide the space for people to exercise their capabilities.

At a hyper-connected digital organization, business execution, innovation and transformation are fostered via high-degree collaboration, transparency, and business harmony, with the laser focus on business values and people centricity.   


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