Thursday, May 17, 2018

Take Interconnected Approach to Drive Digitalization

Each business must explore its own way to bridge the 'gap of opportunity' between where you are and want to become.

The increasing pace of technological advances and exponential growth of information have clearly impacted the nature and scope of opportunity that the business could ever experience and risks the business exposes to. Business leaders have to understand what it means within their organization, but much more importantly, they have to understand the external changing connected business environment as well as the emerging digital ecosystem and take an interconnected approach to drive digitalization proactively.

Deep digital awareness: 
As we all know the only "Certainty" or a "Constant" now is "CHANGE," with accelerated speed and “VUCA” digital new normal. It means that digital leaders must have a greater awareness of business intricacies and systemic value of organizational systems, architectures, structures, processes, technology, people dynamics, resource allocation, supply-demand side variables, market variables, or economies of scale, etc. Digital awareness also means to understand how change capabilities are underpinned by change processes, people, and technology, as well as how much change capacity is really required for the change effort you are kicking off. It indicates that business leaders must learn how to strike a balance between managing complex issues today and be forecasting the uncertain issues of tomorrow; keep the lights on as well as grow and transform business for building long-term competency. Thus, having a learning curve awareness is the prerequisite step before change can take place. Organizations should have a comprehensive digital strategy with the first step to understand the real business problems and gain full awareness of both opportunities and risks. The tough part is trade-offs: The more you can front load and truly define the current state, the easier the journey moves ahead. Be prepared, be flexible, and be insightful, ride learning curve and build change as a dynamic business capability.

Scaled digital collaboration: Compared to industrial silos, the most effective digital workplace is one where collaboration and sharing are the norms. Digital collaboration needs to focus on harnessing cross-functional collaboration through iterative communication, robust processes, and powerful digital platforms. The real power of emerging digital technology comes from the innate appeal of interacting socially and intellectual stimulation that people derive from sharing what they know, expressing opinions, brainstorming new ideas, and learning what others know and think. Digital platforms and technologies enable social behaviors to take place online, endow these interactions with scale, speed and disruptive economics of digital expansion, provide platforms for content creation, distribution, consuming, co-creation and transformation of personal and group communication to the collective problem-solving scenario. Thus, cross-silo or cross-divisional collaboration is an interconnected approach to catalyze change and build dynamic digital competency. For scaling collaboration, some companies have created institutional platforms that focus on building longer-term relationships and enforcing open innovation. Sustaining long-term collaboration allows participants to develop subject knowledge over time and focus more directly on business objectives and digitally enabled innovation and transformation.

Customer-tailored design: Digital is the era of people and option, or simply put, "personalization." It is the age to connect the dots between science and art. Because linear logic or reductionistic management practices perhaps work in the considerably static and silo industrial age; but it has the limitation to solving problems in an increasingly volatile, uncertain, and complex digital business world. The emerging design thinking addresses this in the nonlinear way that is more in keeping with the pace of change and technology disruption and provides a counterpoint to the classic management practices. It helps to think of problem-solving as being on a continuum with analytical, traditional business-thinking on one end, and Design Thinking on the other end. Highly effective digital leaders know this and balance their organizations with both. Design thinking is not a process, it is a collection of methodologies. It is an orientation towards life-powered by an ever-evolving collection of methodologies. The "methodologies" being put into the design thinking bucket are somewhat unique and previously outside of the business norm, but have the potential to reframe the problem which in itself is the significant contribution to innovative problem-solving. Rather than focus on one method, as a team with broad expertise across a range of disciplines, there are choices of tools or methods appropriate for the challenge, and customizing tools and methods for the challenge will always yield a more desirable outcome. You don't do certain things in a certain order; you just look at things from a non-business-standard point of view until the form emerges, and engaging in varying conversations, with the goal to solving problems creatively, or seeing things systemically. It provides impressive advantages in terms of the speed of delivering the solutions, as well as ease of understanding and usage by customers.

There is no magic formula to build a high mature digital organization. Each business must explore its own way to bridge the 'gap of opportunity' between where you are and want to become. It is important to take an interconnected approach, build the digital workforce and workplace that change is encouraged, creativity is inspired, and the soft forces to changes are fine-tuned to make the change as the new normal and digital journey enjoyable.


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