Saturday, October 13, 2018

Running a “Boundaryless” Digital Organization

The more effortlessly you can optimize the organizational structure, align, integrate, and optimize the important business factors inside an organization, the closer you can accelerate performance and lead changes. 

Today’s digital businesses are nonlinear, volatile, interdependent, and uncertain. Digital blurs the geographical, functional, organizational, and even industrial borders nowadays. It means that organizations today need to be fast and flexible, have less boundary but better abilities for dots connections Tso that the business can adapt to changes effectively and innovate continually. Here are three aspects of running a “boundaryless” digital organization.

Horizontal connectivity: Organizations rely more and more on information and technology nowadays. Organizations, like individuals, need to be in flow to communicate fluently and operate smoothly. Traditional hierarchical lines will phase out and a collective of business functions will emerge working collaboratively to set digital strategy and achieve organizational goals collaboratively. The horizontal connectivity within the organization enables information flow and enforces cross-functional communication. The most effective digital workplace is one where collaboration and sharing are the norms; those multi-disciplinary and cross-functional teams are able to handle all value-adding steps in the whole flow of work and build a unique set of business capabilities. Forward-looking organizations experiment with different types of organizational structures to enforce business alignment, enablement, communication, collaboration, and harmony. The digital organizations are so technology-driven and information-intensive, it’s important to break down silos and overly rigid functional boundaries, design the dynamic business processes to keep information flow, idea flow, and that’s why business flow.

Vertical Permeation: In the industrial age, the overly rigid hierarchy is often the cause of bureaucracy and leads to the stagnation of the business. Delayering becomes a lens through which it is possible to examine and then fix bureaucracy and many other issues. When vertical boundaries are more permeable, it usually streamlines information flow and leads to faster decision making and easier idea access from people anywhere in the organization. An organization can approach the flow zone when the positions in its hierarchy have clear and accountable tasks. Flatter structures will help to speed up organizational response to changing markets. If the structure drives behavior and then the responsibilities could be to reflect on the structure and the behavior. Everyone has a valuable contribution to make at whatever level in the formal hierarchy they happen to be placed, the goal for optimized organizational design is to get the mass collaboration, innovation through less hierarchy. Limited hierarchy works best in a creative environment where the free flow of ideas and their prompt implementation is a key element of success to improve business responsiveness and changeability.

Ecosystem Expansion: The digital organization is an integral business system with processes, policies, culture, work climates, people (employees, customers, partners, etc.) The digital ecosystem is complex and volatile, every system is a subsystem of a larger system and simultaneously, it is always build up by subsystems. Some organizations leverage systems principles to introduce different concepts of hierarchy, in which systems evolve and interlink to create larger systems, within even larger systems, and so on. These systems of systems can forge or alter a myriad of relationships/alliances and make a seamless ecosystem expansion. The “boundaryless” organizations build institutional platforms across the digital ecosystem for evolving customers and business partners and building longer-term business relationships. The whole business ecosystem needs to communicate, negotiate and cooperate with each other to re-invent. Digital organizations can manage information cycle effectively, develop great innovation capacity and problem-solving through seamless ecosystem expansion and harmonization.

Organizations all face fierce competitions and an ambiguous digital environment. The more effortlessly you can optimize the organizational structure, align, integrate, and optimize the important business factors inside an organization, the closer you can accelerate performance and lead changes. Organizations need to be loose to deal with the high business velocity and the riptide of changes. By breaking down silos and overly rigid business boundaries, the digital organization should be able to assess to what extent the business has the capability and capacity to changes and apply the people-centric, holistic and multidisciplinary management approach to run high performance and high mature digital business.


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