Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Take a Rational Approach to Going Digital

Forward-thinking organizations today aim to move into a more advanced stage of digital deployment by tailoring their own unique strength and business maturity. 

Digital disruptions are inevitable, and digital transformation is unstoppable. With “VUCA” digital new normal, the very characteristics of digitalization are hyper-connectivity and interdependence. Digital disruptions are frequent and unstructured. Businesses leaders just have to get used to the new normal, learn how to deal with them smoothly, and take a rational approach with accumulated and iterative steps to going digital proactively?

Trend-prediction: Digital means the exponential growth of information. In a business scope, there are some of the important bits and bytes of information needed to forecast a new market, an emerging technology trend, or a business growth opportunity. The information-based forecasting is crucial to bring both insight and foresight of the business. Organizations can harness the power of data to provide the business with a more fact-based vision of where to aim and how to get there. The digital paradigm arises out of new knowledge, and the emerging trends as the digital shaper reinforce the digital characteristics of the business such as enlightenment and people-centricity. Foresight is also an ongoing conversation. Digital leaders have to keep evolving and gaining new and broader views, discovering unexpected connections between the business and its rich environment, and shape the future together,

Goal-setting: In general, a goal is hard to articulate, as the exercise of goal setting is messy, a goal must comport a vision for a better state. Start by identifying your goals in the organization especially those affected by trends. You want to align functional goals with the strategic goals of the entire company and from there determine the individual unit goals to meet the strategic goals of your division. Make a good alignment between strategy and execution, and have a clear mapping between business objectives and individual goals. Setting and achieving the S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound) goals is the critical step in strategy execution, but do not think it as management mechanism only, ensure having a goal that has the business purpose first, as well as getting people evolved. How do you expect people to implement the “SMART” goals they do not know or they have not participated in formulating or setting? In order to set smart goals, all the people involved in implementing them need to be involved.

Gap analysis: There are nature frictions between different functions of the organization, The reason is that different business functions have evolved digitalization at different paces. It is especially important to make a gap analysis between business and IT. Because Information Technology plays a crucial role in digital transformation, and IT has evolved significantly in all aspects - people, process, technology. It is there to manage a scarce and expensive resource for the business, doing its best to see that the application of IT brings the best business results possible. IT cannot exist without business justification. Thus, to truly bridge the gap, it should take preponderant importance on the coming years to make sustainable IT-business relationship, focusing on business-IT integration rather than an alignment of both is the key to the long-term success of companies.

Skills assessment: People are the most important asset, but often the weakest link in the business. Skill assessment is important to ensure seamless strategy management. Forecasting the skills and roles you need to navigate the changes driven by digital trends. Assess the responsibilities and competencies required to achieve strategic goals, define who you need to have those responsibilities and talent. Forecast knowledge and skills required to ensure you have the right people, in the right place, at the right time, and for the right cost. Digitalization has erased the line between business brand and talent brand, as they are two sides of the same coin now. The emerging digital technologies and social trends shape the future of the workplace as a highly collaborative and flexible working environment, as well as a high-performance digital workforce that demonstrates a variety of skills to deal with ambiguity and uncertainty.

Knowledge update: To quote Peter Drucker: "Knowledge is the most valuable commodity." It couldn’t be truer in the digital era. Digital organizations are information overloading and knowledge abundant, but very few of them are truly running a high-intellectual business. On one hand, the fresh knowledge can be captured from the abundance of information; on the other hand, it doesn’t take long for that knowledge to become a commodity due to the rapid changes. Organizations become more complex than ever, knowledge needs to be facilitated and managed more systematically. Effective information and knowledge management will keep information and knowledge flow smoothly, to ensure right people getting the right information to make right decisions timely, put different pieces of digital jigsaw puzzles in the right places, and help the business make a large leap of achieving the long-term business prosperity.

Organizational restructure: Traditional organizations are often silo-based and strictly hierarchical; digital means flow - information flow, idea flow, and business flow. With rapid change and continuous disruptions, organizations, like individuals, need to be in flow to communicate fluently and operate smoothly. Thus, to break down silos or overly rigid hierarchy, the future of organizational design should streamline flow and achieve autonomy. Any organizational restructure effort should leverage the emerging digital platforms and collaboration tools. The right mixed structure allows the growth mindset and digital culture to bloom so that the business can stretch out in every business dimension for driving the full-fledged digital transformation.

Forward-thinking organizations today aim to move into a more advanced stage of digital deployment by tailoring their own unique strength and business maturity. Trends and models that work best to meet the business goals are needed before new schemes and designs are created and agreed upon across the business. It’s important to take a rational approach from experimenting with digital to going digital and being digital systematically.


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