Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Three Digital Perspectives of Business Improvement

 The multitude of digital perspectives help business management empower people, enforce iterative communication, and harness cross-functional collaboration to make continuous improvement.

The digital paradigm shift is multidimensional expansion. The process, technology, culture, capability tuning. etc, are all tactics to get the organization from here to there for adapting to the over-complexity and fast-pace of changes.

The digital perspective defines the business level view of the business ecosystem. Perspective is looking at either heads or tails. The secret lies in "imagining" a perspective of the whole coin as you aspire towards truth. With multiple perspectives, you can always gain insight and empathy to see things from the other angle and be creative to figure out alternative solutions.

Every organization needs to drive continual improvement in order to meet their objectives and stay competitive. Here are three perspectives of business improvement.

A business architecture-led perspective: As the digitized business ecosystem becomes hyper-connected, over-complex and interdependent, digital leaders should develop a design framework with multiple architecture or system perspectives. Business Architecture is a structure of its information and processes across the enterprise and within various silos providing an enterprise-wide view of various relationships. The architecture discipline not only embraces models, methods, and theories of management and control; it also brings up multiple perspectives such as systems engineering, linguistics, cognitive science, environmental science, biology, social science etc.

An architect’s perspective must consider the whole, to achieve the strategic goals for the thing being architected. Design a digital organization and proactively plan the total enterprise ecosystem to either make a profit for shareholders or generate prosperity of constituencies. A business architecture-led perspective also helps to look at the problem domain holistically, appreciate many excellent business attributes such as digital readiness, ownership, open communication, information fluidity, IT-business integration, customized structure, and apply the “simplicity and flexibility” principles to solve critical issues and make improvement continuum.

Process-oriented perspective: Enterprise view enables a framework for refining and optimizing processes and information interactions at various levels of an enterprise influenced and informed by enterprise goals and objectives. Digital leaders should have a process-oriented perspective, seize the opportunity to take a fresh look at the processes, evaluate an organizational management approach and how process oriented it is, as well as process design, publication, ownership, improvement etc, against each of the processes in the architecture.

The challenge that many organizations have is how they move from just managing a few processes to managing a portfolio of processes and change the management approach from function to process. The process oriented perspective enables the business management to make continuous improvement such as system optimization, process streamlining, or cost reduction, etc. In fact, there is never “enough” to optimize business operations. In the context of workforce centric processes where a team of knowledge workers are collectively working on achieving shared process goals, and democratic processes will overtake hierarchical control to increase business effectiveness and efficiency.

People-centric perspective: Digital organizations are all about people-centricity, empathy, innovation, agility, and high-level business maturity. One of the key determinants of whether an organization can move to the digital new normal is how well it can engage employees, delight customers and truly understand their people to run a people-centric digital organization. 

People are the very purpose for change, they are often the weakest link in digital transformation as well. Organizational development and people management needs to manage conflicts between classic style and digital style of management. The workplace needs to be designed to help employees at all levels within an organization, understand and develop their creative capacity to solve problems and explore opportunities in innovative ways. People need to be intentional about how they enter the role, focusing on understanding and respecting the relationship, culture, and history. Thus, people-centric perspective is important to capture customer insight and evaluate people and problem objectively.

Digital is the gigantic puzzle with many misplaced pieces, you have to put them all in the right places to discover the true meaning and unleash its full potential. The multitude of digital perspectives help business management empower people, enforce iterative communication, and harness cross-functional collaboration to make continuous improvement, deliver better business results and unleash the full digital potential of the organization.

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