Sunday, September 19, 2021


Those organizations that identify and cultivate talented unconventional integrators with interdisciplinary expertise can build high-mature integration portfolios to outperform their competitors, and tend to be more responsive to the business dynamic...

With abundant information, fast-paced changes and frequent disruptions often caused by emerging digital technologies, many of organizations across the vertical industries are running in between - the mix of old and new; the different divisions within an organization are running in silos, each of them has their own set of knowledge, capabilities, subculture, and speed. 

To improve business agility and maturity, businesses need to keep consolidating, integrating, and optimizing by enhancing strategic alignment, cross-boundary communication & collaboration, and multilayer business relationships. The variety of integration is a series of intensive & logical business activities & tasks for strengthening the links of a holistic business system for improving business effectiveness and resilience, ensuring the whole is superior to the sum of the parts.

Information/knowledge integrator: The exponential growth of information brings opportunities for business growth, but also significant risks intimidating its survival when the quality of information is compromised. In business reality today, there are overloaded information or knowledge gaps, siloed processes or inefficient procedures. Information is the processed data, and knowledge is refined information. Information is often available in data; knowledge is often inside the minds of employees/ experts. Information is not static, it is permeating in the entire organization. The border of knowledge domains has a blurred scope, and knowledge is expanded in the continual base. To keep information relevant, accessible, and knowledge updated, an essential role for information/knowledge integrators is the need to connect ideas but also people, having an integral information and knowledge management approach, getting access to knowledge effortlessly, and encourage interdisciplinary knowledge sharing .It’s a seamless integration of people, process and technology for running a holistic information savvy organization.

In practice, there is customer information, business operation information, or the organizational ecosystem relevant information. A holistic perspective can fix the misperception by processing information with efficiency, integrating quality information across business domains, exploring multiple thought processes and integrated opinion, willing to listen to the diverse viewpoints and enhancing a healthy feedback-feedforward cycle smoothly. Information is something that can hinder the achievement of strategic objectives, having it unavailable or compromised. Keep in mind, while information is an ingredient of knowledge; in order to interpret information, you need knowledge. Both information and knowledge are not the same as insight, but they are the foundation to capture insight. In the digital era, we will be confronting a number of high-complex problems which require an integration of different sets of knowledge and digital fluency across multiple disciplines to deal with smoothly. An effective information integration team composed of interdisciplinary experts as insightful “integrators” can help their organization explore information-based business potential to make effective decisions consistently; as well as coach people in organizing their personal knowledge mastery and collectively engaging with others for collaborative and creative problem-solving.

Capability/capacity integrator: In today’s business dynamic, processes/capabilities are fundamental building blocks to achieve operational excellence, create a new business model, and accelerate business performance and growth, to reach the high-level business maturity. There are lots of dependency, redundancy, and disconnectivity in the capability portfolio in many companies that get stuck at the lower level of business maturity. How viable the business is depends on the business's ability to integrate, build, and reconfigure internal and external competences to address rapidly changing environments, build new capability, and achieve innovative forms of competitive advantage given path dependencies and market positions. Thus, integration is a critical step in optimizing business processes/capabilities/capacities for developing a set of differentiated and dynamic organizational competency to ensure seamless strategy execution. Also, companies have limited resources/talent, it’s critical to integrate their business capacity in order to balance business stability and growth, for achieving operational excellence and driving transformative changes.

Many components of business capabilities are common and reusable across the enterprise. Technically, integration is the task of identifying dependencies or interdependencies between varying components, connecting and integrating subsystems so that they can share and consume each other's resources, eliminate redundancy, enable workflows between them as part of a business process value chain, collaborate cross-boundary, develop the dynamic business capabilities interwoven by IT to adapt to changes and improve the business responsiveness and performance. Without clarified architectural perspective and designing/engineering fluency, they might spend significant time and resources on doing integration without achieving expected results, Seamless integration makes it possible to build a set of “loose coupling” business capabilities for shortening the development cycle and saving cost, and execute a dynamic strategy smoothly.

Culture integrator:
Culture is how people think and do things in the organization. A company’s culture helps to define what a company is like, what it means to be part of the organization. Every organization exhibits a culture; the departments within the organization also have a subculture; perhaps there are different subcultures in the diverse geographical locations. You cannot consider culture as one element of the strategy execution unless you can identify the dominant cultures, subcultures, and the layers of those cultures. The corporate culture gets influenced by their community or societal culture as well. Some cultures are positive and constructive to enable effective strategy executions; others are negative in some aspects that stifle changes or innovation. Culture is like the corporate habit; it can be changed, but it takes time and lots of deliberate effort and discipline. Thus, it's a strategic imperative to refine and integrate a variety of culture to ensure its cohesiveness and maturity for leading progressive changes.

The role of culture integrator is to identify what the specific attributes of your organization culture are and how they impact corporate performance. What's the inner layer of culture which reflects the core business value and belief; what are the outer-layers of the culture - the organizational principles/rules printed in their manual; the slogans posted on the way; the decision styles, or the interaction attitude with their customers or variety of stakeholders, occasions/activities, etc. Insightful and interdisciplinary culture integrators with strong expertise in both hard and soft science are in strong demand, to assess culture and subculture objectively by gaining contextual understanding, and channeling the philosophical connection between wholeness and partness. They are able to articulate and share their vision about the ideal culture; identify the gaps between the as-is state and future state of culture. Then, a comprehensive integration roadmap can be developed for integrating parts into the whole, to cultivate the desired culture step-by-step, and eventually lead to cultural change smoothly.

Silo thinking builds the wall in people’s minds and creates barriers to organizational strategy management. Great organizations are supposed to maximize individual and group potential. Integration sounds simple, but in practice, it is extremely complex. Those organizations that identify and cultivate talented unconventional integrators with interdisciplinary expertise can build high-mature integration portfolios to outperform their competitors, and tend to be more responsive to the business dynamic; keep improving their business effectiveness, resilience and speed.


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