Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Business Drivers For Digital Transformation

Should organizations invest in Digital Transformation? Looking at the drivers should give us an answer. It's a common fear that emerging technologies are just looking to land in the business and get "forced fit"in the organization without the total cost of ownership considered. Let's flip this around and look at the issues that face business and see if there is a "real fit". Here are the top seven business trends that have surfaced as of late.



Uncertainty:

We are in a period of uncertainty. Politics, weather and rumors of wars are enough to shake everyone from a big picture perspective. This means that laws and traditional boundaries can change quickly. Competitors can pop up and dominate with a new business model enabled by technology. We certainly have shifting patterns and contexts. Digital can help with predictive analytics, simulation and cognitive assists. Organizations are can leverage digital in scenario planning successfully and there are emerging case studies to prove it.

Complexity:

Organizations are generally arranged by division of labor creating pools of specialty that speak in their own languages and are driven by their focused goals. This creates the need for meetings and emails flying through the organization trying to solve issues for customers, partners and other departments. On top this dis-function, new products and services are getting more features and options to manage with policies and rules. Digital can help with it's aim to follow customer journeys with processes and collaborations that are driven by customer goals. In addition digital affords better and visible work management and collaborations that can easily support change across the organizational stove pipes. Granted new digital technologies bring their own set of new complexities, but the trade off favors digital.

Increased Need for Speed:

If you snooze, you lose in today's world. This means the speed of response for making changes, creating new products and responding to operational problems is increasing at a very fast rate today. Organizations that can respond quickly with the right answer will win the day. Digital can help because it makes changes quickly because of easy change features that are aimed at low level developers and business pros. In addition, digital promotes composition over creation, but when new code is needed development environments are visually driven. Since signal and event patterns are measured in real time, digital gets to the issues quicker.

Lack of Educated & Skilled Workers:

Even if you don't believe there are enough workers to fill the void, the skill sets are certainly changing to a much higher level than in the past. This means that organizations cherished staffs might have to be augmented. Digital can help by augmenting human skills to enable a nice balanced response of a mixture of human and machine learning / cognition to solve business issues. In addition, digital can respond to the increasing costs of low skilled labor by replacing them with robots.

Transparency Needs:

The need for visibility into processes and their ability to accomplish results in a most compliant manner is only growing exponentially. Organizations are having to balance many compliance programs simultaneously. This is on top of the customer demands for progress of their outcomes. Digital gives fantastic visibility through dashboards and score cards, but through work / process management, compliance can be enforced through process audits and inline rules /constraints.

Reduced Organizational Lifespans:

It is not secret that companies are becoming extinct at a faster rates. Nobody wants to be "uberized" in months nor does an organization want it's edge marginalized slowly. Digital can help create new business models and experiment with them at the maximum, but it can help add advantage over time to stay int the game or even dominate.

Emerging Technical Opportunities: 

By definition, digital is creating a constant flow of new technologies and new technology combinations. The trick is to figure out the risk of each of these technologies and consider them in your organizations tolerance for risk.

Net; Net:

We can debate forever if business drives technology or if technology drives business. I think there is an interplay of both, but I am in the camp of solving high priority business problems with appropriate technology. The issue I wrestle with is timing, priority and getting ahead of the curve instead of chasing it. I think the case is clearly weighted heavily for Digital Transformation, so get ready to invest in digital.