Monday, August 16, 2021

Budgeting Technologies For 2022

 Many of us have to participate in the budgeting process and it usually is not the most pleasant process. Let's take a look at the context for creating our 2022 Tech Budgets. Besides business and organizational trends, the trends in technical spending come into play. Gartner published actual spending trends for technology in July and organizations have an increased spending level of 8.6 % to date. In that same report, Gartner predicted a 5.3% increase in spending for 2022 that is an overall decrease of 3.3%. The big increase is in enterprise software at 11.7 % that is counter to the decrease. The question is what kind of software should organizations be investing in? This post identifies my prediction of the most popular software purchases for 2022. They are in no particular order. Each organization needs to allocate their increase in several of these categories even though there may be some pioneering. 

Results-Oriented Communications (ROC)

With all the emphasis on attaining better business outcomes, innovation, digital transformations, and better resource management, a new category of software has emerged to focus important communications and tie them to actual results stakeholders really want. ROC helps create and maintain a laser focus on results and helps organizations cut out the noise communications. Here are some detailed readings on the topic:

Results-OrientedCommunications Post

Hybrid Work Model Post

Chaotic Communications Post

Costs of Not Having ROC

Management Cockpits/Data Science

A management cockpit allows management to grasp complex situations quickly by integrating all the pertinent data, promoting the collaboration of many individual views of information necessary to make the required decisions as soon as possible, thus taking proper and timely adjustments or actions. It is an integration of crucial perspectives that leverages data science and the latest data. Here are some detailed readings on the topic:

Management Cockpit Definition

Frictionless Management

Real-Time Fastboards

Real-Time Data Mesh/Fabrics

The shackles are off for the next generation of databases, but the challenges are steep. Few organizations have a holistic and pervasive view of where their data is and how to best view and operate on it. The new databases act as meshes that know where the data is and can combine it in various time channels in real-time at best and on short notice at worst. Without really having to know where the data is, business pros can access their specific views for their purposes if the data is housed or in a nearby could infrastructure. Here are some detailed readings on the topic:

Data Mesh Definition

Real-Time/Archival Data Mix

Hybrid Data

Human Augmentation & Skills Leverage

Technology will provide new perspectives on work, particularly from the outside in the new digital experience. In addition, technology will supercharge our skills to a higher level where there are current skills and will allow for the heterogeneity of work even when skills are scarce. The idea of pure specialization will recede as people are assisted with work by leveraging additional intelligence applied in context with hybrid data. Here are some detailed readings on the topic:

Organizational Journeys

Customer Journeys & Tech

Roles & AI

Intelligent Autuomation

Organizations depend on automation to lower costs or provide a funding mechanism for new digital approaches or both. This means that automation moves from mechanically focused speed increases, and reduction of human tasks to smarter and data-informed approaches that leverage process, mining, AI, and bots teamed up with AI-assisted human collaborators. There are many automation streams that are coming together with specialty digital business platforms(DBPs). Here are some detailed readings on the topic:

Automation & AI

Automating with DBPs

Top Digitial Technologies

Net: Net: 

Organizations will have to balance automation with better customer journeys while learning how to master the evolving and emerging digital technologies. It means that budgets will have to be aligned and realigned often as digital moves forward. All this digital activity while business strategies evolve.  Confidence can be gathered from looking both to the past and the expected future in determining the best budgeting now. Here are some detailed readings on the topic:

Digital Transformation

Aligning Strategies

Digital Progressions

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Costs of Not Having Results-Oriented Communications (ROC)

 Let’s stop burning money on poor communications. Identifying the actual costs for not having the best communications aimed at specific outcomes and attaining the goals of anyone organization is an elusive task. However, some irrefutable trends point strongly to higher and growing costs. Let's start with some base studies done within the last decade. One study was aimed at large organizations, and the other was at small to medium organizations.

The Past Base Studies:

In "The Cost of Poor Communications," David Grossman reported that a survey of 400 companies with 100,000 employees or more each cited and an average loss per company of 62.4 million per year because of inadequate communication to and between employees.

In her article "Top Ten Email Blunders that Cost Companies Money," Debra Hamilton asserted that miscommunication cost even smaller companies of 100 employees an average of $420,000 per year.

It’s Much Worse Today:

If these studies were refreshed, I would assert that the numbers are much higher for several reasons. One is that we are moving to distributed responsibilities and matrix-management styles create confusion over day-to-day priorities operationally, longer-term priorities tactically or strategically. To compound this problem, we can communicate faster-automated collaboration and communication tools across various communication channels.

You Haven’t Seen Anything Yet:

The future of work is hybrid, adding another level of complexity and opportunity for misunderstanding with a potentially new crisis of confidence for the workers at the edge. Recently, Gartner says “By the end of 2021, remote workers will represent 32% of all employees worldwide, impacting how and where remote workers use IT.”   Our employees want and can demand these new freedom levels, and organizations need to get that talent is now hybrid. Unfortunately, this opens us to a more extreme lack of focus and losing perspective on purpose. It also does not optimize innovation; therefore, the credibility of the organization and individuals wanes.

What’s at Stake?

Besides just time and productivity loss because of chaotic communications, project failures have and will continue to be. These, in turn, result in the following:

·        Poor customer service and dissatisfied customers

·        High-stress levels and low employee morale, which can additionally affect productivity and deliverables

·        Higher than average employee turnover rates

·        Loss of company/organizational credibility

·        A decline in sales and stock value

If this list doesn’t get your attention as a business professional, I don’t know what will.

 What Do We Do About It?

Companies with leaders who are highly effective communicators had 47% higher total returns to shareholders over the past five years than firms with leaders who are the least effective communicators.

·        Stop making excuses and commit to getting better.

·        Get a mirror and allocate time and resources to deliver messages through expected results, outcomes, and goals.

·        Leverage methods and technology that deliver results-oriented communications

·        Be persistent and consistent but consider the audience

·        Actively listen and walk the talk

A key to all the above is attitude and the new systems, tools, and processes needed to communicate effectively with teams. Many managers mistake repeating communications fast down multiple communication channels to bathe the employees with more communications hoping they get the intent. Having a communications infrastructure and tools that link every communication with desired results at the stakeholder is a minimum. If all results, goals, and outcomes are documented and shared in a typical data resource that can be pulled into efforts in a real-time fashion, the results will be better. Every time something changes, all interested parties are notified within result/goal/ outcome contexts. We need to embrace results-oriented communications intentions, infrastructure, and tools to deliver a better communications culture over time.

Net; Net:

These few facts represented here are the tip of the iceberg on the breadth and depths of research that has and will demonstrate financial rewards for businesses that communicate well to their employees and the problems that result when they don’t. Switching to a results-oriented communications culture is essential. It doesn't matter if an organization is scared about the present wasteful costs or enticed by higher monetary returns or both; we are now in the world of hybrid work enabled by ROC. It's time to take of the fight against "random tasks."

Additional Reading:

Results-OrientedCommunications Post

Hybrid Work Model Post

Chaotic Communications Post

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Coping with Communications in Chaos

 The amount of confusion and disorder around communications is just growing by the second in the real world. Conservative numbers say we waste over 30% of our effort just dealing with communication issues. Aggressive numbers say that 60% of work is about the work, not the work itself. Much of this work about work is communications. Chaotic communications are a massive drag on productivity. It only gets compounded in organizations changing to meet their changing customer needs and demands for better services and products—all of this while having to produce bigger and better outcomes often measured in profitability. Let’s explore the problems that we all have with chaotic communications and what are the best coping mechanisms going forward.

Dealing with Noise Communications

We get so many communications simultaneously that it is overbearing. Sure we can make rules to put unique touches in our respective spam files/folders, but the influx of contacts is just overwhelming. We need to turn down the noise level by prioritizing communications. Often the coping mechanism is political and topic-based. Unfortunately, this is barely a minimum.

 Grappling with Multiple Roles

Most roles have multiple and many reporting responsibilities, both solid and dotted lines. Many times people are playing various roles, thus adding another dimension to deal with daily. Sometimes the role is a crucial contributor, and sometimes the role is a manager who is responsible for the contribution of others. Each role over time requires a shifting set of emerging priorities which changes which communications are the most important at any given moment.

Keeping Pace with Expected Results.

Because there are so many communications and roles to associate them with, it is hard to keep pace with efforts. Everyone expects all players "to be up on the latest developments", so we find ourselves scrambling to be pertinent to actions and their highly desired results. Speed is increasing, not decreasing, so this is a tiring effort filled with stress.

I'm sure we all can identify with these problems and more, but the big question is, "What are we going to do about it?" We can do several things besides getting "Sick of Slack" and getting "Tired of Teams." So here are some coping mechanisms.

Simplifying Communications

Instead of showing people how much we know or how important we are by droning on with detail, try summarizing and netting things out. It needs to be done carefully not to offend others but still speed up the communication process. It means that we each become "good citizens of communications".  Let others ask for the detail.

Linking Communications to Results

The very best way to prioritize communications is to link them to desired results. If the touches don't deliver results, they become noise and should be set aside or ignored. It requires a simple discipline of prioritizing results and link only essential documents to them.  It will require a new kind of tool that focuses on results, not just to speed up noise communications that we often see in modern collaboration tools.

Proactively Leveraging Shared Content

Often we have to scramble to find all the communications associated with the following activity about to hit us. Imagine all the content saved on a  shared repository organized by results. It will cut the preparation time and link all the key participants to the latest content. Care must be taken not to collect too much stuff and name the content in obvious ways. The best content will float to the top by results pulling content there.

Net; Net:

It's time to focus on the organizational drag that chaotic communications are costing organizations dearly. The digital overload is real and climbing. There continues to be a significant increase in digital meetings, chats, emails, and document reviews. The preparation time it takes to be up to date to contribute is overwhelming and is often done in a reactive mode. Something has to change and will when communications are tied to results. The significant results and their focused activities must be supported by shared and up to the second content in various forms and formats. It’s time to turn chaos to order. It will put passion back into hybrid work and take the struggle out of communications.


Additional Reading:

Results-OrientedCommunications Post

Hybrid Work Model Post