What does “Future State” mean, and why is it important?
The broader vision for the organization ultimately translates to the company’s future state. It’s where you want to be in terms of the constantly changing nature of technology and how it relates to your current business. Without a clear future state, a business will frequently lack direction, making it difficult to make critical decisions, generating management misalignment, and ultimately impeding the advancement and growth of the organization’s mission.
To identify and achieve their future state, a company will go through a series of process mapping activities that look at both their current state and what it will look like in the future. Let’s get into the specifics of defining and achieving your company’s future state.
It takes team effort to define your future state and develop a strategy for getting there. Get a leg up on the competition by bringing together members of your team from other departments. Hold a meeting or workshop with an expert facilitator to assist them lay out the steps needed to get to your future state.
This facilitator can assist you in documenting your current situation and identifying the pain areas and challenges that are preventing you from moving forward. They know how to ask the appropriate questions to get to the heart of the matter and lead your cross-functional team in the right direction.
Consult with your colleagues
If a co-worker opposes a particular course of action, it’s most usually due to a lack of participation on the back end. Although you won’t be able to completely eradicate resistance as you progress to your future state, bringing in and engaging the individuals who are executing the processes cross-functionally can help reduce resistance.
Building a business case for your strategy, especially one that is data-driven, will aid in reaching general agreement within your larger team. Quantify particular benefits and growth potential and tie them to the company’s aims to build a solid case. Always keep in mind that appropriate organizational change management is where it all begins and finishes. More than just communication and training, it’s about determining the effects of upcoming changes and determining ways to easily handle those consequences for each person.
Choose the Right Approach
You could perform a blanket duplicate of another organization’s best practises, but that’s risky. Knowing your organization and knowing what to look for are essential for determining the best approach for your company. If you start with a blanket copy of someone else’s best practises, you may miss out on the elements that make your company different and unique, causing you to lose out on your company’s competitive advantage. If you choose that path, make sure it’s well-planned. Instead, consider duplicating only a few processes, deciding which ones are most important to your company, and tweaking them to match your specific requirements.
Highlight Your Specialties
Work on knowing who you are as a company and what makes you unique, then expand on that. Work with the members of your team who are knowledgeable about the processes that set you apart from your competition. Sure, everyone’s business is different in some ways, but there are a lot of untapped similarities.
Identifying the areas of your business where you are unique begins with a strategic discussion with your leaders and executives about where you are in the market, what your competitors are doing, and what your customers are thinking. Understanding why your consumers seek you out and why they stay with you is a very important piece of customer feedback.
Create a Process Map
Depending on the organization, the process map may differ. It is beneficial to have a map of some level of depth for reference, one that people can track and refer to in their daily operations, regardless of the business. Some companies may need to go farther into determining their phases, while others may find that just having a framework is enough to have everyone on the same page.
In either case, a process map will assist you in identifying areas for improvement and strategies to change the way you do business, which could range from changing the way you communicate to reorganizing teams to pursuing technological opportunities. A process map might bring you to a halt in the middle of your digital transformation project and force you to reconsider your strategy. It may cause you to reconsider how you prioritize processes and assist you in defining the best-fit software during your software selection process.
Why is it important?
Technology advances at a tremendous speed. Your future state is approaching faster than you think. Businesses are being forced to adjust their procedures, and it’s now or never for them to adapt. You get the chance to examine the shifting landscapes in your industry and forecast what the future may hold. Now is the time to get a handle on your procedures and make sure they’re flexible enough to adjust as changes undoubtedly occur.
Change surrounds us, and you can either let it dominate you or be able to respond to it effectively and therefore control it. By staying on top of your processes and re-evaluating them on a regular basis, you’ll be able to respond to changes more swiftly and in a way that isn’t purely reactive. It’s all about constant progress, and you’ll need to develop a discipline that you can stick to over time. It is critical to define your future state in order to be timely, competitive, and keep your business alive.
For transformational success, define future state capabilities
The problems of adopting technology transformation include short-termism and a compartmentalized approach. If these issues aren’t addressed, it’s possible that a tactical improvement focus will be placed on business owners with larger portfolios but lower future business value. What can businesses do to guarantee that essential capabilities are prioritized and aligned with intended business outcomes?
Following the definition of the current state, it’s critical to begin with a clear picture of the desired future state’s organizational capabilities and the commercial benefits they can give.
It is possible to innovate with core capabilities while standardizing enabling capabilities by focusing on concerns that the organization cares about and capabilities that are important to the business. Many organizations take a compartmentalized approach to capability development, focusing on tactical enhancements for a short-term gain. With a wider portfolio, business owners can attract more attention while offering less commercial value. To mitigate this risk, align business benefits with value driver uplift for each of the required organizational core competencies. The value chain or the customer journey can be used to align value drivers with desired core capabilities.
Best Practice Tips
Get a clear picture of your organization’s desired future state capabilities
Map the targeted future state core competencies of the organization across the four components of people, process, technology, and assets. To map out the gap between the current state and the future state maturity level requirements across the four components, first understand each capability and its future state maturity level requirements. Concentrate on quantifiable value drivers such as increased revenue, lower operational costs, and greater asset efficiency. Establish early information goals to aid in the delivery of fundamental capabilities.
Align a business benefit to each capability uplift
Understand the advantages of each key competency enhancement and how they relate to the company’s strategic goals. Determine the size and reachability of the tangible and intangible advantages that can be gained by strengthening each competency. Assign a single company owner who is responsible for delivering the identified benefits and has decision-making authority over each capacity. Establish a continuous improvement and long-term strategy for the intended future organizational capabilities, with the executive monitoring the delivery and benefits on a regular basis.
Align architecture & centralised process management to the business value chain
For flexibility and agility, align process design and technology architecture with desired core business capabilities. To maximize reuse, centralize business process management capabilities. To simplify processes and data complexity, eliminate siloed views. Define data and information architecture to master fundamental entities in a single location and centralize business processes to promote frontline agility.
What is future state design?
Any strategy or transformation program should start with two important questions: ‘What are we aiming for?’ and ‘How are we going to get there?’
The strategy is the ‘How are we going to get there?’ part: a purpose-built structure for the organization, with a defined goal, a set of operational principles, significant transformations, roadmaps, and so on.
In theory, the question “What are we aiming for?” is part of that plan. It’s a means of describing what the company aspires to be so that everyone understands where they’re going and why.
All pretty easy, except that, in the past, that second question has been addressed with a succession of extremely intangible models, accompanied by comments like “a data-driven business,” “decentralized operations,” and “connected to our customers.”
They can be useful business principles, but they don’t truly answer the question of what that future business would be able to provide its consumers, or what it might be like to be a part of it. The ambiguity also makes it difficult to make significant strategic decisions, such as deciding where the gaps between today’s business and its future self should be filled or where key investments should be made.
Future-state design tries to fill that hole by combining a variety of research, business thinking, and design methodologies to create a tangible image of what the business of the future should be. Consider it like building a prototype of a new product that everyone can touch and feel so they can understand what they’re working on.
The magic components in future state design are customers and services.
Building a tangible vision of the future state is critical to the entire process, and in order to do so, you must abandon current practises and conceive what a future generation of services could do.
Beyond broad-brush assertions about culture and behavior, it’s quite difficult for members of any established firm to consider what the future company should be. When you ask them how the company could connect with its customers (or any other commercial partners), a whole new set of possibilities emerges.
With facilitation, and some stimulus material to help them think without current constraints, most people can put themselves in the place of a customer and imagine what a new approach or radical alternative might be. By feeding in broad market perspectives, real customer insights and experiences from other sectors — and dismantling ‘why we can’t do that’ mindsets — teams frequently shape genuinely innovative approaches and describe customer experiences that would transform their company.
The spine of any future state experience for any corporation hoping to construct a future in the digital economy is, of course, digital.
Everyone involved can tangibly see what they’re striving for once that future state experience is in good form (answering the question “what are we aiming for?”). From today, we may start analyzing the gaps and identifying new capabilities and efforts that will be necessary to close them. New technologies, as well as a new organizational architecture or operating model, could be examples.
By putting customers first and picturing what their service experience should be like in the future, an organizational strategy can be created with a clear aim in mind.
It doesn’t matter what your future state is if you can’t attain it.
While the ultimate goal of future state design is to avoid creating an organization that is built for the past, it’s also critical not to imagine something that is impossible.
Future state design is not a futures discipline for the vast majority of companies. It’s not about picturing distant theoretical or extremely speculative situations, nor is it about prospective utopian and apocalyptic visions. It’s a delicate balancing act between the practical and the aspirational.
People quickly lose interest in a far-future, hypothetical vision because they can’t make meaningful progress toward it. It’s critical to envision a future that’s within reach — one that the entire company can realistically imagine achieving — because while a far-future, hypothetical vision might appear compelling and exciting at first, people quickly become bored. Its inaccessibility renders it meaningless, and everyone returns their attention to the present.
For future state design exercises, we normally choose a three-to-five-year horizon, and the results never include anything that requires a breakthrough idea to make it conceivable. This may appear unambitious, but it works because, unless you’re building a new railway or sending people to Mars, most organizations can undergo a significant transition in that timeframe, and most individuals can commit to this as a goal.
Anyone who has lived through the last 20 years knows that a lot can happen in three to five years, therefore the future state vision that is created should never be viewed as a how-to manual. It’s a method of constructing a solid vision of future goal, not a detailed description of what it will be like when you get there.
When should you use future state design techniques?
Future-state design is a process employed frequently during organizational transformation and digital strategy programs to assist an organization break free from its existing operational perspective. Let’s go over the three main advantages again:
It presents a compelling future picture that anybody can grasp and rally for.
It gives a ‘to’ in a ‘from-to’ and allows for the definition of critical transformations.
It allows for more creative thinking about where a company or service should go by removing current-state limits.
As a result, it’s especially useful when your company is stuck in a rut or has to rethink how to succeed in the digital economy. It can also be used to rethink a single service rather than an entire business, which is especially useful when that service is a substantial source of revenue for the company and is vulnerable to disruption.
It’s crucial to note that it’s just as useful for organizations that are succeeding as it is for those who are struggling. In reality, many of the organizations that are in desperate need of a major overhaul appear to be doing well on paper because they’ve stuck to their guns and squeezed every ounce of efficiency out of the machine. Their continuous profitability conceals long-term underinvestment in the future and a high vulnerability to disruption by more forward-thinking competitors.
Developing a strategy to realise your future state vision
You articulate a design target by imagining the type of company you can become; a tangible vision that you can use to enlighten and engage your business, as well as energize teams toward a common goal.
It is important not to overlook the importance of conveying this idea. Every time we perform a future state design exercise, we end up with a vision of the future that is far more compelling than anyone expected. It puts an end to incrementalism and brings everyone together in support of the type of step-change corporate innovation required in the digital economy.
A vision of the future state is only beneficial if you can really get there.
Of course, there’s a long way to go in order to accomplish a version of that future state vision, which is where strategy comes in. We discussed current-state analysis and why it’s important in the previous workshop: essentially, it defines the ‘from’ in a ‘from-to,’ where the ‘to’ is the future state vision.
The purpose of strategy in this situation is to bridge the gap between the two states and achieve the business’ step-change. This is referred to as a “transformation strategy.”
A well-developed transformation strategy explains how to transition from today’s business to tomorrow’s business without making the future state vision a fixed point at the end of the plan (you should have improved on components of that future vision by the time you get there!). It lays out a set of concepts, guidelines, and activities that the organization can use to implement a master plan.
Modern strategy, as we’ve previously discussed, is more of a language than a plan, uniting everyone under a similar goal and vision, as well as principles and organizational behaviors. However, in order to make rapid progress toward your future state — to transform — you’ll need a variety of instruments to ensure that everyone is pulling in the same direction.
An effective transformation strategy brings all of the company’s activities together.
Here are some of the basic components that are designed in almost every transformation plan, while they differ from client to client.
Restating the organization’s purpose in a fresh way, when necessary, can be quite beneficial, especially if the business couldn’t communicate it properly in the first place or hadn’t done so before. Your purpose is the infinite arc that connects everything you stand for and do as a company.
In theory, you can never ‘accomplish’ your goal. For example, at Wilson Fletcher, they write theirs as “we exist to help established organizations realize their full potential in the digital economy,” and while they’ve changed the wording a few times over the years, it’s essentially what was above the door on day one, and will be for as long as they’re in business.
It is worth noting that while purpose doesn’t have to be ‘worthy’ (few businesses can exist simply for direct social or planetary good), it does have to be ‘worthwhile’ if you want to utilize it to lead and unite your team.
If your purpose is why you exist, then your vision is what you’re aiming for. It’s a goal that can be achieved. Of course, vision statements are commonly stated at an organizational level, but many individuals find that when they are articulated for key groups or markets, they are very impactful.
Consider the case of revamping a sports team. You may write a vision statement for fans (e.g., ‘our fans everywhere will always feel like they are a part of our club, closely connected to us through digital services that enrich every aspect of their matchday — and everyday — experience with NGFC’). You may also create one for commercial partners, players, and training staff (‘with state-of-the-art performance intelligence, analysis tools, and networked facilities, our training teams will be able to give world-class player coaching and development.’).
These phrases aid in focusing on a variety of levels, from where to invest to how to prioritize. They also play a critical role in energizing those groups by communicating the organization’s goals for their experience, especially when (as they should be) some of those people were involved in the future state design process.
Target customer models
Target customers are best described in a transformation strategy in their future state form, which is always nuanced.
In a transformation strategy, we normally avoid going into too much depth about customers because customers should be ‘pulled in’ to play a continual role in the organization’s evolution, fast rendering specific personas or detailed archetypes obsolete. Customers are living design topics and should be included in the design process.
However, it is important to capture the characteristics of the organization’s future customers in a high-level model that outlines how they may differ from current customers, what characteristics may open up future opportunities, and what emerging behaviors and influences have influenced the future state vision.
Future-state experience visualisations
We always visualize the future state experience in some form, even though it is never the same. Nothing surpasses being able to ‘see’ what the plan could mean in practice for the company.
These can range from a set of idea images on one end to extensive future state journey maps, rich animatics, and vision videos on the other. They are storytelling devices, not prototypes, whose purpose is to present an example, or a series of examples, of what life will be like when the company achieves its vision for the future state. Favored media include posters and movies, but they can also take on a variety of other interactive forms.
They must never be a ‘business diagram’ or a chart: they must be presented in a way that every person in the company can comprehend and engage with, providing them a glimpse into the future on which they will all be working. They must be compelling and self-explanatory in order to bring the vision to life.
These represent a sequence of significant organizational adjustments that will be necessary to attain the future state vision. A large number of themes can be identified, ranging from broad organizational attitudes to specific operational activities.
Devised below is a structure for them that is proven to be consistently effective:
From > To: What needs to be altered.
Imperative: Why it needs to be altered.
Implications: Likely impacts on the company or key considerations involved in making it happen.
Key benefits: What will be the advantages of doing so?
Key initiatives: What ‘projects’ must be carried out to make it happen?
The set of significant transformations you come up with will define the number of ‘projects’ or initiatives that must be carried out. These will be crucial in creating a roadmap. They are one of the most significant components of a transformation strategy since they may be built out to assign duties, finances, and more.
These are the functional areas in which the organization must develop or gain expertise in order to accomplish the future state vision.
They vary greatly depending on the nature of the organization and the type of change required, but they frequently contain new core business models, critical technical capabilities, and services required to realize the vision.
As part of a transformation strategy, we usually intend to establish experience and service principles. These are the yin and yang of a modern organization built on digital services that unify consumer and commercial decision-making in a unified framework.
The concept of experience principles are totally centered on ‘clients,’ in whatever form they present themselves to that organization. They’re completely outside-in. They’re defined and explained so that all future customer-facing experiences are designed and delivered to the same high standards, and crucial choices are always made with the consumer in mind.
From the standpoint of the organization, service principles are their complementary twin. These are made entirely from the inside out. They define how the business should make service design and delivery decisions in order to achieve future state goals and commercial success. They are at the heart of every choice made on how the company creates ‘systems’ (both technological and human) that can adapt to new client opportunities.
Most companies undergoing transformations must change their thinking, behavior, and procedures to become “more digital.” As a result, future performance measures are expected to become more comprehensive and customer-centric than in the past.
By requiring diverse but complementary lenses to be applied to the business’s performance, the odds of making the right decisions along the path to achieving them are increased.
A roadmap is an important product of a transformation strategy: it is the overall plan for realizing the future state vision, combining vision, capability development, and initiatives into a single, cohesive plan that the company can plan, fund, and execute against.
A good roadmap should, in general, outline activity periods. While good product roadmaps generally employ a basic ‘now/next/later’ approach, it’s more acceptable to layout phases with major targets against them at an organizational level. This is acceptable because these phases will commonly overlap.
Developing more specific, actionable plans that layout the range of initiatives required on a prioritized timeline is favored. While we would never advocate executing against a Gantt-like plan, providing a roadmap view like this alongside the phased method helps in two ways: it allows everyone to see how intensive the transformation will be, and it makes it simpler for priority streams of work to get started right away.
Without the clear strategy, you will not be able to reach your desired future state.
If you don’t proactively step out of today to envision what your future can look like, any strategy you develop will inevitably have far less potential to deliver the outcomes you hope for.
You may take steps forward without a picture of your future state, but you will never jump ahead. Create a compelling future state and a solid transformation strategy to get there, and you’ll be able to unlock and realize far more of your potential, as well as emerge with a new generation of organizations capable of capitalizing on possibilities for years to come.
Course Manual 1: Customer Focus
You can’t change something you don’t fully understand. You don’t want to meddle with things that are working well for you and your consumers. So, before developing the future state, understand the current state and what has to be fixed or maintained. Know where you are today so you can make short-term changes and enhancements as you re-imagine and develop the future state, which can take some time.
Future-state journey mapping involves imagining and mapping out the ideal future experience with clients, which then serves as the blueprint for implementation. The future state map depicts what the client will be doing, thinking, and experiencing during their interactions with the brand in the future ideal experience.
The mapping of future state journeys serves a variety of functions, including:
• Collaborating with real customers to identify and examine potential experiences or journeys
• Collaborating with customers to co-create and design the best experience
• Working with customers to co-create and design a unique experience
• Imagining what the experience might be like in the future with less risk because it’s first tried on paper
Innovating your Customer Experience and Increasing Productivity
We’re entering a new era. With the recent economic developments, leaders in practically every sector are having to rethink how they do business. In order to survive, they must change their client experience and increase corporate productivity. Our future success is determined by how we choose to deal with uncertainty.
The trick is knowing where to direct your attention. Now is the time to improve your organization. To effectively implement incremental or transformative change, you must first have a thorough grasp of your current situation. This understanding of people, processes, and systems is what unlocks the crucial knowledge that guides successful strategy, planning, and implementation of change with measurable outcomes.
8 Examples of Inefficiency That Impact Your Operations & Customer Experience
There are eight well-known types of waste in processes that have an influence on the delivery of value to customers and have a negative impact on corporate performance.
1. Non-Utilized Talent – People’s talents, skills, and expertise are underutilised. When individuals and teams are not given the opportunity to contribute their expertise to the improvement of processes and systems, it can become a problem. This is a perfect example of an outdated command-and-control management paradigm in which constant feedback and improvement are not part of the corporate culture.
2. Bottlenecks – People or systems waste time waiting for the next step in the process. When continuous discovery, planning, design, and implementation are not aligned across the product development lifecycle, this is a common result.
3. Defects – Efforts that necessitate rework or the abandonment of a portion or all of the project. This can also be seen in efforts that result in unusable outcomes, such as inaccurate data.
4. Extra Processing – Excessive activity or extra steps that do not add value to the end customer’s service or product. Are you certain about each process or flow, the inputs, and the results you want to achieve?
5. Over Production – This is when output exceeds demand or work is completed ahead of schedule. This could happen when designing and implementing untested features and functionality.
6. Inventory – Raw resources or products that aren’t being processed in sufficient quantities. Files waiting to be worked on, clients waiting for service, idle records in a database, or obsolete files are all examples of inventory waste. Broken equipment, excess finished products, surplus materials taking up work space, and finished goods that can’t be sold are all examples of manufacturing inventory waste.
7. Motion – People moving around unnecessarily (for example, walking) to achieve an internal or external task. This includes any needless movement of people, equipment, or machinery that could improve performance, health, or security if addressed.
8. Delivery – Unnecessary product, service, and material movement. This can be done in a physical or electronic manner. Both consume resources and incur expenditures, yet neither is required to please the client or achieve the desired result.
3 Ways to Gather Ideas For Improving Operations and Customer Experience
A brilliant idea can come from a variety of places. It can originate from a variety of sources, including cumulative, linking, and technology-enabled insights.
• Over time, cumulative insights from numerous inputs and perspectives are added up. Ideas are formed by combining all of the available information.
• When connected insights are combined, the result is a much more effective solution than the sum of its parts. Focusing on the interdependencies upstream and downstream in an organization’s and/or customer lifecycle generates ideas.
• Technology, such as data collecting, automation, or cross-system integration, enables capacity insights. Exploring how new technology can improve the way people, processes, and systems interact generates ideas.
Each strategy can aid in the discovery of a big idea that has the potential to revolutionize your customer experience and/or business.
Your ideas must target the solution space, which entails researching the various options for meeting your needs and limits in order to change your business.
However, if you haven’t mapped your current state, you won’t know if a solution fits those requirements. You can’t identify and explore all of the alternatives or assess their impact unless you know where you are today.
Ideas must be based on an understanding of the current state, or how your company generates value. Customer experience journey maps, service design blueprints, value stream maps, product flow maps, user scenarios and flows, systems architecture, or material and information flow diagrams are some of the tools that can be used to map your current state. This is defined in Toyota’s lean methodology. Each strategy can be really useful, but like any tool, you must know when and how to utilize it.
The benefit of these various tools is that they all assist you in identifying opportunities and diagnosing issues that affect business drivers such as:
• Consistent recurring outcomes
• Cross-functional collaboration
Each tool aids in the visualization of your business, the understanding of how a process adds value, the identification of leading and lagging key performance indicators, the consideration of the process from the perspective of the customer, the crosslinking of disparate data, the creation of a common language about the process, and the provision of focus.
It’s not about how that process should have worked in the first place. We must consider the current state of affairs.
Leading with Courage as you Define Your Ideal Customer Experience Journey
It is more important than ever to consider how we might innovate in the face of a global upheaval that affects every country, state, city, and small town. Work from home (WFH) was a luxury in the new economy. It has now become a standard requirement. Now is the time to pivot or adapt. You can find untapped opportunities and viable solutions to help you thrive by mapping your current situation. You may define the future you want by understanding your current situation, what to look for, and the essential mindset.
Course Manual 2: Organizational Structure
Business structure is more than simply an organizational chart; it is the basis upon which your current and future business will be built. It is a representation of your business model and goal that allows you to plan for your future state and the steps necessary to get there. How you construct your teams and guarantee you acquire the right individuals at the right time is dictated by your structural design. Your structure is the framework that gives your entire business clarity and accountability, empowering employees and getting everyone moving in the same direction. Your organizational structure allows you to be successful, increase sales, and grow into a great company.
However, an organizational chart is still required, but not just a schematic that no one refers to or uses. Instead, it should be a dynamic, live tool that elaborates on the nuances of your business, such as how you do what you do and who does what, how you define and measure success, and how you plan and achieve development. When done correctly, your organizational chart will be based on how you want to operate in the long run, both strategically and day-to-day – not necessarily how you’ve always done it. An adequate chart will inform a plan to transition from current to future reality, it is the guideposts on your journey to the summit.
The clarity acquired around team development is one of the most helpful benefits of effective configuration and congruent planning. With its clearly defined functions and areas of responsibility, your new ideal organization will illuminate a clear route to scaling your team. You can identify the milestones required to develop your team once you’ve specified where you’re heading and how you’ll get there. This includes knowing when and where to deploy resources that will yield the best results. This enables you to maximize profits as your business expands and maintain or improve margins as you scale.
The ability to remove the ambiguity and complexity that hinders focus – which is required to operationalize strategy, optimize operations, and establish a sustainable organization – is perhaps the most valuable benefit of an effective organizational structure. Focus is attained when everyone is on the same page, when employees from many departments are working together to achieve the same goal(s). The empowerment required to achieve is sanctioned by clearly defining success, both individual and organizational. People are more effective – individually and collectively – when they understand what they are responsible for and how it fits into the bigger picture.
To summarise, if you want your organization to thrive, you must identify and develop the structure necessary to fulfill your vision. You can’t optimize your operations for efficiency or profitability unless you have an organizational framework in which to function, which includes delivering product promises with sustainable margins. You can never assess progress or performance to know if everyone is focused on attaining the same objective without precisely identifying the roles that make up the structure and what each is responsible for. Any attempts to create and attain goals will be fruitless unless structure and strategy are aligned.
Analog-native businesses with high levels of digital maturity all have one thing in common: an enabling organization. Companies that lack this quality risk developing entrenched silo mindsets and a lack of collaboration, resulting in wasted investments and, eventually, failure of their digitalization efforts.
How may organizational structures be adapted to accelerate transformation and digital maturity?
Analog-native organizations must break down historical functional silos and upgrade their overall structure to meet the agility and customer-centricity of digital players. They must build organizations that encourage cross-functional collaboration and allow activities (such as product development) to flow effortlessly between departments, allowing for the end-to-end digitization of goods, processes, and touchpoints. Collaboration should extend beyond the business to ecosystem partners and customers, as well as within the company itself.
Multiple considerations, such as current digital maturity, planned target picture, urgency of change, and risk aversion, influence which organizational model to adopt to promote digitalization.
(Source: Arthur D. Little.)
Starting with central models may be a good idea for digitally conscious businesses embarking on IT transformation. This increases responsibility and transparency at the risk of a potential “us-versus-them” relationship with the rest of the company. This problem is solved by using an integrated model, which creates more impetus for change. However, due to ambiguous accountability and the difficulties of following a common vision, it runs the danger of causing problems with alignment. The hybrid model incorporates the best features of both the central and integrated models, but it is more complicated and difficult to implement. Finally, a centrally facilitated and fully integrated model is the most digitally mature structure and the end state for many digital-native businesses. Digital is fully integrated into the company’s business strategy, products/services, processes, and attitude in this context.
Only a few analog-native businesses have yet to establish appropriate organisational structures to aid digitalization. Top management is still collectively responsible for creating the digital strategy and driving its implementation in many companies.
Course Manual 3: Change Management and Cultural Transformation
In today’s complex—and cutthroat—global economy, achieving effective IT transformation has become a must-have aim for almost every company. Many businesses gain a much-needed boost in efficiency and profitability by implementing new technology and automating business operations, but keeping that momentum to produce sustainable improvement and higher value isn’t always easy.
Companies require a comprehensive grasp of, and plan for, IT transformation change management in order to preserve and expand on the early improvements that accompany IT transformations. Organizations of all sizes and types may successfully scale their IT transformation projects to meet changing needs and goals while continuing to add value by investing the time and resources required (and following a few best practices).
Change Management Is Critical In IT Transformation
Companies that recognized the writing on the virtual wall were making major investments to IT transformation even before the COVID-19 disruption drastically impacted practically every area of modern life. However, as businesses struggle to find their footing in the new normal, IT transformation has become a top priority for many.
Companies around the world are making a successful IT transformation journey a major part of their strategies for not just recovery, but growth, innovation, and competitive advantage, from launching new apps to expanding their social media presence to fundamentally altering their entire business model to meet changing consumer needs.
Industry giants like McDonald’s, Hasbro, and Capital One have set the bar for successful IT transformations by embracing digitalization, artificial intelligence, and leveraging the Internet of Things (IoT). Others are quickly following suit; according to Meticulous Research, the worldwide digital transformation market will be valued $3.2 trillion by 2025.
Despite this enthusiasm and significance, IT transformation initiatives continue to fail at alarming rates. According to research firm McKinsey & Co., around 70% of digital transformation projects fail.
These failures can be attributed to a variety of factors, including inadequate planning, a lack of investment, and a lack of people with digital technology skills. However, a change management plan is evident in terms of major, long-term results—including scaling the successes of initial digital transformation efforts to meet an organization’s evolving demands and business strategies.
What is Organizational Culture?
The collective thinking of an organization is known as its culture. People’s ways of being, relating, and working, as well as the organization’s engagement with and effectiveness in its environment, are based on patterns of widely accepted (sometimes unconscious) assumptions, beliefs, and values.
In other words, the culture of an organization influences everything that happens in that context. An organization’s culture is reflected in how people interact, how things are done on a daily basis, and how culture change, organizational change, and transformation are managed.
How Does Culture Change Impact the Success of Transformation?
The success of your transformational change projects is heavily influenced by your company’s culture. When a big organizational transformation is happening, the culture of the organization is in play. It will either support or oppose the new state reality you’re constructing.
As your business transitions from old to new ways of doing things, many of your organization’s patterns will most likely emerge as helpful or inhibiting. The new tactics, structures, systems, processes, and/or technology will very certainly need people adopting new ways of being and functioning. Employees will almost certainly have to adjust how they engage with one another, what they prioritize and focus on, and how their performance is judged.
Change projects in your organization are likely to fail unless there are demonstrable modifications in cultural norms and expectations. Your company’s culture has been built to be successful as it is, not as you would like it to be. Employees will quickly revert to their old ways of working unless there is a fundamental culture shift. You must make overt and precise changes to culture so that people understand what they need to do differently. Employees should be able to see how the new corporate culture will fit into the bigger change picture if leaders construct the new culture to deliver on the new transformational and organizational change efforts.
Course Manual 4: Transformational Leadership
Transformational leadership is a common leadership approach, especially in businesses where employee satisfaction, productivity, and success are all dependent on culture.
It’s comparable to servant leadership, which is also an ethical leadership style, but there are several major differences. We’ll discuss transformational leadership, including its roots, key characteristics, and more.
Defining transformation leadership:
The needs of others, rather than the leader’s, are the focus of transformational leadership. Although similar to servant leadership, each style differs in that the leader’s goal is distinct.
The transformational leader’s concentration is “directed towards the organization,” and his or her behavior encourages followers to support the organization’s goals. The focus of a servant leader, on the other hand, is on the followers, with organizational goals coming second.”
As it focuses on culture, transformational leadership differs from one of its antecedents, transactional leadership. Transactional leaders do not aim to change the culture; instead, they work within it. Transformational leaders, on the other hand, strive for culture change as a means of driving improvement and performance.
Where did it come from?
Its origins can be traced back to the concept of charisma. Of course, charisma is a concept that has been around for a long time. In the last 40 years, however, there has been a growing interest in charisma. Employees have been “overmanaged but underled,” according to a theory.
This makes sense because transactional leadership places a premium on management skills. Compliance, structure, hierarchy, work tasks, incentive, and punishment are the main topics. Unlike more current leadership methods such as empowerment and inspiration.
The focus of transformational leadership is on leading rather than managing. It was developed by political scientist James MacGregor Burns, who popularized it in his 1978 book Leadership, after sociologist James Downton Jr conceptualized it.
Bernard M Bass built on Burns’ work by studying the underlying psychological characteristics that define a transformational leader.
Features and traits of transformational leaders
1. Charisma/idealized influence: To what extent does the leader’s behavior model remain consistent with the broader vision they’ve established, and does this role modeling motivate employees to follow the leader and the goal?
2. Inspirational motivation: Creating a compelling future vision, having clear goals that stretch people and recognize potential, and being enthusiastic about employee development are all important.
3. Intellectual stimulation: Enabling and motivating workers to go beyond their own self-interest to the needs of the team and organization, challenging their attitudes, ideas, and beliefs in order to drive growth and performance, and fostering innovation, collaboration, and the pursuit of excellence.
4. Individualised consideration: The transformational leader focuses on the individual’s needs, goals, and anxieties, knowing that understanding how to build an environment that encourages individuals to perform is critical.
Tips to develop a strong base for a transformational leadership journey
1. Develop a challenging and attractive vision, together with the employees
2. Tie the vision to a strategy for its achievement
3. Develop the vision, specify and translate it to actions
4. Express confidence, decisiveness and optimism about the vision and its implementation
5. Realise the vision through small, planned steps and small successes in the path for its full implementation
Which Organizations Benefit Most from Transformational Leadership?
Les Stein, PhD, feels that every business, regardless of size or success, can benefit from transformative leadership. After all, he emphasizes, “Transformation doesn’t have to always be from bad to good. It can be from good to great, or simply good to better. The point is, [a transformational leader will] change their institution in a way that’s always positive.”
However, Stein acknowledges that firms with a bad culture will benefit the most from positive interference.
“Organizations will benefit most from a transformational leader when their culture is such that people aren’t sure if they buy into the vision of the organization, [or they don’t] seem to have that collective enthusiasm for their product.”
What are the positive effects?
The function of transformative leadership in generating achievements is generally seen favorably in research. Transformative leadership, for example, has aided both organizational commitment and workforce productivity.
Employees led by a transformational leader had greater health than those led by a laissez-faire (apathetic, hands-off) boss, according to Zwingmann et al (2014). They went on to say that having a clear, shared goal that gives meaning to work is a “health-promoting phenomena”
In terms of specific workplaces, a study on transformational leadership in schools discovered that it has substantial and significant favorable effects on organizational circumstances, as well as moderate effects on student involvement.
Choudhary et al (2013) discovered that transformational leadership had a stronger impact on organizational learning than servant leadership, which they attribute to transformational leadership’s greater emphasis on goal-oriented behavior. Many critics agree that the dynamic and diversified character of today’s workplaces necessitates different leadership styles at different times, thus it’s difficult to argue that one leadership style is more valuable than another.
Course Manual 5: Technology Decisions Involve Entire C-suite
The pervasiveness of technology in the corporate landscape is unrivaled: It is a big consumer of resources, both human and financial; it is the operational platform that drives day-to-day operations; and it contains future potential. As a result, technology is intrinsically related to most companies’ current and future performance. As a result, technological leadership is blending with strategic and financial leadership, requiring the CEO, COO, CIO, and CFO (among others) to work together in the future. A CXO collaboration is what it’s called, and it necessitates new abilities among today’s leaders.
What is a CXO partnership, and how does it work? To begin, realize that this isn’t about organizational structure. The CXO partnership is an informal one, consisting of a coalition and a group of people who share common interests. It’s based on trust, knowledge, and the need to integrate that knowledge to improve decision-making in your organization.
Which of the “Os” should join the CXO coalition? That depends. Today, there are a plethora of options: We now have CTOs (technology), CMOs (marketing), CCOs (customer advocacy), CKOs (knowledge), CIOs (investment), and CIOs (information), to mention a few, in addition to the well-worn CEO, CFO, and COO. It’s easy to become so focused on the inclusion and exclusion judgments that you lose sight of your true goal. This is a model that is adaptable. The partnership’s membership will be determined by the nature of your company. It may even change depending on the choice. The term “CXO partnership” is actually just a catch-all word for a collaborative leadership style.
Build It Right
What can you do if you aren’t already in a situation like this? You’ll have to forge your own CXO partnership since it won’t come knocking on your door. Often, it might be built around a major event that requires the CEO’s personal engagement, or a continuous process like investment prioritization. Before you begin, make certain that you:
Invite those who are willing to participate. It’s less crucial to have the perfect mix of individuals than it is to get the cooperation started, so reach out to those you can. The number of people who participate will rise as a result of the success.
Facilitate and integrate the process. Your job is to bring individuals together to start a conversation and to gather information in order to make a decision.
Consider the big picture. Even if you bring technological expertise to the table, the executive thought process must take precedence. “Wearing your corporate hat” was a phrase used at Xerox. They even gave out hats with a large red X on them at one point.
Stay together. Whether it’s joint problem solving or dispute resolution, collaboration is the preferred option. This necessitates open and direct communication as well as explicit knowledge sharing. For example, whether formally or informally, make sure your CFO is aware of your figures and the story behind them. This is nearly a requirement in an open-minded environment.
Act as if you’re doing a balancing act. Advocacy for your own cause should be balanced with a knowledge of others’ views and interests. It would have been easier for Xerox to reach an agreement based solely on financial concerns, but they also had to consider the interests of their employees as well as their customers.
Set shared goals. Develop objective metrics or milestones together. This will aid in the development of shared ownership of the final product.
Avoid Potential Pitfalls
A CXO partnership can be a great tool for accomplishing goals. However, like with any cooperative activity, it’s critical to foresee and avoid potential issues by ensuring that you:
Everyone should be involved. Power is shared in a collaborative atmosphere. For some, this feels like a loss of control, complete with all the worries that comes with it. Pay attention to individuals who aren’t participating in the process and try to entice them in. Something will be lost if they are not present.
Stay focused. Even though they claim to be collaborative, some participants may adopt parochial or defensive postures. This is particularly true when you get closer to making a choice. Don’t let this get in the way of your progress. Attempt to elicit the primary concern and find a solution that addresses it.
Think beyond IT. The best IT solution isn’t always the best solution for the firm. There will be instances when you believe the best technological path has not been taken. In these situations, letting go is a strength, not a weakness, as long as you’ve presented all of the pertinent facts and everyone is aware of the repercussions. The truly best answer can only be found by bringing all of the perspectives together. Not the best for technology, not the best for money, not the greatest for a single function or industry, but the ideal combination of those elements.
Reap the Rewards
A shared ownership of the outcomes is the result of a successful partnership. At Xerox, senior executives were heavily involved in the outsourcing decision, ensuring shared ownership. As a result, there was no pointing of fingers even when they struck some bumps in the road. “If it works, it’s mine; if it fails, it’s yours,” they avoided the usual shared-risk formula.
Meanwhile, your personal development will accelerate. This collaborative experience will sharpen your understanding of the business, your thinking breadth, and your ability to balance hard and soft abilities.
Course Manual 6: Integration of all data systems
Those of us who have worked in the field of information technology (IT) are well aware that it is rife with buzzwords. The latest phrase, “IT transformation,” has become a popular component of the digital transformation process, but what it implies varies depending on who you ask. If you ask ten CIOs or IT executives to define transformation, you’re going to hear ten different replies.
On the one hand, data integration is responsible for IT transformation, which is defined as “a complete overhaul of an organization’s information technology systems. IT transformation can involve changes to network architecture, hardware, software and how data is stored and accessed. Informally, IT transformation may be referred to as rip and replace”, according to with Margaret Rouse, Whattls.com Manager.
Digital transformation, on the other hand, according to Galen Gruman, isn’t just about converting physical assets to digital copies; it’s also about doing something with those digitized assets.
As a result, data integration is a critical enabler in this space. IT transformation and data integration processes are combined on the same journey to maximize digital transformation processes and find “processes that create, enable, manage, and deliver them” to the appropriate company units. The most important aspects to understand about data integration, according to David Linthicum, in this new era of IT transformation are:
1. Workload data is likely to be shared across traditional systems and both private and public clouds.
2. Data is growing faster and faster, with big data lakes common within most companies.
3. Data has to be delivered in real-time, on demand.
4. Security is now systemic, it cannot be an afterthought anymore.
5. DevOps is the new standard for building and deploying applications and data store
During his recent webinar, “Digital and IT Transformation: A Formula for Empowerment in the Digital Age,” Dennis Drogseth, VP of Research at EMA, shared some thoughts. We want to emphasize that while analytics and metrics are excellent tools for making strategic decisions, the foundations of these judgments still require high-quality data. Why? Because the costs, risks, and potential negative impact on the business are too great to risk making judgments based on faulty or incomplete data.
Data Quality Management was cited as a crucial technology by 35% of the leaders polled, while Data Integration was cited by 32% as a critical technology for their present or future transformation endeavor.
How to begin your data integration journey
Most businesses make use of a variety of cloud, social, and mobile-based systems and applications. However, those systems are incompatible, causing the vital data flow to be disrupted.
It is critical to implement a data integration strategy in order to overcome this. It is not, however, a “one-and-done” exercise. To bring together your diverse data sources, it’s a process that grows over time and may incorporate a variety of ways. It is not only a cultural transformation, but it must also be incorporated into your IT management system.
To start with it is important to:
• Identify the importance of data to people and processes
• Understand how you’re processing and integrating data
• Identify silos among internal and external systems
When attempting to blend data from legacy systems into a new system, data integration becomes a hurdle. Because of anomalies such as formatting, spelling problems, duplicates, or naming standards, a complete cleaning is required to ensure that only valid data is transferred to your new system. This will ensure that the data integration project is completed on time and on budget.
Course Manual 7: Internal Customer Experience
Start with your employees if you want to provide superior service to your consumers.
Customer-centric initiatives are increasingly being recognized for their benefits, which include increased revenues, decreased expenses, and stronger employee and customer loyalty. Many firms underestimate the need to engage the entire organization, including support functions, in a customer-centric transformation in their efforts to improve customer journeys and refine direct interactions with clients.
That is unfortunate. Developing exceptional customer-service operations in support functions (such as information technology, finance, and human resources) is a significant lever for sustaining and expanding a full customer-centric transformation.
It aids in the development of a new service culture that strengthens customer-centric initiatives across the board. By applying customer excellence ideas to employees’ experiences, it creates a longer-term impact and full engagement of the personnel. Creating outstanding customer experiences starts with a common vision for premier customer-centric firms like Disney, and it requires an engaged and energetic staff that can translate individual interactions into fulfilling end-to-end customer journeys. The rationale of extending that commitment to support personnel within the company is compelling.
To acquire a sustainable competitive advantage, successful major firms are increasingly thinking about end-to-end reforms that focus on internal customers—their employees—as well as external ones. This isn’t a simple task. It can take two or three years to completely implement such initiatives for all internal customer journeys. An endeavor to transform support employees into a true customer service culture involves defined and ambitious objectives, dedicated resources, and involved sponsorship from C-suite leaders, rather than being a kind of employee satisfaction exercise, which is normally handled by the HR department.
The good news is that these activities can operate alongside externally facing customer-experience programs, complementing and reinforcing one another.
This Course Manual examines the advantages of involving support functions in customer-centric transformations and describes the approach and principles for successfully managing such initiatives.
The intersection of customer and employee experience
For years, we’ve heard of EX in relation to HR platforms, but it’s now spread throughout the corporate landscape as a result of the influence of remote work. Brands like Microsoft, Salesforce, ServiceNow, and others are talking about how their platforms solve EX as if it were a brand-new category that emerged in the previous year, but it isn’t. Enabling your staff has always been critical to successful IT transformation and customer experience.
Regardless of how good your customer-facing app is or how efficient your supply chain is, your employees make or break your company. Keeping employees happy is equally as important as keeping consumers pleased for your business to run smoothly. Indeed, because your staff are your product, this is an extremely important notion for service-based businesses.
You already know what employees want, whether you realize it or not, because it’s the same thing that customers want: a terrific experience. However, if you don’t give your employees the experience they require, they’ll disconnect and go, just like dissatisfied customers.
Consider how much time and money your company invests in the client experience. Businesses want to know who their consumers are and what they want, so they invest money and effort in market research, surveys, and analytics, then use the information to make changes and updates. This type of marketing technique is brought to your internal organizations using EX platforms.
HR departments are conducting market research on their internal consumers when they send out employee surveys. Non-HR EX platforms are now taking it a step further by using passively acquired data on how employees are using their products to gain quantitative insights about their behavior.
Course Manual 8: Modernization Strategy
Moving away from outdated systems and toward newer technologies gives businesses a competitive advantage in today’s digital world.
What is IT modernization?
IT modernization is a broad term that refers to any attempt by a company to embrace, adapt, or improve its technology.
The steps required in an IT modernization project will differ depending on the company’s industry, size, budget, workforce requirements, and customer expectations, as well as where they are in the digital transformation process. However, these projects generally entail a shift away from older technology and toward new technologies that streamline, simplify, and/or automate the processes and procedures that keep the business running.
While modernization is practically necessary in order to flourish in our increasingly digital economy, these efforts are more likely to succeed when they are carefully planned in relation to current demands and long-term objectives. IT modernization that isn’t well-planned can end up posing more issues than benefits for colleagues and consumers. For example, if a company upgrades functional systems while leaving others that need to be overhauled, untouched. Or if it introduces new tools without providing proper training to the employees who will be using them.
You’ll learn foundational information in this Course Manual that can help you identify and evaluate key considerations for your own IT modernization journey, such as which aspects of your IT to upgrade, why change management is an important part of effective digital transformation, the challenges you might face, and the business outcomes you can aim for.
What is modern IT management?
In the long run, IT modernization decreases complexity, but in the transitional stage, it may necessitate a patchwork of management solutions for your evolving infrastructure, apps, devices, and users. Simultaneously, as with cybersecurity, digital transformation provides opportunity to move toward more centralized and streamlined management tools and procedures.
Data management is a highly fruitful field for modernization. Expanding visibility into and control over the data you collect is critical for optimizing processes, managing compliance, and adjusting to consumer expectations as your organization changes to meet the shifting demands of a digital economy. This is especially crucial if your company adopts advancements like the Internet of Things, which extend the pool of information you can access. In brief, current management tools and techniques allow you to more effectively and efficiently access, store, govern, and analyze data from a rising number of sources.
How does training fit into IT modernization?
Implementing new technology is only one aspect of IT modernization; it’s also critical to ensure that your end users understand how to make the most of those capabilities. Without sufficient preparation and training, even your most innovative teammates may be hesitant to adopt new solutions.
Working with professionals in Organizational Change Management (OCM) and Learning and Development (L&D) can assist your company navigate the digital transformation process by training your employees to jump right into the new technology you’ve encouraged them to use.
Not only can effective training help to foster technical innovation, but it also helps to facilitate innovative training methodologies. Due to the COVID-19 epidemic, traditional in-person learning was limited in 2020. While this quick transformation was frequently difficult, it also led to the refinement of many new training methods, such as virtual learning, immersive technology, video content, and mobile platforms. As a result, training programs are more adaptable, engaging, and audience-centric than ever before, increasing the chances that learners will assimilate the knowledge delivered throughout the training session.
IT modernization challenges
Modernizing IT is a top business priority, but companies frequently hit hurdles along the way. Internal IT departments must balance several conflicting goals, and long-term transformational projects may be pushed aside in favor of more pressing needs. For organizations with limited finances, people, and experience, the desire to allocate time and energy where it is most needed is very acute. Collaboration with an external partner can often assist firms in filling knowledge gaps, developing successful strategies, and achieving modernization more quickly – all while reducing the pressure on internal teams.
Even companies with a lot of internal and external resources can struggle to modernize if they don’t have a clear, comprehensive strategy in place. And, fear of new technology’s potential downsides — particularly in terms of staff adoption, industry compliance requirements, and cybersecurity threats — can deter firms from ever attempting to reap their benefits. Again, a trusted relationship can make it easier to develop a strategy that includes business objectives and required process changes into technology upgrade plans.
IT modernization outcomes
While IT modernization is a large task, it is also a key driver of corporate success in today’s digital age. When your company implements new technologies across its IT infrastructure, you can speed up workloads and establish the groundwork for greater data insights, streamlined procedures, and routine task automation. Upgrading devices, applications, and networks improves customer and employee experiences, resulting in increased brand loyalty and easier talent retention. And, with modern workforce technologies that enhance productivity and enable effective collaboration wherever and whenever they work, that talent can maximize their potential.
Patience, resources, experience, and an effective approach are required to achieve these business results through IT modernization, but the rewards are well worth the effort.
Course Manual 9: Data Security, Privacy and Data Ethics
Data Security and The future of IT Transformation
Companies are under pressure to adapt and transform as a result of continual technology breakthroughs, changes in work cultures, and rising market and customer demands. IT transformation is one of the most common changes.
Cyber digital transformation is not something that can be accomplished suddenly, as it requires a well-defined strategy from these corporate executives. Digital strategies are also a personalized process because no two businesses have the same needs, goals, assets, or technologies; yet, in order for a plan to be effective, it must have reinforced Cybersecurity in order to safely alter its digital environment. This is due to the necessity to stay relevant in a hyper-competitive corporate environment, which has arisen as a result of the new era of data analytics and artificial intelligence.
However, as more businesses accept these improvements, they become more vulnerable to Data Security Threats and weak Cybersecurity. More and more cybercrime stories are emerging about businesses losing millions of dollars as a result of Ransomware attacks or security breaches, prompting company executives to reconsider how to safeguard their digitization operations.
Almost all businesses are now looking for security solutions to prevent cyber-attacks and safeguard them from financial damages. This introduces a new problem for corporate leaders: developing a Cybersecurity Strategy to secure their data – cyber resilience.
Top Security Challenges of IT Transformation
The expanded attack surfaces and greater value of data are two of the most significant security challenges impeding the IT transformation process.
Because IT transformation and information processes are growing the quantity of data loads and applications, digitalization creates new network access points like mobile and cloud, which gives cybercriminals more opportunity to attack. Companies should consider if they are prepared to confront new risks before implementing new strategies or programs.
Data has essentially replaced oil in today’s world, which explains why security incidents such as data breaches are on the rise. Companies are becoming more conscious of data analytics as they learn how to use data for customer services by evaluating their behavior, markets, patterns, and so on. As a result, cyber-attackers are growing more interested in using or selling the data they have discovered. The fundamental drivers of digitalization, such as the expanding volume of structured and unstructured data, as well as the demand to access information at any time and from any location, are also driving data security concerns.
IT Transformation and Cybersecurity
Although speed is the primary goal of digitalization, it is also the primary risk that exposes businesses to security vulnerabilities because it compromises security controls and overlooks underlying risks when undergoing security transformation, as the rush to complete this transformation increases the risk of data breaches by 72 percent. Those dangers, on the other hand, can only be determined and foreseen when all of a company’s units – such as security, IT, procurement, administration, finance, and so on – work together.
Cybersecurity and Cybercrimes
Cybersecurity refers to the practice of safeguarding systems, software, devices, networks, and other digital assets from cyberattacks, illegal access, and other forms of cybercrime. Cybercrime is typically used to gain access to, alter, or delete sensitive data in order to disrupt corporate processes or even extort money from users.
Cybercrime has the potential to devastate companies of all sizes. Not only may these assaults cost businesses money, but they can also have a negative impact on brand loyalty if users believe their privacy is being violated or exposed. Users who believe their information is not being secured are more likely to take their business elsewhere – where they feel safe – which can result in a loss of sales and earnings for businesses. Not to mention that a cyberattack might result in legal ramifications, particularly in light of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) regulatory punishments.
All businesses, in all fields, have an obligation to ensure that their company is up to date on security threats (such as impersonations, data leaks, fraudulent e-mails and viruses, and even loss of intellectual property) and ransomware (malware that encrypts data and is only unlockable after the exchange of a specific fee), and that they have acquired the best methods to protect data – from training personnel to acquiring the best methods to protect data.
Customers entrust their data to businesses, and businesses must be well-equipped to secure that data, which can only be accomplished with the support of a smart cybersecurity strategy.
While organizations’ intentions are good when it comes to conquering security concerns while undergoing a cyber digital transformation, they will face a number of hurdles along the way — challenges that are specific to their industry.
Tackling data trust and transparency
For CIOs and other IT leaders, bringing their companies to this future state will necessitate an urgent focus on the data’s trustworthiness and transparency. According to Burke of Gartner, IT directors will be required to investigate such difficult areas as confidential computing, a catch-all term for technology that maximise security, limit the use of personal data, and allow individuals control over their data, in 2021.
Explainable AI (Artificial Intelligence), or AI that is trained to describe itself in words that the typical human can comprehend, will become more popular. Companies will also have to assure trustworthy AI, which is the notion of AI systems that are resilient in the face of change, safeguard people’s privacy, and are secure, as AI becomes increasingly important for comprehending and capitalizing on data.
Trust will have to be approached in ways that go beyond validating a particular component of data management, such as data provenance, governance, or compliance. They’ll have to persuade customers by explaining how their data is actually used. Employees, management, and regulators will all need to be convinced that the information gathered and used to make critical company decisions is reliable. Successful organizations will collaborate with consumers and employees to establish new data-driven business models and work patterns in the future.
The chain of trust for organizational data efforts, like IT security, is only as strong as its weakest link. Aside from the human element, establishing a data chain of trust will require the usage of encryption to securely share insights in AI models, as well as a slew of new technologies – and buzzwords – such as homomorphic encryption, trust fabrics, and federated deep learning.
This article examines a paradigm shift in how businesses, and ultimately all of us, manipulate, manage, and extract value from data. It starts with the necessity for businesses to improve their AI capabilities and ends with a vision of a future in which our digital identities have agency and certain unalienable rights.
Course Manual 10: Evolution of products, services and processes
The corporate agenda prioritizes IT transformation. Some businesses are nearing mass digitization of their processes and technologies, while others are just getting started.
Previously, transformation may have been evaluated by digitizing a paper-based process such as contract signature. In the past year, this has expanded to include everything related to remote working and virtualizing the workplace, with a focus on securely accessing cloud-based apps.
As a result of the quick turnaround, firms have done the best they can with the tools and resources they have. Even those business owners who were previously concerned have embraced IT transformation and succeeded thanks to technology and vendor advancements.
In practice, end-to-end customer experience optimization, operational flexibility, and innovation, as well as the development of new revenue sources and information-powered ecosystems of value, are key drivers and goals of IT transformation, leading to business model transformations and new forms of digital processes. However, before getting there, it’s critical to address internal obstacles, such as legacy systems and process disconnects, as internal goals are unavoidable for the next phases.
Business process optimization is critical in IT transformation initiatives, and it is a combination of customer-facing and internal goals in most industries and cases today.
Internet retailers may make critical modifications to their e-commerce websites in hours, but brick-and-mortar retailers can take three months or longer. Suppliers of cloud-based enterprise software can upgrade their solutions in a matter of days or weeks. Traditional business software organizations, on the other hand, require months.
Why can’t established businesses keep up with their Internet-based competitors? Because of their constrained enterprise architecture, which is the underlying design and administration of the technological platforms and capabilities that support a company’s business strategy.
The enterprise architecture in traditional companies typically reflects a bygone era, when it was not necessary for companies to shift their business strategies, release new products and services, and incorporate new business processes at hyper speed.
Consider that until this decade, mobile devices, the Internet of Things, and big data and analytics platforms weren’t crucial for competing in the marketplace. Companies did not have an acute need to continually infuse new IT-enabled business capabilities into their operations.
They do now.
Traditional companies must adopt a much different approach to designing and managing enterprise architecture to compete against digital-born companies—a model some call “perpetual evolution,” because it emphasizes continuous changes to and modular design of business capabilities as well as the technologies that support them. This method incorporates a number of well-known enterprise architectural frameworks but connects them in a novel way. It forces CEOs to take a broad view of their digital capabilities and technology while also managing them in a way that minimizes or eliminates interdependencies while emphasizing speed.
Course Manual 11: Digitization of The Business
You’ve undoubtedly figured out that IT transformation is the driving force behind business growth of all types and sizes. It is crucial to note, however, that it is not limited to large corporations.
In the corporate sector, digitization has become a buzzword, with more and more organizations realizing the value of transforming information to a digital version. The usage of PDFs, graphics, sound, and signaling are some of the most common instances. But why are businesses suddenly embracing digitization?
Companies in almost every industry can benefit from the practices of organizations that have done so successfully.
Start at the end state and work back
A process can often be substantially redesigned thanks to digitization; for example, merging automated decision making with self-service can eliminate manual operations. Successful digitization efforts begin by imagining the future state of each process without regard for existing constraints—for example, reducing the turnaround time of a process from days to minutes. Constraints (for example, legally needed checks) can be reintroduced once a convincing future state has been specified. Companies should not be afraid to put each constraint to the test. Many of these are business fallacies that can be easily debunked by talking to customers or regulators.
Tackle the end-to-end customer experience
Digitizing specific stages of the customer experience may improve productivity and address some pressing customer issues, but it will never create a genuinely seamless experience, and as a result, it may leave tremendous potential on the table. To tackle an end-to-end process like customer onboarding, process-digitization teams will need help from all departments engaged in the customer experience. Not least to challenge traditional opinion, the final customer should be heavily involved. To do so, some companies are forming start-up-style cross-functional groups that bring together all employees involved in the end-to-end client experience, including IT developers. The mission of the cross-functional unit is to question the status quo. Members are frequently grouped together to promote communication and ensure a true team effort.
Since digitization skills are in short supply, successful initiatives place a premium on developing internal capabilities. The idea is to establish a center of excellence with highly experienced personnel who can be relied upon to quickly digitize processes. Even so, firms frequently have to look outside the company for new skill sets and jobs, such as data scientists or user-experience designers. Given the importance of the transformation, the initial managers chosen to lead it should be carefully chosen, well-respected within the business, and willing to commit for an extended length of time. It’s also critical that the team has the expertise to build the appropriate technological components in a modular manner so that they may be reused across processes and economies of scale are maximized.
Traditional IT-intensive initiatives pay off only at the end of the project, which can be years after it begins. However, digitizing end-to-end processes one at a time can enhance performance in as little as three to five months. Complex IT difficulties, such as legacy-systems integration, can take longer to complete, but there are solutions to avoid delays. One industrial company, for example, employed low-cost offshore personnel to rekey data between systems, allowing a new digital customer procedure to be brought up for usage with pilot clients while a robust IT interface was being constructed in parallel. The risk associated with the integration effort was decreased, and the return was accelerated as a result of this method.
It’s not always easy to move swiftly. More often than not, the bottleneck is caused by business decision-making rather than IT development. That is why, in order to align all stakeholders, digitization efforts require significant board-level backing, whereas all other choices should be assigned to the project team.
Roll in, not out
In a traditional deployment, a new product is gradually rolled out to existing user teams across several sites. However, due of the drastic changes in processes and supporting organizations, a different approach may be required when firms embark on digitalization. Telecommunications salespeople, for example, may prefer that clients apply for services through the existing retail system rather than using self-serve kiosks. Bank credit underwriters may choose to analyze automatically approved applications if they do not trust automated algorithms. In these circumstances, it might be easier to create a new organizational unit to manage the new digital process, then hire people to work in it while simultaneously increasing the volume of work it handles. This makes the shift to the digital process much easier by avoiding the need to waste a lot of energy on changing old routines and practices. The new organizational unit will have “swallowed” all of the required staff from the older units by the time all process volume has moved to the new digital process.
Companies that digitize procedures can boost their profits while delighting their customers. The value at stake varies depending on the business model and starting point, but it can be evaluated by allocating expenses to end-to-end procedures and comparing to peers. Organizations can do one or two pilots to kick-start the strategy and establish capabilities and momentum, and then scale up quickly.
Course Manual 12: Personalization guides the customer
Consumer expectations and priorities will continue to fluctuate as they struggle with their “new normal” and the rapid rate at which it unfolds. Companies and brands must produce contextualized and distinctive offers and experiences that directly correspond to consumers’ requirements in the present to remain relevant and helpful in these tough times.
Companies must now, more than ever, reach customers where they are
“Personalization” is a term that has been around for a long time. Companies and brands have long sought to better engage their most valued customers by sending personalized messages and providing personalized experiences. Despite these efforts, there is still a disconnect between corporations’ efforts to build highly tailored experiences for customers and what they really get. According to a recent Forrester report titled “Personalization Demystified,” while 90 percent of companies regard personalization as critical or very important to their business strategies, only 39 percent of consumers report receiving relevant brand communications and only 41% report receiving valuable offers.
Companies see customization as a succession of content-focused projects (e.g., a marketing-led effort to deliver relevant ads to customers through an app), rather than an ongoing enterprise-wide journey fuelled by continuous learning and improvement, which explains the gap between purpose and reality. Companies risk creating a fragmented consumer experience that may come across as unnecessary, redundant, or even annoying without a comprehensive approach to personalization – supported by underlying organizational structure, culture, and tech & data strategy best suited to enable it.
Imagine if, in reaction to the coronavirus pandemic, merchants could communicate real-time data regarding the availability of goods at your local store location via their app, as well as funnel pertinent information and offers tailored to your location. Your pharmacy, for example, could share hyperlocal guidance based on your past purchase history with a unified view of customer data across the enterprise (e.g., you’re due for a refill of allergy medication but your local store is out of stock; we can deliver it directly to your home from an alternate location).
It will take time to enable a best-in-class enterprise-wide journey, whether your business is just beginning to establish a personalized strategy, is reasonably advanced, or is in the process of transforming in light of the current epidemic. Companies should consider short-term measures to speed enhancements to their current state personalization initiatives, in line with a longer-term goal, given the urgency and volume of customer need right now.
Align your brand’s “North Star” to personalization opportunities for “quick wins”
Companies must transition from a campaign-centric attitude to an enterprise-wide approach, unified by a single vision for the future state of customer experience (CX), as a vital first step. If your company hasn’t already created a purpose-driven CX “North Star” for the enterprise, try bringing together representatives from several departments (such as sales, marketing, customer support, IT, and so on) to collaborate on it.
For example, a big food and beverage shop with a hyper-local brand vision developed a CX North Star strategy that focuses on creating unique experiences for every customer who enters through their door or goes onto their app. The retailer moved backwards from that future state CX vision to build a roadmap to close holes in their company, such as holistic offerings, marketing, and services. They can now swiftly change the sequence in which they address these gaps in response to changes in customer and company needs.
Consider where you might be able to fast track “quick wins” that will dramatically improve the experience for your client within the next 1-2 months if you’ve established an enterprise-wide North Star and an initial roadmap to get there. Given that the majority of clients in 2021 were adhering to quarantine instructions and staying at home, many motor insurance companies were rewarding accounts based on usage data in order to develop connections during those tough times. Rapidly discover these “quick win” opportunities by conducting a prioritization grid exercise with a cross-functional group of decision-makers, prioritizing the activities that have the largest impact on customers and that are feasible to bring to market within 60 days.
Resist the want to stray from your long-term North Star approach. Rather, speed up important workstreams to deliver a prototype to market rapidly that provides demonstrable value to customers, then refine as needed based on their input.
Avoid one-size-fits-all mass-market services and promotions
Empathy – which means different things to different individuals – should be the starting point for companies when dealing with their customers. Ensure that any communication you send maintains your company’s reputation as a reliable source of information, products, and services. Promotions for an at-home spa experience will elicit significantly different reactions from a middle-income parent of two living in a small New York City apartment and a high-income single adult spending more time at home than travelling.
Examine your promotion and engagement efforts from the previous six months and think about how you might improve them swiftly based on new consumer behaviour trends. Consider how you may fine-tune your target population segmentation, test improved engagement tactics, and use the information to guide your longer-term enterprise-wide personalization strategy.