Digital Transformation or Digital Disaster? 10 Ways to Avoid Mishap on the Path to a Modern Workplace

‘Digital Transformation’ is all the rage in the IT industry with many differing opinions on best practices for digitally transforming a workplace.

However, very few organizations openly speak of the mistakes they have made on their path to transforming, including how they have either come back from, or narrowly avoided, a digital disaster.

Recently I read about a concept on the Microsoft blog presented by Microsoft Business Applications Group corporate vice president James Phillips which I felt could be easily adapted to provide a guideline to avoiding digital disaster.

nintex

By adapting this feedback loop to focus on the customers, people, and processes that are at the heart of the digital transformation process, we can easily identify where and how companies are mistakenly picking the path toward digital disaster.

From this point, we have been able to develop 1o steps that organizations can use to avoid a similar situation.

Part 1: People

The first five steps to avoiding digital disaster provide some clarity on the importance of people within this process.

1.  Empower employees to become citizen developers

Traditionally, businesses have developers sitting within their IT teams who are responsible for the development and maintenance of a business’ IT strategy and processes. By turning employees into citizen developers with an easy to use, no code automation platform technology supports the needs of the business – not the other way around.

So, what does this look like for a business?

A select number of employees in different areas of the business, ranging from SQL developers to business analysts and EDRMS officers, should be adept at using products like Nintex Workflow and Nintex Forms to digitize business processes.

2.  Know the cultural fit of your organization

Generation X, Y, and Millennials workers not only adapt easily to technologies but are also actively seeking out new technologies to discover how they can improve business processes.

However, older users may find the adaption of new technology more challenging and, as a result, may actively resist any business process changes where digital transformation is the focus.

To avoid any rejection of digital adaptations of business processes, it is best practice to find a happy medium. This can be achieved by not overcomplicating the technology and unintentionally edging out older or less adept users.

3.  Understand how you are going to manage expectations

Managing expectation is a major part of any successful business transformation process, especially when implementing new processes.

When looking to digitally transform an enterprise, the best way you can manage expectation is to understand what it means to fail. Acknowledge that you may fail and quickly learn from the mistakes.

Here at Myriad Technologies, we use the term “fail often, fail fast.” This means mistakes are welcome. We need to recognize when something has failed and move on quickly instead of lingering on the mistake. It is vital that an organization recognize when it makes mistakes, and learn from each one so that mistakes are not repeated.

Set this expectation with your employees and they will be less afraid to embrace new technologies.

4.  Choose the right technology for your organization

Be transparent about your technology decisions as they relate to digital transformation while making sure these choices meet your business requirements and employees’ skill sets.

A myriad of technology choices are available to you when it comes t0 digitally transforming your business processes. Technologies such the Nintex Platform, as well as other third-party options, are all designed with digital transformation in mind. Focus on finding the right fit for you and your organization.

5.  Recognize that technology is not a silver bullet

It is important to keep in mind that it’s impossible to just buy a technology and “plug it in.” The technology needs to be adopted by employees who will use it.  Select a technology platform that supports your business needs.

This approach will help your organization save time and money by reducing the amount of learning required.

Processes

6.  Predetermine and understand your business strategy

Business automation does not happen overnight. Though automating your processes doesn’t necessarily need to be a huge financial or time commitment, it should be looked at as such rather than “just another project.”

Long-term sustainability should be at the forefront of thought when defining and selecting your business strategy for digital transformation. To create the strategy, the business and its processes need to be defined initially as high-level requirements, and from there a strategy for implementing the technologies to meet those requirements can be put in place.

7.  Know your current state – where you are at and where you want to be

Understanding your current state and what you want your future state to look like is key to the successful implementation of technology.

Walk before you run. When imagining your future-state business processes, it is important to know that taking a “big bang” approach will not work. It is worthwhile to put multiple steps in place along the way to reaching digital transformation to walk confidently before you run into production.

Empowering your line of business (LOB) workers to automate their own processes is a good step to achieving enterprise-wide adoption.

8.  Define your governance

Governance needs to be at the heart of every business process. When looking at digital transformation, governance should include (but is not limited to):

  • Defining the process – making use of service catalogs and/or process hubs
  • Creating process owners – these owners should be business roles, not IT
  • Use of policy and legislative – to guide the definition of governance to fall within business rules
  • Strategic governance – understanding and defining what the business should be doing
  • Operational governance – understanding and defining what the business is actually doing

9.  Correctly implement your governance

It is one thing to understand and define governance, but quite another to ensure that governance is correctly and continually implemented within the new business processes.

Governance should be headed by a steering committee that is responsible for creating, implementing, and continually updating the governance plan. Within the creation and updating of the governance plan, there should also be continual open discussions around what makes sense to the business to ensure the governance plan is kept aligned with the strategy that has been set by the business.

Customers

10.  Measure customer satisfaction

The main goal of digitally transforming your business is to ensure that an organization is keeping up with the digital times andc remains relevant and satisfactory to its customers.

The simplest way to do this is to measure customer satisfaction, particularly with process analytics set around overall satisfaction, communication, quality, timeliness and more. These measurements will help the organization understand whether the internal success of their digital transformation journey is reflecting externally to their customers.

It might be a buzzword, but digital transformation is a reality and a necessity in today’s environment. The term encompasses a lot more than most businesses will admit to understanding.

It is not a simple solution.

Much consideration needs to be taken when undertaking such vast changes. I can assure you that the effort is worth it. When it is all said and done you’ll only be asking yourself why you didn’t join the digital revolution sooner.

 

Interested in learning more about the Nintex Platform? Contact a Nintex representative today. 

 

 

James Milne

James Milne is a proud Nintex vTE, former Microsoft MVP and CTO of Myriad Technologies. Since founding Myriad Technologies in 2007, James has been an industry leader in the world of Microsoft, iOra and Nintex. Of recent years, James is known for his work with Hawkes Bay Regional Council, which has automated many of their business processes using the Nintex Workflow Platform.