Technology is constantly changing – are you? As a person it’s not so hard to keep up if (like me) technology is your passion, but changing a business, especially a large enterprise, to keep up can be a much harder pivot to make.
There are many key areas of a business that need to affect and be effected by change in technology and that need consideration as a whole as well as individually. Working on just a few areas will work, but the most agile organisations are constantly working on all these areas.
Let me introduce you to my own Framework and in a series of Posts I’ll elaborate deeper on each of the elements in the diagram below.
So, what does it mean – well, from a technical perspective it’s simply not enough to just focus on “people and process”. There are traditional ways of thinking we need to remove – like bi-annual technology reviews, 3 year projects etc. The key components to a “Change enterprise” are that;
Time is linear – I know, obvious right – so why do we keep drawing it as circles. We can’t revisit time, we can’t unmake progress and we should not be focusing on the past other than a reference for improvement measurement.
Change is a constant – another common saying, but I mean it’s not something we can put off, a strategy to deal with changes is needed – I know we cannot predict the future (although I do try in many blog posts to see patterns in technology changes) but we certainly can be aware that it’s not going to be the same and that we’ll need to be changing with it.
You can’t sweat IT assets anymore – Sorry CFO’s it’s over, the days of keeping an office version for 10 years + are long gone and you need to see the effect that this type of thinking will have on staff retention and business innovation. The same is true for on premises servers, hardware, local drives etc. You have to start thinking about IT as leveraging what is available to it’s best ability, forget future proofing systems, simply keep changing them to keep up – it’s a different model but not a less efficient one.
Great People will want to work with Great technology – I know you all see this coming, Gen Z will likely want to work in a very different way, just look at the Electric Vehicle revolution, my son insists he will never learn to drive and that he will simply leverage a gig economy or self driving EVs.
Community – This is in the inner ring because it spans all areas of business and is a fundamental concept of modern working. Creating communities is the hallmark of a Change Enterprise – it’s where skills and enthusiasm trump job title and role. It’s a shift in people and performance management that feels like a leap of faith but can deliver the most outstanding value. Communities are groups of unrelated people in an organisation that want to improve performance or productivity – engaged community members want to help the organisation grow and are permitted a platform to prove it. These are the people that you want to nurture in your business and connecting them with like-minded folks will massively improve retention too. I’ve seen this work in some of the largest enterprises and also in smaller teams.
Understanding these concepts let’s quickly cover the main areas of the Framework;
Benefits of Office 365, Microsoft Teams, Azure, Cloud services
Now I’m very focused on the technologies that work and for me one of the key parts of the pictures is Microsoft Office 365 and Azure – I realise that there are other platforms out there that are in use for other reasons, but let me be clear – I believe that the best tools (as I’ll discuss later) are the integrated kind and no other service provider has got the inter-connectivity that Microsoft has coupled with the identity management and single pane of glass view – yet!. Anyone that knows me will have heard me say that if other platforms worked better for business then I would be using them – simply put, Microsoft if the business platform of choice for millions of businesses and billions of users – here ends my justification of platform bias – by all means hit me up for a coffee to argue that one out, I’m open to your views too.
Understand People – Collaboration vs Co-ordination, Define business processes and requirements
You will need to look at your business as if it were brand new and consider what business processes would help, not what we’ve always done – but what we need to be more competitive, productive and useful.
Focus on Value – Continual development delivering value without constant focus on budget
I’ve seen some outstanding results achieved when organisations move from a cost per project, project justification and spend allocation mentality to simply continual development – I’ll dive into detail on this in a focused post.
Always Integrate – Leverage integrated platforms with connectors and integrated services
Easy to say, but it should be the first question on an IT investment, change, improvement, not the last – let’s not fall in love with features before we know the technology does not fit the overall strategy.
Empower Self Service – Delegate with tools to allow users to provision what they need without intervention
Removing reliance on IT for standard business needs, creating teams, sites, claiming expenses etc. leaves IT free to work on the strategy, security and control of knowledge and data in the business. The IT team should spend less time following processes where the approval is always given – find areas of the business where it is perceived that raising and ticket and having IT create something is simply perceived as control, but actually a roadblock to progress for the requester.
OK – this is getting into a long post, and I know I will put this and my framework together as a white paper eventually but I wanted to introduce, get feedback, start discussion etc – all the great things a blog allows us to do. So, I’ll follow with a series of deep dives in each area each week – please get in touch if you have specific knowledge, stories or insight to share on these areas and #LetsGetCoffee