There are now a wealth of tools, technologies and platforms that can help even the most staid, hidebound organizations begin to make the journey to digital enterprise. However, becoming digital isn’t just about technology, it’s also about changing mindsets and breaking up calcified processes. For that, there isn’t a lot of guidance available — executives are basically groping along in the dark.
“Most organizations are beginning to recognize they are losing pace in today’s highly mobile, cloud-driven environment where an optimal customer experience is defined by fast, seamless and secure interactions from anywhere using any device,” said Piers Fawkes, founder of PSFK, a business innovation think tank. To address this need for greater guidance into the digital realm, Fawkes teamed with BMC, an IT tools provider, to write and release a playbook that lays down for the principles of what it takes to become digital.
While digital technology can be complicated, it isn’t necessarily that complicated to move in the right direction. There are four qualities advanced digital enterprises share, as explained in the book:
Digital enterprises keep it continuous and connected. In the digital enterprise, innovation — and thus quality improvement — should be rapid and ongoing. Keep things moving and updated on a continuous basis — especially software and applications. This starts at the employee level — the playbook urges that team members be able to “seamlessly collaborate across all platforms and devices” at all times. There are technology tools and methodologies that help with this, such as Agile, which encourages technology people to work incrementally with business users, as well as DevOps, which aligns the efforts of creators and developers with those of the operations teams responsible for making sure things are released on a regular, timely basis.
Challenges cited in the playbook include the large volumes of legacy systems and mainframes that exist that keep technology and data siloed away, as well as existing inflexible approaches to system updates and improvements. Quality also could potentially suffer during rapid release cycles — there needs to be a balance between the speed of the release and the quality of the product. Measuring success is another challenge — every company and every department tend to have their own versions of success metrics.
Digital enterprises are data-driven, or at least data-aware, to the point where they can make sense of some of it. Everyone has boatloads of data these days, but the successful digital enterprises are learning what morsels are of value, and how to extract and deliver insights from these bits. The first step is to know what big data flows are traversing the enterprise, where this data is coming from, and how trusted it is. The playbook acknowledges that some data has been available for years, while new types of data are constantly coming online. It recommends incorporating traditional data sources and key performance indicators “together with new sources such as social media and machine-generated data to gain a complete, well-rounded view of organization performance.
The challenges include choosing the right data to analyze, asking the right questions, and being able to collect, save and keep data secure.
Digital enterprises have moved their workplaces into the 21st century. By now, it’s well understood that work itself — at least the information-intensive kind — can occur anywhere, and doesn’t have to be in a 9-to-5 office. However, many organizations have not gotten the message. A digital enterprise, on the other hand, understands that its work can be accomplished from anywhere in the globe, day and night. For an organization seeking to ramp up its digital acumen, it’s just as important to digitize employee channels as it is customer channels.
The playbook recommends that enterprises “focus on providing every employee with digital solutions for requests, knowledge and access to amplify their productivity. Ensure employees can access systems and services through any device – mobile or desktop. Ensure employees can be productive immediately when visiting any office around the world upon entering.” This is an important feature for being able to attract the best and brightest talent as well.
Challenges to developing a digital workplace include the technical and operational aspects of enabling seamless collaboration and connection from any device or location, as well as being to measure employee progress. Another important challenge with any digitized workplace is ensuring data security, as sensitive information is being sent past the four walls of organizations — that’s why the playbook adds security as the fourth critical pillar of evolving to digital.
Digital enterprises make security continuous and ubiquitous as well. ”As companies accelerate their rate of innovation and offer greater access to more employees, vendors, clients and customers, they run the risk of overlooking critical security flaws and exposing sensitive data. It has become critical for organizations to streamline their security processes to ensure that all systems are challenged, tested and upgraded on an ongoing basis.”
The playbook recommends the use of “modern discovery solutions to uncover unused or unmanaged systems,” and to “close the gap between vulnerability awareness and remediation actions through improved security operations integration.” Another essential piece of this, not mentioned in the playbook, is to provide continuous training and awareness to employees and contractors about the proper handling of corporate data.
This article was written by Joe McKendrick from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.