With 2017 behind us, my 2020 high beams are revealing a blistering pace of change for business and information technology leaders in 2018. This pivotal year of digital transformation will separate those that thrive, from mere survivors. Regulated businesses, such as Financial / Insurance Services, Healthcare, and Life Sciences, (even the energy sector) over the past few years are revealing similarities as five interrelated dynamics emerge forcing business leaders to rethink or refine their approach to accelerating innovation across the Enterprise.

Warp Speed

Five Forces Driving Digital Innovation

  • Engagement Migration – Rising demand to move from physical to digital engagement.
  • Constituent Dynamics – Expectations of exceptional EXPERIENCE from customers, patients, employees, & partners, the constituents that engage & drive your business’ success.
  • Market Dynamics – Rapid innovations create new competition and business models that leverage new digital tools and self-service platforms.
  • Regulatory Requirements – From GDPR, GLBA, and FTC regulations to CAN-SPAM, HIPAA, and more. Regulations pressure data management and security methods.
  • Cybercrime – Securing data within the walls of your business and authenticating access from the outside. Cyber-thieves continually prey on the unsuspecting and ill-prepared.

These forces are not new. However, the exponential impact they can pose creates an immediate need to address them simultaneously; “Top of the List” requirements include:

  • Engaging key stakeholders in the development of innovation through Design Thinking and technology performance ownership of business objectives.
  • Ensuring a constituent-centric agile approach to drive quick success or failure.
  • Integrating disparate solutions to enable optimal data flow and usage by internal and external constituents (customers, patients, partners, employees, etc.).
  • Managing, controlling, and simplifying access to data while keeping it secure.
  • Accelerating adoption of a “Digital Workforce” to improve sales and operational efficiency, regulatory compliance, insights & reporting, as well as constituent experience.

The industry elites are taking action to gain or extend competitive differentiation by accelerating innovation. The secret to producing exponential returns is executing “technology mashups” combining Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Business Process Management (BPM), Risk-Based Authentication (RBA), low-code development platforms, and digital engagement tools.  Thriving in the digital world requires wisely blending technologies to coalesce experience-centric improvements in availability, accessibility, and convenience.

Attaining warp speed requires more than the ability to leverage new technologies. Winning requires a cultural shift to continuously innovate by design within an agreed upon enterprise framework that optimizes data access, flow, and security.

Aligning Business and IT

While technology may offer the means, the objectives are business driven. Increasingly the Business determines the capabilities necessary, selects the enabling technology, and works with IT to tailor and implement it according to their requirements. The absence of governance and proper oversight, however, can stress building a cohesive enterprise architecture.

The last few years business leaders have struggled culturally to maintain an entrepreneurial spirit that encourages innovation.  Many leaders have difficulty keeping up with the hyper-speed introduction of new technologies. It’s easy to allow ad-hoc solutions to run rampant as department heads try to address issues within their silo. Business and IT have to align centered on a Digital Solution Approach methodology and framework. Digital Steering Committees must establish a Model to deliver Discipline Autonomy within a Digital Innovation Framework.

Vaughn flow chart

While IT must remain accountable for system availability, the “Business” is accountable for leveraging chosen solutions to drive business objectives. Striking the right balance between Control and Freedom falls on the Digital Steering Committee headed by the CDO or CIO.

So how can Business and IT teams collaborate to identify the needed capabilities, prioritize the deliverables, and expedite receiving value from innovations?

No one knows your business better than you do. And hopefully, no one knows your customers, patients, partners, and employees (constituents) better either. Therefore, the answers lie within your teams; companies wishing to thrive must master the art of Design Thinking:

  • Identify key stakeholders from Business and IT to facilitate design thinking.
  • Identify and quantify PAIN; the problems or challenges within current practices, the impact to end-user experience, and the cost (money, time, effort) of status quo.
  • Brainstorm and visualize solutions and capability requirements.
  • Identify and rank the potential value of each for the business and your constituents.
  • Prioritize the required capabilities and solutions.
  • Empower your IT/Development team to shape a Design Thinking Agile Approach to deliver a minimum viable solution and subsequent solution upgrades.
  • Quickly test solutions; choose to refine or discontinue. Continuously innovate focusing on your constituents to deliver exceptional experiences and performance improvement.

In the end, it’s a matter of innovating or being overtaken. Companies that can quickly deliver solutions that improve the Digital Experience for all constituents will find the holy grail of competitive differentiation.

Whether serving your customers, patients, partners, or employees, remember that people seek association with the Jetsons, not the Flintstones. Ok, I know warp speed is from Star Trek, but you get the point. 2018 is a pivotal year to accelerate your pace of adoption and continuously innovate.

Need help, check out www.persistent.com. 

Author: Vaughn Rachal (Sr. Director, Digital Sales) | @vrachal