The COVID-19 pandemic has had the most disruptive effect on businesses in a generation. There has been no choice but to adapt quickly. For innovators, the biggest change management issue of their lifetime presents an opportunity of historic proportions.
In this short article, I reveal five key themes that could suggest your organisation is more laggard than innovator. Read on to find our more and where Triad might be able to help apply over three decades worth of IT innovation experience so you can seize the IT change opportunities.
Being held captive by an inherited legacy
Technology gets old, fast, yet there are outdated business applications that are still in use. Modernisation may not be feasible via version upgrades due to falling too far behind the current version. Modernisation could be equally challenging due to heavy bespoke changes that have been made. Changes are expensive and take longer than they should due to limited knowledge regarding the application’s design. The application runs and can be kept running as-is at a much lower cost than it would to replace it. This inherited legacy can inhibit completion of digital transformation plans.
Inflexible technology platforms
Can you make hundreds of noticeable changes to your applications and test them each day or are you dependent on the drumbeat of change for large monolithic platforms? Being forced to move at the pace of the slowest will dictate how your staff and customers perceive the digital services you deliver to them.
Duplicated data, inconsistent reports
Do departmental teams rely on spreadsheets to operate? Is data extracted from a line of business system because that system is not delivering to staff what they need? These shadow IT solutions, operating without IT department approval can both help and hurt. Teams can get their job done but data is not synchronised, and the separate copies of data can give different answers to the same enquiry. Rather than a single version of the truth, you are encumbered with different and conflicting versions of a false reality.
Repetitive manual processes
Cutting and pasting data from one application to another, keying in information from a paper form or reviewing social media posts are not unusual business activities. What is unusual is the amount of manual effort that can still be required. Perhaps bad experiences with screen scraping projects or workflow software has resulted in a view that processes are not worth automating. Automation technology has significantly improved in recent years and reappraisal can yield many benefits.
Constrained ways of working and interacting
Are you able to easily extend your current operating model into many new services for staff and customers? Platform businesses do this at scale. It has worked well for Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and others. Their ability to bring together people, assets and data in an ecosystem works. The enforced working from home that we have all had to do would not have been as effective without them.
The good news is that these challenges can be overcome. Duplicated data can be solved by opening up access to data with secured application programming interfaces (APIs), with their use measured and monitored. Flexible technology platforms can be created by implementing automated and repeatable build and continuous deployment processes. Repetitive routine manual processes can also be automated through Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to increase the amount of work done. New customer interactions can be created quickly from a collection of microservices assembled into new business services that differentiate you from your competitors.
At Triad, we have experience with each of these solutions. However, continuing to serve customers is different to improving how customers are served. It is the difference between surviving and thriving. Physical businesses have been ceding ground to digital online businesses for years and this trend has been exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic. New patterns of customer behaviour are emerging, and all businesses have had to adapt quickly to change and redesign their products and services. Providing solutions to each of the themes above creates a capability to move at pace and better deal with unexpected change.
We help define, design, and deliver new innovative ways of serving your existing staff and customer needs to best position your business for recovery and sustained growth.
Technology leadership, strategy and architecture consultant