Large and mid-size organizations have invested millions in new ERP-systems, Communication systems, Cloud solutions, BI-systems, Data Warehouses, Excel solutions, ETL-systems and other systems, in order to be more efficient and to take part in the digitalization era. In addition to this, most organizations see huge potensial in state-of-the-art PCs, laptops, tablets or smartphones for their employees. With these tools you can communicate using Skype, Lync, Snapchat, Slack, E-mail 1,2 and 3, LinkedIn, Messenger, Google Apps, Facebook, MyPage 1, 2 and 3 and so forth, when and wherever you want. We become more Lean and Agile, we deploy hundreds of KPIs, we analyze the numbers till they become meaningless, and ultimately present them to each other as if it was art.
By all means. This is digitalization. But do we sell more of our goods and services? Have we become more efficient? Have we increased the quality of our deliveries? Do we work smarter? Certainly, to an extent, but do our investments really pay off, in time and money?
Sure there are some organizations where systems are streamlined, structured and seamlessly integrated. For the vast majority however, I believe the situation is bewildering and even chaotic.
We have to get rid of redundant data and solutions, causing unnecessary costs and waste. There is too much overlapping data and too many overlapping solutions across most organizations.
Strategy gatherings and steering-committee meetings were something I attended occasionally during a period when I ran my own companies. Vision, Mission, Long-Term- and Short-Term goals, Targets, Value Proposition, SWOTs etc., and finally Actions. The plans could lay on my desk for years, nicely wrapped in professional layouts, containing none-sense slogans, like “we are world leading…” or “we are connecting …”, never to be revisited. Daily life continued and we went on with “business as usual”.
In good times, this strategy works just fine. It doesn’t matter if you fail now and then. You can afford it after all. But what could happen today, when things tighten and gets tougher. Can we succeed, using the same approach? Perhaps, for a short period, but probably not for long.
So don’t let digitalization kill you, by adding even more systems and solutions, and don’t be stuck in old-fashioned, top-down strategy methodology. Take control and put youself in the drivers seat in the digitalization process. Deploy a more agile planning methodology, in order to dectect more precisely where and how a new or adjusted solution should be applied.
Transform gradually to be a more agile organization, prepared for forthcoming volatile markets and rough conditions.
Adopt gradually to the right digital mindset and start smart business modeling.
Organize your key numbers and re-model your most critical business processes in order to become more precise and smarter in your daily forcasting and planning.
Get creative and start The Never-Ending Planning LOOP
RE-VISIT your strategy plan, turn it up-side down, and find out how new technology really can boost your business.
TOP-DOWN (current situation)
Begin with a simple and tradional review of your system portfolio and take a deeper look at the relationship beween your business processes and how they are supported by technology. Check how exposed you are for human error. Analyze the affinity between entities, and put a price on the time your are wasting on maintaining redundancy. Close your eyes and imagine all the spreadsheets that float around in your organization, containing duplicated, critical information and hidden business logic.
BOTTOM-UP (new opportunities)
Now, when you have a good overview of the current situation, continue with out-of-the-box brainstorming and find out how technology really can make a difference and make it your competitive edge.
TOP-DOWN-BUTTOM-UP-MERGE (best from both approaches)
Merge your Top-Down analysis with the Bottom-Up findings and adjust your business model to current reality, and take needed action.
The devil is in the details, but don’t spend too much time on non-critical processes, however. Additional systems are most likely not the key. Consider utilizing existing ones and/or replace them with new real cloud-based solutions if required, or simply throw them away.
Adjust your business model according to findings. Experiment with various strategies before actually implementing them.
The implementation process could be a list of improvements, organizational, technical or any business model adjustment.
Planalot uses Anaplan as a cross-organizational platform for any improvement related to forcasting and planning within Finance, HR, Sales, Logistics etc., not only as a “digitalization engine” as stated in this article. Give us a shout if you want to hear more.
Reidar Kjørsvik, Senior digital consultant and Anaplanner in Planalot AS
Some interesting stuff:
You can read more about opportunity-driven leaders in this LinkedIn article The Arc Of Life