The Friction Points in Going Digital
Blog: The Tibco Blog
Digital business is no longer just a hot topic, it has become the top priority for many organizations. This change isn’t going to happen without friction. Companies big and small are being pushed by competitive forces and cost to adapt their products, services, and even their core business model to a more modern marketplace. Customers are found through digital means—often the focus of digital hype—but so are shipping partners, parts suppliers, and everyone else in the supply chain. Internally, the move to digital is impacting employee platforms from HR to collaboration. Whether forced to become digital or moving under their own volition, this change creates stresses on organizations that are morale busters, costly, and potentially risky to employers and their employees’ careers.
An important way to get a handle on change is to recognize in advance where to expect the friction points. This allows a business to get ahead of change, set expectations correctly, and minimize the damage. Unsurprisingly, those friction points are the same place where the greatest untapped value is found. There are three that stand out as places to put attention:
Interconnecting everything: The first point of friction is how things are connected. What were once manual tasks and person-to-person handoffs need to become automated and digital. Seems obvious but this isn’t so simple. Lots of digital transformation has happened as silos of technology. Salesforce, Workday, and a host of other platforms need to talk to each other before the value of digital business is captured. TIBCO recently launched Simplr for this very reason, but interconnection doesn’t stop with connecting apps. There’s a need to pull together dynamic processes, various on-premise, and cloud-based systems that may or may not have been designed for today’s problems, and to connect with platforms anywhere and everywhere. This pulls in other technologies that include old-fashioned integration and a very hot new technology: APIs. This is a friction point because businesses that have data silos remain manual long after the opportunity exists to accelerate value through automation.
Augmenting intelligence: Once you begin to connect so many things, data becomes far more readily available, which is a blessing and a curse. Being awash in data can be worse than the old model and a major source of friction. Organizations have to realize that data is the gold that has to be mined for its value, often using new tools that were built for this purpose. Some of that mining occurs in real-time as data streams across networks and between applications, while other data needs to be pulled into reports and dashboards. Pull together enough data and an organization is able to build rich visualizations that change the very nature of how the business is run. They move from simple dashboards, to more complex visualizations, to the point where predictive analytics can look into the future. This isn’t about robots taking over…the ability to augment intelligence comes from putting human experts alongside the power of analytics to create the best possible outcome.
Personnel: The last point of friction is the human element. Those most rewarded by the current way of doing business are the least likely to support change. That doesn’t mean a wholesale change of people to make the model work. However, it likely means a revamp of how people are compensated so that there’s alignment between the digital goals of the organization and individual compensation plans. Organizations also need to take the time to tell employees why the model is changing and what benefits the changes bring. A little change management goes a long way. But beyond managing the change carefully, that same analytics capability that was in the second point becomes a powerful way to understand where value is being driven inside the organization and to align compensation accordingly. Planning ahead for the likely friction points is the best way to mitigate the risk during change. Working with technology partners that can manage this magnitude of change is also key to getting through the change in one piece. This is where TIBCO stands out from the crowd.