Preventing your organization from becoming a digital dinosaur

Preventing your organization from becoming a digital dinosaur

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IN BRIEF
Digital omnipresence
The omnipresence of digitalization means stakeholders expect organizations to embrace digital ways of working. A failure to do so will increasingly make your organization less competitive and attractive, and mean you miss opportunities.
Clear benefits
Digital technologies do not require your organization to transform its sense of self. Digital tools and methods can deliver performance by creating a safer workplace, enhancing productivity, driving growth and informing decision-making.
Organizational architecture
With a clear case for why organizations should digitalize, the key question is how to go about it. The Nous Organizational Architecture Framework (NOAF) is a useful mechanism to help your organization to realize its full potential.

By Rachel Kemmis and Mayank Bhutoria

Just about everything in our lives has been digitalized. At work, digital technologies have been used to automate processes, enable remote work, synthesize business intelligence and generate novel products. And at home, from banking to travel to fitness, we rely on digital approaches to carry the mental load and make us more efficient.

Despite this, in our work with an array of organizations, we have observed that some leaders remain reluctant to embrace or prioritize digitalization. This is unsurprising given the many stories of digital transformations that have gone over budget, over schedule and failed to deliver the promised benefits. Common sentiments include:

  • “Digitalization has its benefits, but our customers prefer our current channels of service delivery.”
  • “The IT department have it under control.”
  • “We are not ready to take the ‘risk’ of going digital.”

Do these sound familiar? If so, we think it is time to reconsider.

The omnipresence of digitalization means customers, employees and other stakeholders expect organizations to embrace digital ways of working. A failure to do so will increasingly make your organization less competitive and attractive, and mean you miss opportunities.

Importantly, as digitalization has become more prevalent, tools and methods have become more accessible for all organizations.

When thinking about digitalization your organization should no longer be asking “Why?” but “How?”. The challenge is identifying where to start and what digital approaches are best suited to your organization.

We are pleased to share some ideas on how you can lead your organization through digitalization, along with some examples of sectors that have demonstrated the art of the possible.

What does ‘going digital’ mean?

Digital technologies are tools and systems that generate, store or process information. As a way of working, ‘being digital’ is about using digital technologies to achieve outcomes including:

Digitalization will improve your business’ productivity and performance

Although digital technologies are inherently transformational for efficiency and experience, they do not require your organization to transform its sense of self. Digital tools and methods can deliver performance by:

  • creating a safer workplace, through informing risk management and mitigation
  • enhancing productivity, through automating manual processes and enabling your staff to do their tasks more effectively
  • driving growth, through creating space for your staff to spend more time on high-value activities, including innovation
  • informing decision-making, through providing data on trends and allowing ongoing monitoring and evaluation of progress.

But while there is significant upside to moving toward digitalization, there are also significant costs to standing still, otherwise known as technology debt. The longer you hold the debt, higher the risks.

 

‘Going digital’ is easier than you think

Fears that ‘going digital’ is too hard or too expensive leave some leaders reluctant to pursue or prioritize digitalization. While this might be true for a digital transformation, it is not the case for harnessing digital enablers to improve your current business model. We all saw this demonstrated during COVID-19 across many industries.

Identifying the opportunities and challenges across your organization is the critical first step

With a clear case for why organizations should digitalize, the key question is how to go about it. The Nous Organizational Architecture Framework (NOAF), a long-standing framework used by Nous consultants around the world, is a useful mechanism to help your organization to realize its full potential.

Starting from the organization’s vision and mission, the NOAF identifies the critical enablers and levers available to you to achieve your desired future state. We have adapted the NOAF to help organizations identify the gaps digitalization can fill. This tailored NOAF prompts your organization to consider questions across the breadth of your enterprise:

Importantly, digital ways of working can augment activities across the breadth of your enterprise. You will only get the full benefit when every part of the organization is leveraging digital tools to reduce overheads, innovate and meet the expectations of employees, customers and stakeholders.

Where can you start?

From our experience working with a wide array of organizations, we have identified early steps and priorities. Where you start should be grounded in the insights derived from considering your organizational framework through a digital lens.

 

It can be valuable to use a trusted independent expert to facilitate conversations with your leaders to identify your next steps, develop your digital roadmap and action plan, and generate buy-in and momentum for change.

Being a digitally enabled organization is no longer cutting edge, but ignoring the opportunities puts your organization at risk of being a digital dinosaur. Enabling your organization to flourish by seizing the opportunities presented by digital technologies should be at the top of every organization’s and leader’s strategic agenda in 2023.

Get in touch to explore how we can help your organization to go digital.

Connect with Rachel Kemmis on LinkedIn.

Co-authored with Mayank Bhutoria during his time as a Director at Nous Group.

Prepared with support from Sarah Harriss and Simon Guttmann.

Published on 2 December 2022.

AUTHORS
09/12/2022
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