One Small Trick Could Determine Your Success at Digital

You can buy all the right technology, train teams on the latest development methodology, spend millions on a top shelf strategy consulting firm and still fail at digital – if you haven’t solved for Conway’s Law:

‘Organizations which design systems (in the broad sense) are constrained to produce designs which are copies of the communication structures of these organizations.’ – Mel Conway, How Do Committee’s Invent?

In other words, if your organization is fragmented, and you create a digital system for customer interaction, your customer experience will be fragmented and nothing kills digital efforts like a fragmented customer experience. Mastering the digital value chain requires that people – customers, partners, employees, communicate across it with as little friction as possible. The same pattern plays itself out again and again – those organizations that communicate well create compelling digital experiences with ever greater speed and creativity. Those who don’t fail – no matter how much they spend.

Here are six clear signs your organization could be headed for digital trouble:

Death by a thousand cuts – Critical projects stall because teams spend weeks trying to get access to data or networks they need. Resolving the issue requires escalation up to one VP over to another, and back down again. Several weeks pass because busy executives don’t have time to bicker over file access. Momentum dies. Spirits are crushed. Requirements are forgotten. Before the project even begins, everyone is praying for it to end quickly. Multiply this across every project being undertaken, and your digital program will die by a thousand tiny cuts.

The right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing – Digital transformation kicks off! New business initiatives are launched; apps are built, teams train on agile/devops, APIs are exposed, and ‘two-speed IT’ is implemented, all as separate projects – with no coordination between them, regard for business objectives, or thought about impact on customer experience.

Millions of ££, hundreds of man-hours, and thousands of lines of code later, the results are in: digital businesses with no apps, apps that drive no business, unused and unusable APIs and two massive IT factions at war with each other.

Buying a platform on an instalment plan – It’s determined that a digital platform must be built, one that is customer-centric, extensible, enables innovation, provides for business agility, and leverages big data. The value of such a platform? The sum total of all future company revenue.

But the whole organization is designed around the annual planning cycle – not customer experience. Each project is still subjected to narrow NPV analysis that is designed to cut IT cost to the bone and ignores optional value.  Meanwhile, digital competitors are investing heavily in building out broadly conceived and funded digital capabilities focused on delighting customers.

The Solution starts at the top – Senior leaders need to talk with each other about the implications of the Digital Value Chain. Directly. Across functions. In person. Without proxies. Without slides. No multi-tasking.

Create a system that enables each participant in the digital value chain to self-serve the information, access and/or data, when they need it. Communication doesn’t necessarily mean ‘talking’ or ‘meetings’. Instead use technology. Create APIs to enable developers to self-service back end resources with no hassle.

There’s plenty of peril in the world of digital transformation – improve your odds for success, and avoid certain failure by following a few simple rules. If you need help with any aspect of your move to a smarter, faster and better business please get in touch – (0) 1582 870180. This is what ardent does best, we help all our clients understand their issues, find the best solutions, build and implement them and support their future growth.

This clip was taken from a piece on digital strategy by John Rethans