Top 5 Articles of 2017

Thank you to the readers in 106 countries that read my articles in 2017. Following are the top 5 articles that you have been interested in:

  1. Is Internet a Distributed System?
  2. What is the relationship between Cloud Computing and Service Orientated Architecture (SOA)?
  3. How to select an Enterprise Architecture Framework?
  4. Healthcare.gov – Who is at fault?
  5. 5 Questions to Ask About Your Business Transformation

Following are the top 20 countries where most readers have come from:

  1. United States
  2. India
  3. Canada
  4. United Kingdom
  5. Pakistan
  6. Australia
  7. Philippines
  8. Germany
  9. Malaysia
  10. Netherlands
  11. Singapore
  12. Sweden
  13. France
  14. South Africa
  15. South Korea
  16. Saudi Arabia
  17. Brazil
  18. Indonesia
  19. Switzerland
  20. Spain
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75 Questionable Thoughts About Organizational Transformation

Questionable Thoughts

  1. Strategies
    • People
      • Only executives can transform organizations
      • Internal expertise have no/minimum value
      • Everyone will be eager to contribute
    • Processes
      • Internal business processes and Information Technology (IT) processes don’t matter
      • Interfacing processes with partners and vendors don’t matter
      • All processes and standard operating procedures (SOPs) have been documented and followed without deviation
    • Products
      • Our products can’t serve beyond current client industries
      • We don’t need to look for best-of-breed products
      • We don’t need product evaluation feedbacks from customers, employees, partners and vendors
    • Services
      • Employee experiences are not important
      • Customer experiences are not important
      • Partners and vendors’ experiences are not important
    • Technologies
      • IT doesn’t need to get involved
      • Shadow-IT doesn’t exist
      • IT is just an enabler
  1. Politics
    • People
      • All title-holders have the same power
      • Only leaders can be the go-to people
      • There are no biases at play
    • Processes
      • We always have fair ways of making decisions
      • We always methodically assess power and its affects
      • Power-grabs don’t happen
    • Products
      • Personal experiences don’t affect product selection
      • Personal experiences don’t affect product selling
      • Personal experiences don’t affect product development
    • Services
      • There is no correlation between employee services and customer services
      • Customer services don’t affect partners and vendors
      • Unconscious favoritism doesn’t happen during decision-making
    • Technologies
      • Technologies keep us unbiased
      • The ecosystem of technologies ends within organizational boundaries
      • IT can’t help
  1. Innovation
    • People
      • There is no correlation between organizational innovation and individuals being innovative
      • The innovation and experimentation of partners and vendors don’t affect us
      • People need to explore being innovative in their own time
    • Processes
      • Incremental and disruptive innovations follow same processes
      • Can’t learn from others failures
      • Innovation doesn’t require a methodical process
    • Products
      • A particular department/individual is responsible for innovation
      • Innovation of others doesn’t affect us
      • There is no need to have feedback loops from employees, customers, partners and vendors
    • Services
      • Only customer services can improve customer services
      • There is no need to test and improve customer service journeys
      • Wise to follow industry status quo standards
    • Technologies
      • There is no innovation left in technologies
      • Adapting technologies is the easiest thing to do
      • IT is a cost center and doesn’t require an innovation budget
  1. Culture
    • People
      • Only executives can set the cultural norms
      • External environments don’t affect culture
      • Culture is only about people
    • Processes
      • Business processes and IT processes don’t create culture
      • Culture is unquantifiable
      • Culture isn’t a learned behavior
    • Products
      • Culture doesn’t impact the products we buy
      • Culture doesn’t impact the products we sell
      • Culture has no implications on product development
    • Services
      • Culture doesn’t impact the services we buy
      • Culture doesn’t impact the services we sell
      • Culture has no implications on employee and customer journeys
    • Technologies
      • Technologies can’t augment culture
      • Technologies can’t destroy culture
      • Culture-clashes need to be normalized
  1. Execution
    • People
      • Preparing sponsors, champions and leaders isn’t necessary
      • Only a handful need to know about the overall strategy
      • Layoffs are on the table
    • Processes
      • No business processes and IT processes need to be adopted for transformation
      • No business processes and IT processes need to be adapted for transformation
      • No business processes and IT processes need to be abandoned for transformation
    • Products
      • Don’t need to learn and quantify how products succeeded
      • Don’t need to learn and quantify how products failed
      • Customer, employee, partner and vendor product usage has no relevance
    • Services
      • Customer experiences isn’t a priority to execute strategy
      • Employee experiences isn’t a priority to execute strategy
      • Don’t need to map the gaps of experiences
    • Technologies
      • Technologies can’t be used to execute strategy
      • Technologies can’t be misused to execute strategy
      • Technologies aren’t and can’t be ingrained into every aspect of executing strategy

Business Agility and Digital Transformation

What is Business Agility?

  • Business is “the activity of making, buying, or selling goods or providing services in exchange for…”
    • Corporations –> Money
    • Non-profits –> Social Causes
    • Education –> Knowledge
    • Government –> Citizen Services
    • Military –> National Defense
  • Agility is the “ability to move quickly and easily.”
  • Business Agility is the ability to move quickly and easily to:
    • Make products and services
    • Buy products and services
    • Sell products and services
    • Provide products and services

to employees and customers along with the ability to effectively and efficiently collaborate with partners and vendors.

What is Digital Transformation?

  • Digital is “electronic and especially computerized technology.”
  • Transformation is “an act, process, or instance of transforming or being transformed.”
  • Digital Transformation is the process of transforming:
    • How things are made
    • How things are bought
    • How things are sold
    • How products and services are provided
  • through electronic and especially computerized technology.

What is the Relationships between Business Agility and Digital Transformation?

  • All organizations are digital in one way or another. Some are more digital and some are less but fundamentally they utilize a mix of the following to achieve their desired outcomes and capabilities:
    • People who use technologies
    • Processes enabled by technologies
    • Technologies to capture and synthesize data
  • In order for your organization to survive and thrive in today’s hyper competitive business environments, your organization should have:
    • People who can quickly make decisions on how products and services are created, bought, sold and provided
    • Processes that reduce time between data capture to informed decision-making
    • Technologies that capture, manage and disseminate data quickly to decision-makers

Note that without Digital Transformation, achieving Business Agility is a hallucination!

Understand your Present to Create your Future

  • Do an honest and comprehensive analysis of how business is done currently
  • Holistically understand how current people, processes, technologies, products and services (business and technical) are affected by Strategies, Politics, Innovation, Culture and Execution (SPICE) factors
  • Determine if current capture of KPIs, SLAs and other metrics (e.g., employee incentives) are just for collection or are these measurements truly bringing change within the organization

SPICE Factors

While it is great to imagine and document your future, but any shortcuts you take in the assessing your present will come back to haunt you in the future!

Analysis

Today (Where you are)

  • Create a list of roles and responsibilities for everyone in your organization, partners and vendors
  • Map hybrid business processes that show people-technology interactions
  • Determine what data is being captured, managed and disseminated during people-technology interactions
  • Determine the relevancy of the data for informed decision-making
  • Assign a cost to each business process
  • Assess how quickly and easily your organization can respond to employee and customer needs
  • Determine the various obstacles that result in poor execution of strategy
  • Understand organizational and individual biases

Tomorrow (Where you want to be)

  • Eliminate overlapping and redundant roles and responsibilities that don’t provide value to your organization
  • Create governance, functions, teams and business processes that optimize use of data across people and technologies
  • Create metrics that result in effective decision-making and lessons learned to improve those metrics
  • Communicate effectively to eliminate any preconceived notions of your transformation journeys
  • Create test labs for all employees to test business models, enhance current capabilities and new capabilities
  • Create a new culture through norms, standards, communications and incentives and know that not everyone is motivated by the same things
  • Continuously self-evaluate your maturity level and make use of lessons learned

Asking Questions

  • Strategy
    • Who is affected by transformation?
    • What siloed/outdated/imaginary/undocumented processes are affecting strategic execution?
    • What technology and non-technology tools are used to make strategic decision?
  • Politics
    • Who is distorting transformation communications?
    • What processes and data are leading to transformation easily being vetoed?
    • What technologies decisions are empowering transformation?
  • Innovation
    • Who is assessing frontline employees, external customers, similar industries and different industries to bring innovation to the organization?
    • What processes are in place to raise people’s ability to contribute?
    • Are there technologies to test out new capabilities and business models?
  • Culture
    • Who is motivated to participate in transformation journeys?
    • What kind of processes are in place to encourage culture change?
    • What kinds of technologies are used to assess culture and changes?
  • Execution
    • Who is setting the expectation at all levels for the transformation journeys?
    • What processes are in place that obstruct strategic execution?
    • What technologies are in place that obstruct strategic execution?

Transitions

  • Organizational Structures
    • Optimize organizational structures based on a mix of functions, products, services and geography
    • Create formal and informal strategic linking through processes and coordination
  • Governance and Processes
    • Create governance structures and processes to evaluate how data can be captured, managed, modeled, assembled and deployed
  • People
    • Find people from top, middle and frontlines to champion transformation journeys
    • Show how transformation actually makes people’s lives easier
  • Program Mission
    • Views transformation journeys as an investment portfolio of multiple projects and operations
    • Connects business and technical operations to business capabilities and outcomes
    • Measures relevant metrics and abandon irrelevant metrics that cannot be connected to business value
    • Creates alignment of IT with non-IT functions (e.g., Accounting, Administration, Business Development, Customer Service, Finance, HR, Management, Manufacturing, Operations, Productions, R&D, Sales etc.)
    • Creates effective feedback loops across the organization