The podcast on organizational excellence includes topics on leadership, digital transformation, strategic planning, customer and market focus, enterprise information and analysis, Process management, Project Management, Program and Portfolio Management, PMO (Project Management Office), Business Agility, Process Re-engineering, and Business outcomes. Subscribe at www.CorpExcellence.com.
Design Thinking – The What, Why, and How?
In this episode we cover the topic of design thinking, which is a problem-solving approach used in the design and development of products and services and in solving other problems as well. In this episode, we will answer the following questions:
* What is design thinking?
* Why should organizations adopt this practice or approach for designing and developing their products and services?
* How’s it being used in organizations and in the industry today?
* What types of tools are used for design thinking?
(Part 2) Digital Transformation Maturity Framework (Operational Excellence and Organizational Culture)
What’s the role of operational excellence in an organization’s digital transformation journey? How important is the role of organizational culture in that journey? What are the elements of organizational culture that are linked to an organization’s digital transformation efforts?
In today’s episode, we will continue our discussion on the digital maturity framework. In part 1 we covered the first three elements of the digital maturity framework, which are innovation, market alignment, and customer centricity. In today’s part 2 of the episode, we will cover the remaining two, yet important elements, which have to do with operational excellence and organizational culture. So, let’s dive into both of those.
The fourth but critical facet about achieving digital maturity is that of achieving operational excellence.
Before jumping in to discuss how digital can help an organization achieve operational excellence, let’s first define the term and understand its impact on the overall performance of an organization. Operational excellence refers to successful execution of an organization’s strategy through lower operational costs and controlling various types of risks while delivering maximum possible value in terms of revenue and overall performance. So, from this definition, we can see that while the choice of an organization’s strategy ensures that an organization is heading in the right direction, operational excellence ensures that successful execution of that strategy results in maximum performance and value for the organization and its shareholders.
To get a better understanding of operational excellence, it would be better to review specific scenarios on how organizations work to achieve operational excellence as part of their digital transformation strategies.
* Operational excellence involves a redesign of an organizations’ business processes. As digital is enabling organizations to scale their business processes to handle more volume of transactions, growth in customers, online reach to varied audiences, and more, organizations work to redesign their business processes to scale and meet the growing needs of organizations
* Operational excellence is about process improvement. To increase efficiency and minimize waste, increase effectiveness, and overall value, organizations engage in various continuous improvement initiatives and attempt to instill that culture throughout the organization and its processes. Organizations are also looking holistically at all their business processes and finding opportunities where processes can be designed more effectively by bringing down silos and making the overall delivery process more agile.
* Operational excellence is about maximizing the effectiveness of an organization’s delivery pipeline. This involves establishing a project and program management culture, practices and processes, which ensure that an organization’s initiatives and projects are aligned to an organization’s strategy, that the right projects are selected for execution maximizing an organization’s investments, and maximizing the returns on projects that are selected for execution.
* Operational excellence is about optimizing an organization’s resources. Here organizations ensure that their resource allocation across the organization are optimized and result in the most bang for the dollars that they invest in resources.
* Operational excellence is about managing digital transformation and change effectively within the organization. As digitalization of organizations involves a major change within organizations, operational excellence practices ensure that these changes are well managed throughout their lifecycle.
* Organizations scoring high on Operational excellence measures have a strong and modernized technology platform. Such organizations are investing
(Part 1) Digital Transformation Maturity Framework (Innovation, Market Alignment, Customer Centricity)
For all of you who are embarked on a digital transformation journey, how do you know you are on the right track? Are your digital investments upping your enterprise’s overall digital maturity? How can we assess an organization’s digital maturity?
Hello everyone to another episode of DigiBizCentral podcast on organizational excellence. I am your host Wasim R. In today’s episode, we will attempt to answer these questions. But first, a note about this specific podcast.
The DigiBizCentral podcast on organizational excellence is focused on covering various aspects of today’s digital business particularly on business strategies as well as management methods and practices that drive organizational excellence. We encourage you to subscribe to this podcast to ensure that you are always getting notified on future episodes as they are published. Also, please take a moment to rate us on iTunes or whatever channel you get this delivered on. We highly appreciate your feedback.
In today’s episode, I will introduce a digital maturity framework, which organizations can use to assess their digital transformation maturity more holistically. The underlying idea behind this framework is that as an organization continues its digital transformation journey, it must pay attention to certain elements to ensure that they are addressed in their digital projects and initiatives. Defining a digital transformation roadmap with specific milestones and outcomes along the way can ease the transition and increase the chances of success. Before we get started, please note that I will cover this topic in two parts or episodes. As this is part 1, look for part 2 to be published immediately after this one.
So, let’s get started with Part 1 of this topic.
The world in general and organizations specifically have been going through a digital transformation for a number of years now. Digital transformation does not refer to one or two programs that an organization embarks upon at some point in time. Rather, over the years, most organizations have taken on various digital initiatives triggered by their business imperatives and since then have continued their journey, which continues until today and would for some time to come. Depending on when each organization started, they are at different stages of that journey.
But all this then raises the question that how does an organization know where is it in that journey of transformation and where’s it heading? Specifically, how can an organization know that it’s progressing and maturing as it goes through that journey? For example, does an organization that migrates its business applications to the cloud can be regarded as digitally mature? What about the one that actively uses social media to interact with its customers or the one that has established a blockchain system to manage its transactions?
The answer to that question is that unless those steps have helped your organization become more customer centric or improve on your operational excellence then the answer is no. The market doesn’t reward organizations for moving to the cloud, for example, unless those steps have helped your organization to come closer to your customers and made your organization more agile and nimble to respond to market needs.
The move to digital, therefore, must be more holistic in nature. In this fast paced economy, it’s important to ensure that rather than merely taking on a few digital products and services, an organization becomes digitally mature so it’s firing on all engines for it to be more effective. Band-aid digital solutions in this economy simply don’t work. We saw how GE, despite its numerous digital innovations, suffered serious setbacks due to not paying attention to its bloated internal operations and dropped out of the Dow Jones Industrial Average index a
Strategic Thinking for Strategic Decision Making
In this episode, we will review the important concept of strategic thinking and its applicability in the business world and strategic decision making.
At work and also in our personal lives, we’re often asked to think strategically in order to improve our decision making. But what exactly is strategic thinking? Is it just another management buzzword, or does it really have any merit?
Before we try to understand strategic thinking, let’s first review the concept of its counterpart, which is referred to as conventional thinking. Conventional thinkers like to draw between the lines established by others. In other words, they stay inside their “boxes” and thus there is little in terms of creativity involved in thinking through conventional means. Within the context of our work in organizations, conventional thinking offers limited opportunities as improvements are mostly incremental. Based on the nature of the competitive environment that we have, we need something more creative and transformational in terms of how we think and create solutions.
And that’s where we get into the concept of strategic thinking. Strategic thinkers have a much larger, more creative, and forward-thinking framework. This type of thinking doesn’t just solve immediate problems: it also expands the organization’s possibilities and has the potential for more breakthrough solutions.
Due to its scope of being deep and broad, strategic thinking involves targeted research, large-scale thinking, and forces on to step out of the box to bring fresh perspectives.
Strategic thinking is typically used as a corporate management tool for formulating promising long-term strategies. Its benefits in a corporate setting are obvious because of the complex problems where its usually used. It requires a joint effort from different experts from multiple domains. But although it’s traditionally associated with corporate planning, strategic thinking is equally useful for smaller organizations, especially in situations where more rigorous, creative thinking and targeted action are needed to solve the problem. Relying solely on conventional thinking and techniques will probably not yield optimal results in such cases.
Aside from solving problems, strategic thinking can result in key insights that can then result in intelligent organizational decisions, which in turn can lead the organization into new and promising directions. Business literature contains many ideas on this type of thinking, but for those of us who are unfamiliar with it, here’s a simplified model that’s relevant to all levels of organizational planning and problem solving. You can use these following 4 steps to think strategically and use the ideas to advance your business.
* Define the strategic problem or issue– In business and organizations, we are all required to work on and solve strategic problems. A problem is strategic in nature if it prevents you from achieving your desired business outcomes and benefits. In cases like this, it’s best to resist the temptation to use conventional thinking, which really means that instead of jumping in and automatically trying to devise potential solutions, try taking a step back and first define the problem. This will not only help to give you a sense of the scope of the problem but will also highlight any underlying complexities. Whether the issue involves a company division, a particular department, or a specific program, clearly defining the problem goes hand in hand with imagining your desired outcome before you can take the action steps needed to create the future condition and results. The output of this step is a clear definition of the problem and any other constraints that stand in the way of your desired outcome.
* Formulate your problem’s ecosystem– Once you’ve defined the problem, the next step is to map out its
Learn Five Lessons from Amazon.com’s Business Success
This podcast focuses on lessons from Amazon.com’s success based on its recent performance results and a few lessons and takeaways that can be beneficial to others. Now a lot has been talked about over the years on how Amazon has excelled in both customer experience as well as operational excellence. But as the company continues to improve and excel year after year, we are compelled to revisit the topic and its performance. Just recently, Amazon and Jeff Bezos released the annual shareholder letter describing the organization’s performance. That’s what we will discuss today.
We can learn a number of things from this report especially about how an organization like Amazon has achieved its current stature and position in the industry. In general, reports like these can be very useful in understanding the psyche of the organizations, what drives them to do better and excel, and then see the impact of that in the results and outcomes.
So, in this podcast, I will go over some of those points that Jeff Bezos has highlighted in that report and what others – both businesses as well as individuals – can learn from Amazon.
First, I would like to highlight some important facts that Jeff Bezos mentions in the opening of his letter. And that has to do with Amazon being ranked as number one in various customer surveys. Amazon it seems was ranked as number one in the American Customer Satisfaction Index for the 8th year in a row – it was also ranked number one for the 5th year in a row in the U.K. Customer Satisfaction Index, which is put out by the Institute of Customer Service – it was also ranked as the #1 business on LinkedIn’s 2018 Top Companies list – and it was number one for 3rd year in a row on the Reputation Quotient, which is released annually by the Harris Poll. For those who don’t know, Reputation Quotient issued by the Harris Poll quantifies the reputation ratings for the 100 most visible companies and they have been doing this for the last 19 years or so. Additionally, Amazons’ India site – Amazon.in – has become the fastest growing marketplace in India, and the most visited site on both desktop and mobile, and also boasts the most downloaded shopping app in India in 2017.
Jeff Bezos then goes on to highlight three elements that in his view drives this level of performance. He highlights them as unrelenting customer obsession, ingenuity, and commitment to operational excellence.
So, let’s look at Amazon’s performance on various fronts.
Before we get into the potential reasons for Amazon’s success, let’s briefly review its performance over the last year.
First, its prime membership has grown to exceed 100 million subscribers. That means 100 million subscribers consider it worthwhile and of value to pay the $99 annual membership fees. More than that, this membership has now expanded to include more countries outside the USA.
Second, Amazon’s cloud platform called AWS or Amazon Web Services has grown to provide thousands of cloud based services making it easier for cloud developers to build digital systems and applications. Also, the fact that it’s annual conference on cloud computing services exceeds 100,000 attendees and participants, says a lot about the popularity of its cloud computing services.
Third, Amazon marketplace that enables third party sellers to sell on Amazon has grown substantially. Although the actual number is not known but it is in the millions and just in 2017, 300,000 businesses started selling on the Amazon platform. That’s a staggering number of businesses and shows the power of the platform. If the sellers on the platform has reached such a high number, this naturally would attract even larger number of shoppers.
Fourth, Amazon has also started to venture in the brick and mortar business, something that is new for the organization. For ex
A CIO’s Top 5 Priorities for Digital Transformation
In this episode, we will cover five key priorities that an organization’s CIO or CTO should focus on to smooth their organization’s digital transformation efforts.
* Creating a vision for the new digital platform: As CIOs play an instrumental role toward an enterprise’s digital transformation, accordingly they should also define the vision for their new digital-enabled enterprise. We know, for example, that more than offering one off digital products and services, a digital organization is realized through a larger digital ecosystem, which extends beyond the walls of the enterprise to include customers, suppliers, government regulators, and other stakeholders and partners. This ecosystem is built on digital platforms that in turn is built through various digital technologies. Building this larger ecosystem through the integration of internal systems and other digital platforms sometimes can take years and thus requires a coherent vision that the CIO must define and communicate to all parties. The vision of this platform should be sound and far reaching to support adoption of future technologies as well. Also, as the number of mergers and acquisitions have become common to adopt new business models, an organization’s digital platform should be versatile to absorb such changes.
In the context of building the right vision for an organization’s digital platform, we know that in today’s economy and digital markets an organization either creates its own digital platform to deliver digital services for its ecosystem members or uses an external digital platform to deliver its services. For example, GE has built its Predix platform to provide maintenance for its equipment that it sells to customers worldwide. It’s able to use that platform to provide services and has proved to be a major source of value for the organization. Other organizations such as Amazon have built a retail selling platform that it has opened to businesses to enable them sell their products and services through the Amazon platform. Thousands of businesses are successful due to selling on this platform. Similarly, almost every industry has organizations that have built successful digital platforms to provide services to their customers. So, part of defining a digital vision for its organization, a CIO will have to define their organization’s vision for either the development of new digital platforms or integration with ecosystems and the organization’s future position relative to that ecosystem and digital platform.
To ensure that the vision doesn’t sound as a wish or a dream, CIOs must embark on a transformation program and create and communicate a roadmap that shows the planned and progressive realization toward the new digital enterprise. The transformation roadmap should focus on all three dimension of people, process as well as technology along with working with all other stakeholders.
* Use of analytics for business insights: The use of analytics within the enterprise has evolved to become a vital strategic tool and its use for getting business insights and making critical decisions is expected to exponentially increase over the next few years. The challenge for CIOs will be to use data and analytics effectively in all areas of the enterprise and to identify new customers and new sources of revenue, as well as understand existing customer needs and organization’s internal strengths and weaknesses. All in all, strategic use of analytics can transform the complete chain extending from customer facing systems to backend systems and processes. In fact, the use of analytics in all aspects of the enterprise will be so widespread and integral to an organization’s success that CIOs should define the vision for a larger analytics ecosystem and platform that can enable business insights at all levels of the enterprise. Whe