Successful business transformation needs team spirit and interoperability
Another common cause of the Innovation Orchestration Gap – and thus of innovation project failure – is clinging on to the existing organisational structure and consequent failure to properly adapt to the transformed business processes. The key challenge here is demolishing existing silos, whether organisational or technological. Siloisation at the organisational level, between teams or departments, is usually mirrored by siloisation at the technological level, in that data is stored on siloed systems. As long as these silos persist, realising transparency, and especially data transparency, within the business and transforming processes is almost impossible.
Demolishing these silos requires action at both the organisational and technological levels. It means realising interoperability between software systems and defining new rules, responsibilities and organisational structures. It also means creating new roles and capabilities. New products and services, whether digital or physical, need new sales channels and therefore different sales skills. In addition, there’s no point in altering systems unless such changes are accompanied by a programme of reviewing and amending processes to optimise the technological and organisational setup right across the business.
Imagine you’ve developed a new primarily digital product. This is great news for your customers. But are your sales and finance teams equipped to handle sales of your new product? Are your service teams ready to support it? And how will you administer your old and new products in parallel?
Just like successful business innovation, the answer to these questions has a number of dimensions. Firstly, to generate a continuous value stream, create new, digital, connected processes that fit into your existing workflows. Secondly, define new roles and organisational structures to support these processes.
Lots of business are still using software commissioned decades ago. This software may be perfectly good for its original purpose, but it is likely to fall short when it comes to providing up-to-date data or facilitating scalability and connectivity. The reason for this is quite simple – such systems were not designed for today's industrial digitalisation requirements or for sharing data with other systems.
The war on silos starts, however, by connecting processes, teams and software systems. Creating and supporting new digital processes is not the end of the story. Implementation of new processes requires cross-cutting changes in organisational structure, culture, mindset and governance.
Paradoxically, the first step on the path to connecting your systems is psychological rather than technological. It is important to create a shared mindset that puts the needs of the customer at the heart of every business process, enabling customer-centric products at lower cost. That includes empowering all stakeholders – department by department. It is much easier to integrate separate software systems if the people who are responsible for and who manage those systems share your long-term strategic and technological vision.