Regardless of industry, company size, or revenue, organizations across the board are more alike than you’d think. The common denominator: organizations become paralyzed by the challenge of adapting to today’s digital landscape. The ability to adapt quickly to this disruptive environment and align all business units effectively is what we call Digital Transformation.
Digital Transformation, to us at Universal Mind, is an enterprise ecosystem that exemplifies collaborative innovation, embraces change, rewards critical thinking, and rallies around a common vision.
“As the DFW enterprise landscape continues to grow and mature, Universal Mind is committed to serving as a catalyst for Digital Transformation through partnering with the tech community. It all together has made Dallas a natural choice for our expansion here. And it isn’t just the corporate growth North Texas is seeing, the thriving job market and high quality of life align to our people oriented culture,” says Jesslyn Beattie, Dallas UX Specialist at Universal Mind.
The influencers and changes will keep coming from every angle—devices, culture, social, business, regulation—prepare your organization and realize this isn’t a project, it’s a cultural change.
This is what we’re seeing with our clients:
- Need for Change: The clients try to adapt to the changing digital landscape.
- Digital Bird’s Nest: They hit the accelerator and respond with a multitude of applications, front ends, and experiences often with redundant or conflicting goals and without considering the customer’s needs and expectations deeply enough. This reaction creates a digital bird’s nest full of risk and maintenance headaches.
- Calcified Silos: Much of the cause of the digital bird’s nest is due to rigid organizational operation, whether that is regulation, growth by acquisition, or plain old segmentation. We call these structures calcified silos. Often, communication, budgeting, and goal setting exist independently within each silo, making comprehensive digital transformation very difficult to achieve.
As companies find themselves faced with a digital bird’s nest and calcified silos, paralysis can ensue. This paralysis creates a transformation logjam, allowing only sporadic and minor achievements through. Now what?
Breaking the Logjam
We have seen success in breaking this logjam by focusing on the age-old proverb “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Here are some high-level steps to get things flowing again.
When you’re ready, release your best idea effort to a small portion of the world.
- Gain a Strategic Helicopter View: Strategy initiatives don’t need to be a 600-page, five-month slog. A quick 10,000-foot helicopter view of where you are and where you are looking to go can take as little as two weeks. This begins by reviewing existing research and data while serving to point out accessible opportunities and gain a heading for the purpose of dead reckoning.
- Pick Low-Hanging, Cross-Silo Fruit: The idea of the first initiative is to get the gears turning. Plan on difficult communication and friction across those silos. Set your initial sights on identifying like-minded thinkers within those silos who readily understand the impact of the logjam, and then enlist their domain expertise and influence to help ease the friction and enhance communication.
- Rapid Prototyping and Consensus Building: Prototyping is not only a great way to get user feedback; it is a great way to gain stakeholder support while showing tangible progress. At Universal Mind, we refer to this as Vision Prototyping. In this initial attempt at working across silos with your vision prototype, plan on failing fast and failing small.
- Deliver: When you’re ready, release your best idea effort to a small portion of the world. The item you’re testing in this release is considered to be your Minimal Viable Product (MVP). Your preparations at this point should prove your MVP to be just the stick of dynamite needed to remove one strategically stuck log in your logjam.
- Measure Results: Don’t be surprised if you don’t see immediate results. This logjam took years/decades to form and your experiment here is based on strategic organizational physics. Watch for leading indicators that suggest your effort carried impact. The overall goal here is to make your organization more adept at creating strong digital solutions and experiences.
- Integrate Organizational Learnings: The process will yield numerous learning opportunities that can help your organization see what you saw in your 10,000-foot helicopter view. Find ways to make this win repeatable. It’s especially important to ensure both leaders and customer-facing employees have a firm grasp of the change.
- Repeat and Expand: It doesn’t end there. The influencers and changes will keep coming from every angle—devices, culture, social, business, regulation—prepare your organization and realize this isn’t a project, it’s a cultural change.
“The possibilities in Dallas are endless; the growth and expansion of companies here have given rise to new opportunities and challenges where Digital Transformation has the potential to fuel innovation,” Beattie says.
Digital Transformation sounds daunting, but it doesn’t need to be. Universal Mind has a wealth of experience helping companies with digital transformation. We’ll be talking about this topic in-depth in the coming months. If you are looking to get started, or figure out the first step on your journey, let’s talk.
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