Seasoned business leaders face a variety of challenges when implementing process improvement initiatives that rely on automation. A common struggle across all automation initiatives is achieving an optimal ROI for a project by maximizing the “value capture” in the implementation. Maximizing value capture relies on the alignment of the three principal parties, or partners, involved in the automation initiative. The flow should look something like this:
- Business Leaders must be clear about the optimal outcomes they seek while also taking into consideration the counsel they receive from their technology partners.
- Business Requirements Analysts transcribe those optimal outcomes into technical requirements and then facilitate design considerations between parties.
- Technology Solutionists design, architect, and code to meet those requirements and outcomes.
Business Leaders: What do they need to know?
The business leader stands at the front end of the endeavor, championing process improvement initiatives with a full understanding of the organization’s operations as well as the impact of automation changes to the company, product and operations processes. To this end, business leaders should maintain a cursory understanding of current and emerging technologies. They do not have to be technology experts; however, leaders who consistently maximize value capture in automation initiatives are those who maintain a level of technical understanding that enables effective collaboration with technology partners.
Consider the following chart:
- Technology Laggard business leaders typically achieve sub-optimal value capture from automation initiatives because their limited understanding of current technologies constrains effective collaboration with their technology partners. A Laggard may have been a Competent business leader or even a Zealot at some point but didn’t keep up with the technology.
- Technology Zealot business leaders often achieve sub-optimal value capture in an automation initiative because they are overly prescriptive or directive in the application and use of technology in the “business requirements.”
- Technically Competent business leaders often outpace their Laggard and Zealot peers in value capture for automation initiatives. Competent business leaders may fall short on the technical understanding needed to influence their technology partners towards a non-optimal solution (like a Zealot might), but they would not be constrained in their ability to collaboratively craft the best solutions (like a Laggard would). In short, a Competent business leader can typically form more effective partnerships, which usually leads to maximum value capture in the final solution.
Blockchain: The next technology you need to understand
The advent of new technologies creates a recurring challenge for business leaders to remain current or risk losing maximum value in their automation initiatives. A good example of an emerging technology that sits in a blind spot for many business leaders today is Blockchain. As discussed in a previous blog, Blockchain technology allows data records to become unchangeable, immutable, durable and incorruptible while allowing them to be appended, shared and reconciled with exceptional security.
There is plenty of hype about Blockchain. Business visionary Mark Cuban recently suggested that if he were going to start a new company today, he would build it on Blockchain. While Mr. Cuban may have shared with the masses a vision that many serial entrepreneurs are already chasing, the fact is that many longstanding and stable business models may soon be completely disrupted by new sourcing and service delivery practices as well as cost saving inventory and contracting practices built on Blockchain.
Are you staying current with tech?
It’s becoming more difficult to ignore the buzz around Blockchain, and a lax attitude toward understanding this technology may cause a Technically Competent business leader to digress to a Technology Laggard.
How do you measure up? Are you:
- A Technically Competent business leader considering a new process optimization initiative but unsure if a Blockchain transformation proposed by your technology partners is the proper fit?
- A Technology Laggard business leader who is challenged to understand the Blockchain technology solution proposed by your technology team, putting your ability to gain project approval at risk?
- A Technology Zealot business leader who finds that internal technology partners are under-developed in Blockchain, seeking a proof-of-concept trial to define ROI in a business case and provide momentum to develop Blockchain expertise in-house?
No matter how you categorize yourself, we can help.
The Northridge team has a broad understanding of the growing use cases for Blockchain technology across industries. Our business process and technology experts can help your organization achieve the most efficient value capture from your next process improvement or automation initiative. Contact us for a fair and knowledgeable assessment of how Blockchain can enable success for your organization.