To start thinking about how your organization would approach innovation through technology transformation, ask these questions:
1. Where are your largest gaps compared with peers?
Compare everyday outcomes on common processes: How long does it take to get reports from your financial team or to close the books? Do they have quality data that’s real time or close to real time? Do they use advanced analytics? How accurate are their forecasts? What do they know about customers?
Benchmarking like this can help you to identify the best opportunities for transformation. It’s also important to know what’s possible with available solutions, and the view of an outside consultant that knows the business solutions marketplace can be helpful.
Just as important is choosing a consultant that has the services to help you iterate your innovation process over time. This evolution could involve solutions like managed IT services, technology risk management, accounting automation services or application development services. This will drive better ROI over the longer term.
2. Where is your technology debt?
Technology debt happens when resources are used to keep the proverbial lights on instead of pursuing new initiatives that drive business forward. Many companies have critical systems that lack modern capabilities, are no longer able to be updated or supported and are more vulnerable to cyberattacks.
When pursuing technology transformation, it often makes sense to focus on reducing your technology debt. One way to streamline this process is to adopt a platform of modern business applications such as Microsoft Dynamics 365, NetSuite or Salesforce. These platforms provide integrated cloud-based applications that can help your company be more agile, data-driven and up-to-date with new capabilities such as robotic process automation.
A consultant can help you identify where your technology debt lies through benchmarking, assessments and analysis of your innovation maturity. This information will help you make intelligent decisions about where to eliminate technology debt in a way that provides the greatest return.
3. Do we have a culture that can support innovation?
Innovation isn’t something that begins and ends in the IT department or with one session with a consultant. Instead, it is something that must be embraced from top to bottom throughout the organization. After all, a visionary CIO will be quickly frustrated if the CFO or CEO won’t bless an investment or if workers refuse to adapt to new ways of working.
Nurture and reward a mindset that prioritizes constant, iterative improvements. This allows your organization to strategically manage risk so innovation can continue to take place without creating unnecessary operational or reputational risk.
Innovation also requires resources. Leaders must be willing to commit time and budget to solve problems and improve processes. Once leaders show they are committed to investing in innovation, they will then find employees willing and able to adopt innovation in their work.
Technology transformation the right way
Innovation doesn’t have to be like Isaac Newton getting hit by a falling apple and suddenly discovering the laws of gravity. Instead of a massive leap, innovation should be an ongoing, everyday process for optimizing operations.
While technology transformation is often the engine for innovation, it's your vision for improvement that provides the fuel. By understanding your gaps in your core processes, focusing on eliminating technical debt, and building a culture of innovation, you can make the incremental progress you need to be as innovative as possible.