Innovation is more than just a buzzword; it is the secret sauce of a successful twenty-first century business — just ask any entrepreneur, CEO or politician. For CIOs charged with transforming their organisation from a growth to an operational efficiency focus, an eye for innovation is just one of the arrows you’ll need in your quiver. Here are a few others.
Because CIOs inhabit that uncomfortable place where bottom-line priorities meet operational imperatives, they are uniquely placed to understand how redesigning the business model and driving organisational and cultural change can be achieved.
They need to have the technical skills and business acumen to drive an innovation strategy, and be influential and collaborative enough to steer the transformation process to completion. It’s no mean feat, but with a bit of nous it can be done.
TACT has helped numerous organisations achieve a leaner and more sustainable growth profile by refocusing their business strategy on operational efficiency.
Here are 6 key things we’ve learned along the way:
#1 Lean in
If you’re looking for a transformation mechanism that can help you trim waste, redefine processes and crystallise the strategic direction of your organisation, then look no further than Lean Six Sigma. We all know that strong leadership and management buy-in are crucial to achieving whole-of-organisation cultural change, but to really create an environment where innovation, business performance and customer focus flourish, Lean Six Sigma is hard to beat.
#2 Develop an IT roadmap
As the name suggests, an IT roadmap enables CIOs to identify how technology will support the business strategy and core priorities over a given period. Ideally your IT roadmap should include your vision and elevator pitch (not as easy to define as you might imagine), a few core messages and a timetable of key priorities the business is seeking to achieve. Put skin in the game by including estimated costings, project owners and other quantifiable information to demonstrate why each initiative is needed.
#3 Move to the cloud
There is simply no reason to delay in this area any longer. In fact, if you’re not in the cloud it’s costing you money and competitive advantage. Cloud computing is scalable, cost effective, requires little or no capital outlay and moves the burden of optimising workload peaks and troughs from you to your cloud-hosting provider. If you’re not sure how to get started, talk to TACT.
#4 Reinvest resources where they are most needed
Another benefit of moving to the cloud is to free up resources and cash flow so you can reinvest your people and your budget where they are needed most – adding value to customers and stakeholders instead of bottlenecking in non-value adding activities. Focus them on innovation and new ideas and watch your investment in them grow.
#5 Transform business processes and IT infrastructure
Identify and invest in technologies that align with your business strategy and help you meet the expectations of your customers and stakeholders. Do a ground-up audit of every process and piece of infrastructure. What does each item cost? Are there cheaper, more efficient alternatives? What is needed and what isn’t? Even small changes like rationalising printers and reviewing mobile phone plans can add up to big savings when put together. Look at your software licencing agreements, web hosting and IT capital expenditure – find the fat and trim it off. Remember, less waste doesn’t equate to less productivity or poorer customer service – in fact it usually means the opposite.
#6 Measure, re-measure, then repeat
Technology flows through every process and underpins every interaction between your people and your customers. It’s no wonder 55% of CEOs in PwC’s 19th annual global CEO survey ranked “measuring and communicating the impact and value of innovation” as the most important way to manage competing stakeholder expectations. With so many downloadable and cloud-based analytics tools now available — from apps and open-source freeware, to premium software products — business intelligence and data analytics reporting is simply not negotiable if you wish to remain competitive.
So that's it for our 6 ways to transform your business focus from growth to operational efficiency – and why we think it's important. We hope you have as much success as we’ve had with them.
We're also big fans of the “Balanced Scorecard” which is another powerful measurement tool that helps you quantify the tasks on your IT roadmap so you can achieve your vision. We’ll share some of our first-hand experiences with Scorecards in our next blog post.
Until then, may innovation and operational efficiency bring you the success you so richly deserve.
About the author
Teri Cooper is a writer, marketer and digital communications specialist who writes about technology, business strategy and leadership. She founded digital consultancy Scoot Communications in 2014. When she's not hunched over a keyboard, she can often be found roaming around Melbourne indulging in her two current passions, Instagram and coffee.