Who else wants to avoid a digital collision?

  • Posted on October 9, 2018
  • Estimated reading time 4 minutes

This article was originally written by Avanade alumn Chuck Ingram.

We all know that texting while driving can lead to disaster.  Turns out, it is also a bad idea to text while walking through a crowded business conference.  In fact, wherever you go – including on your company path to digital transformation - distracted, diffused attention is a dangerous thing.  Good news: there is a proven approach to avoid digital collision on your journey to become an Intelligent Enterprise.

I recently attended a technology conference where Avanade sponsored a booth that I co-manned with some colleagues.  I had left the exhibit hall to participate on a conference call and, as I walked back, my attention bounced between the expo hall signage and my phone until a Skype message from my boss drew my thoughts fully to the screen in my hand.  As I responded to the message, I stepped forward, putting my left foot down until...it met zero resistance and I realized my potentially serious mistake – walking onto a stair-step I had unconsciously assumed was flat ground.

My foot hit the ground.  Solid.  Big jolt shot up my spine.  Luckily, I did not fall.  I looked around and saw that nobody noticed my stumble.  I, on the other hand, stuffed the phone in my pocket and very mindfully checked my surroundings the rest of the way back to the booth. In my short remaining walk, I dodged no less that 5 people who like me – were looking at their phones – no doubt getting important messages form THEIR bosses – were deep in digital distraction and would have run me down.

Thinking about the upcoming CRM User Group Summit, I imagine that many customers who are going there are worried about the digital transformation initiatives through which they are guiding their businesses.  Statistics say only one in eight will be happy with the outcome of those initiatives.  The bad news is that sometimes the journey can be like blindly walking off a step just like I did – only this time falling down.  This is especially true when our organizational objectives are diluted by conflicting needs and distracted by shiny technology objects.

Often business applications projects become a collision between purchasing priorities – “I need to buy as many features as I can possibly negotiate”– with time pressures – “I need to get up-and-running as fast as possible, then go live and move on to another initiative.” The result can be a barrage of features that the users of a business application can neither absorb nor use to better serve end-user customers.  The results can range from unrealized value to complete project failure.  Seems like walking with your head down looking at your phone – really fast.

The good news is there are identifiable patterns that do drive success.  There are also steps in those patterns that are quite repeatable.  Start with customers.  Find the features that are most impactful to your customers’ journey.  Deliver the entire feature set to your team in a way that is journey-based, not just fire and forget, project-based.  These activities all need to support a clear vision for the ultimate outcomes a company wants to achieve – fact-based, anticipatory, agile decision-making that drives more satisfying, profitable results for all constituents and a more defensible, differentiated competitive position.  Finally, there needs to be an ongoing plan to make sure the solution is being both optimized for users and supporting the business outcomes.

The success or failure of a digital transformation has a lot to do with the degree of attention, focus and discipline that a company uses in the process.  Distracted, diffused initiatives can cause catastrophe.  Well-planned, people-first paths to building Intelligent Enterprises can create clear competitive advantage.  Keep your head up when you walk to the Avanade booth #328 at the CRMUG Summit (or any other event where we’re at) and talk with us – we’ll share lessons we’ve learned about how to ensure positive outcomes that avoid digital collisions.

Click over to learn more about the Intelligent Enterprise and smart business applications in the cloud.

Gord Mawhinney

Excellent viewpoint Chuck.  Customer focused business outcomes are always an excellent foundation to build from.  Mental note for me to ask you whether you are close to stairs next time I call you...

October 11, 2018

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