Four ways to get future-ready with innovation
- Posted on July 17, 2019
- Estimated reading time 3 minutes
Your company is engaged in digital transformation and in fact it’s one of your top priorities.
There’s a chance we’re wrong about that—but not much of one. The latest Avanade research, conducted through Vanson Bourne and released last month, found that 96% of global business and IT decisionmakers we surveyed have a transformation strategy and nearly as many (92%) say it’s one of their top three priorities.
Given what those executives expect from their digital transformation efforts, that’s not a surprise. On average, they expect a 12-month ROI of 17%. Similarly, independent research from the MIT Center for Information Systems Research (CISR) finds that companies that substantially complete their transformations enjoy margins 16 points higher than their industry’s average. Respondents in our research say that digital transformation will reduce their costs by 10%, increase their productivity by 11%, and accelerate business growth by 10%. For many companies—likely including yours—that can mean millions of dollars in higher revenues and lower costs.
Of course, getting those results depends on doing digital transformation right—and many companies aren’t sure that they are. Digital transformation fatigue is setting in at 43% of companies and the pressure is building: 71% say that concerns over the global economy are pushing them to squeeze bottom-line results from their transformations.
All this means that most companies need to succeed with their transformations, and don’t have much of a margin for error. There’s no single, one-size-fits-all formula for that success, but MIT CISR has produced a helpful roadmap. They identify two crucial dimensions of transformation using digital capabilities: operational efficiency and customer experiences.
Based on our research, we see important additions to this roadmap. To the dimensions of greater efficiency and experiences—for both customers and employees—we add the dimension of innovation. And we see successful companies implementing all three dimensions with a major infusion of data-driven intelligence.
This isn’t a controversial proposition among the executives we surveyed; 88% agree they need to add innovation to their business systems to enable agility and continual improvement. With innovation alongside efficiency and experiences, a company can respond in a timely way to whatever change it encounters. More than that, it can be the force for change to which others must respond. Companies can become future ready. Now. Innovation can help make it happen.
What that innovation looks like is crucial. Some respondents see the cloud as an enabler of innovation—and it is—but most recognize that technology isn’t the whole answer, or even the most important answer. Companies need to adopt an innovation-at-will culture or mindset. That’s a sweeping order. Here are four ways to get started:
- Commit to fast-fail processes that enable organizations to consider more options more quickly, allow for more discoveries, accept the risk of failure during iterations, and accelerate learning to achieve success.
- Reorganize to bring disparate employees together. Silos of segregated specialists—data scientists over here, marketers over there, for example—don’t promote innovation. Creating multidisciplinary teams in which employees are exposed to different perspectives, and in which they bring these multiple perspectives to bear on a common concern, does promote innovation.
- Build an empowered workforce where employees are change agents and advocates for innovation. Train and reward employees for adopting innovative ways of working. Make an innovative mindset a key requirement for new hires.
- Adopt new ways of working such as “Design Thinking,” a creative problem-solving approach that facilitates the development of innovative solutions, products and services.