Technology Leadership

From our engagements with Fortune 50 companies, technology leadership is becoming disproportionately more critical to their success. To be successful in leveraging technology to the best business advantage, leaders must integrate three core aspects. These are: Empower People, Leverage Technology and Competitive Business Advantage.

The true advantage is not in the individual elements, but in how they compliment one another on the intersections of the Venn diagram:

Empower People

Conventional wisdom has always dictated that people are subordinated to the system or the process. It is assumed that incremental individual improvement will deliver better collective results. This is rarely the case. In order to truly empower people with technology, the rules are different:

  • People are stewards of the system, rather than the opposite. Design accordingly.

  • The processes are subordinated to the requirements of the user, not the other way around. 

  • People flexibly collaborate within the system rather than follow hierarchical decision protocols. Technology must support decision parameters rather than process protocols.

  • Empower them to make good decisions within the system versus within the function. ​

 

Leverage Technology

The belief is that big data has all the answers and that large technology platforms will make everyone efficient. This requires local priorities to be subordinated to the technology platform capabilities, leading to significant service constraints and frustration.  The new imperative for leveraging technology are:

  • Fewer, simpler technology interfaces.

  • Design technology to support throughput at the local level versus cost reduction at the global level.

  • Technology should be user configurable to match local needs.

Build Effective Business Activity Systems

 

Process optimization is assumed to be necessary for efficiency, but that is no longer true. Success now depends on “a strategy that keeps you one step ahead of needing to be efficient.” For that to be the case, technology must support agile and responsive business activity systems. The rules for technology are:

  • Move to systems that are more effective than competitors by means of technology

  • Design and build business activity systems to empower processes and eliminate functional requirements

  • Enable value creation to be close to the client – both in time and location

  • Enable rapid feedback through technology to improve business activity reliability

 

Even though these requirements will improve business performance, the interaction between the three attributes provides the most significant gain

Technology and People: Offload non value-added work 

Non value-added work exists in all multi-resource businesses, but should be eliminated. This is best done by process re-design or offloading the work to robotic process automation. This enables people to instead focus on high-value added, deep cognitive work. The rules are:

  • Eliminate or offload low value work to bots

  • Separately automate workflow synchronization from non value-added direct work. The former causes significant unnecessary work.

 

People and Business Activity Systems: Enhanced decision making.

Decisions have always been subject to the idea that the more consequential the decision, the higher up the chain of command you must go for approval. Collective buy-in is frequently required to proceed. Automated Decision Support increases the speed of decisions, brings them closer to the front line and provide much deeper option analysis.  Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning should be deployed to do so. Guidelines are:

  • Drive distributed decision-making down to the coalface 

  • Enrich business decision quality with AI and machine learning

  • Complex decision models should now be at anyone's fingertips 

Technology and Business Activity Systems: High value User Experience (UX). 

Many times, expectations and assumptions about high-value user interactions prove to be wrong. Management wants technology attribute A, only to find out after the fact that the user or customer actually wanted technology attribute B. To prevent this from happening, technology leadership should align the technology requirements to the business system or process requirements.

 

Where technology systems are too old or too large, it is safer and easier to make small incremental modifications rather than complete replacements. This also degrades user experience. What is required to create a high value user experience? 

  • Understand user expectations and how technology can exceed expectations

  • Make sure that you are changing systems ahead of the changing business environment

 

Maximized Business Value 

​Seamless integration of people, technology and business activity systems is essential for significant business success. At the core is exceptional Technology Leadership capabilities. ​ Nothing else matters.

Akzeon offers Technology Leadership training and coaching. Our highly rated program was developed from deep engagement in leading Fortune 50 companies, melded with hands-on experience in developing leading edge technology platforms.

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© 2020 by Akzeon Inc.

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