If you have ever experienced detangling a four-year-old’s hair, you know it is a mess! The amount of fighting and screaming along with negotiations (I will give you ice cream), sometimes threats (no iPad for you) that go into that process can be unbelievable. The situation is not so different a scenario when we try to detangle the spider-web systems that exist in organizations today. Business folks fight with IT, have back-door negotiations with leadership about priorities and engage in countless back-and-forth exchanges of business requirements. Sound familiar?
How can organizations cope in a “detangle” situation? Here are three recommendations:
1. Comb through your systems one small section at a time.
If you have tried to comb through a large section of tangled hair, what happens? You get stuck, or your comb breaks. If you comb a small section at a time, you could effectively detangle. Take one part of your process, application, module, etc. and determine ways to streamline the operation. “Eat the elephant one bite at a time” to ensure you won’t get stuck in your innovation and transformation efforts or end up in a mental asylum.
See also: Creating Win-Win-Win Scenarios
2. Use a detangle spray.
I love detangle spray! Taking a small section of the hair and applying the detangle spray makes the combing faster. Here is where I would recommend organizations look at outside help. Is there a service like virtual transformation office that can expedite your transformation or innovation efforts? Transformational consultants are of a different breed. They cut through the BS; if they don’t, you don’t have the right one working for your organization. These folks bring outside technology, industry-level perspectives and agile processes to act as a “detangler” in your initiatives. For most organizations, operational needs tend to outweigh innovation efforts. An external perspective can ensure organizations are looking beyond the operations and focusing on innovation.
3. Chop it off.
Chopping off the hair was my final resort with my toddler’s hair. I went to the barber and had her hair cut. Why? It was just too painful to continue to maintain. With your spider-web systems, you will come at a point where you have to say good-bye–good-bye to your green screen friends, VB screens from the early 2000s and old funky .asp apps. Are there startups that you can bring to your organization to provide new tech that can eliminate multiple legacy applications? At Benekiva, we pride ourselves on eliminating four to nine systems leveraged by claims staff to process one claim. How many systems are your teams using to complete a task or work unit?
You may not be ready to chop everything off, but you can do it gradually. Change takes time.
See also: Culture Side of Digital Transformation
Disrupting is the name of the game for all organizations. Even if you are a giant company, you have to keep up or you risk going bald, at which point no amount of combing, spraying or chopping will help.