Enabling Transformation: Technology AND Organisation are Key

Enabling Transformation

A very Happy New Year to our customers, business associates, friends and the Bridgeall team.

After much talk, maybe too much talk and not enough action, will 2017 be the year when organisational transformation for the digital era becomes mainstream? We certainly hope so. The argument in favour of transforming digitally has been won. The real focus now should be on the ‘how’.

As a key enabler of transformation, with a strong track record in software development, project planning and implementation, we look forward to working closely with our public and private sector customers in making transformation a reality in the new year.

With this in mind, our first short blog post for 2017 summarises a thought provoking article that has just appeared in the MIT Sloan Management Review. The article encapsulates our own thoughts very nicely.

Affordances

In ‘Unexpected Benefits of Digital Transformation’, the authors use the concept of ‘affordances’ to highlight the fact that successful transformation for the digital era requires a combination of technology and organisational change.

Used in a range of diverse fields such as psychology, human-computer interaction and ecology, the term ‘affordances’ refers to the different possible actions that someone can take with an object in a particular environment. The analogy of a beach ball is used to illustrate. This can be batted into the air, floated on water, sat on or popped. An ‘affordance’ is a shift in focus from the characteristics of an object to what one can do with the object in different situations.

Based on our extensive experience across a diverse range of industries, the beach ball analogy is highly relevant when discussing digital transformation. Having the right technology in place is obviously critical. But on its own, technology does not lead to transformation. It is how that technology is used that makes a difference.

Just as a beach ball can be used in different ways, so can technology. The greatest business value is derived when technology is used to transform processes and systems, becoming a more efficient, agile and fast moving organisation ‘fit for purpose’ in a digital age.

There is a mutually dependent relationship between the organisation and its use of digital technologies. Digital technology creates new opportunities for working differently; working differently creates new opportunities for leveraging the full potential of emerging technologies.

As we enter a new year, there needs to be a greater recognition of how these two forces work together; yes a focus on the technology but also what your organisation actually does with it.

This insight may sound obvious, but the failure to recognise the mutual dependency is one of the main reasons why so many organisations struggle to derive maximum value from technology.

Leading digital organisations successfully integrate strategy, people, processes, systems, organisation, culture AND technology. At Bridgeall, we facilitate this transformation by building bridges between IT and the business; between software implementation and tangible outcomes.

As always, comment and feedback are very welcome.

The full MIT article can be accessed here.

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