10 May 2020
How To Digitise Your Business.
By Dr Chris Barclay (Founder & Director Evolve8) & Dr Graham Kelly (Consultant at Evolve8, Director BIM Academy).
These are very challenging times and we want to share our digital culture learnings and insights, to help as you’re deciding how to move forward.
Contech 2019 (London) was a great event and our Evolve8 workshop explored how we can maximise the benefits of technology in the construction industry. There are many success stories where technology adds real value to the sector but sadly there is also uncertainty and frustration at failed and/or costly attempts to use technology.
Our team’s cross sector multi-disciplinary skills and global experience enables us to assess the critical; “how to digitise question”, differently from others. We help clients approach how to digitise from a digital culture perspective, as we know this creates very different conversations, creative solutions and decision making. Digital culture is a powerful enabler for positive change.
We want to share some of our digital culture fundamental building blocks, as food for thought, as you wrestle with the many questions you have on how to digitise your business and what digital transformation really means. Hope they are useful.
PEOPLE POWER TECHNOLOGY
The iPhone is an incredible piece of technology which gives us access to a huge variety of content and functionality. This is why millions of people own an iPhone. Without the human user an iPhone is totally useless! This may seem like a silly exampleJbut next time you evaluate a shiny new technology, please stop and think will my teams and organisation passionately buy into using this and will it enable them? If the answer is yes, that is great, start exploring it. If the answer is no, then don’t do it! People power technology and without people’s passion, the technology will fail, no matter how shiny it is. People are the key to selecting and adopting the right digital strategy, please don’t overlook how you enable them to do this effectively.
ONLY USE TECHNOLOGY WHERE IT ADDS VALUE
Is the infamous story true that the USA space program spent millions of dollars on a zero gravity pen, while Russia used pencils? It’s actually a myth! However, the Fisher Pen Company did spend $1 million developing the space pen and it went on to be used by the USA and later Russia. We all know the story and it’s incredibly powerful if your organisation recall this story the next time they are evaluating a new technology option. The conversation will quickly move from - “this is an incredibly new shining technology which makes breakfast and cuts the grassJ”, to, we already have simple low-cost ways to do these tasks and the new technology is expensive and not needed. I know the example is sillyJbut please don’t under-estimate the power in a simple memorable story to change behaviours. Don’t use technology as a sticky plaster or work around for issues that need different fixes (such as procurement, communication, culture etc).
LEARN & REAPPLY BEST PRACTICE FROM OTHER SECTORS
When we start our career, we actively seek out others to learn from, as this quickly builds our personal capability. As organisations, we evaluate our successful competition and work out what we can reapply to grow our business. One of the greatest opportunities we have to grow our people and business, is to learn from other sectors. We often struggle to find the time to do this as it appears to be a low priority. This is an opportunity missed! Let’s take an example and look at fast moving consumer goods to see what we can learn - Nestle’s centralised digital acceleration team, L'Oréal reverse mentoring program with digital experts coaching business leaders etc. Other sectors have rich learnings and insights, you can use to help create the digital strategy for your business.
PARTNER KEY FUNCTIONAL EXPERTISE
In the construction sector, partnering construction experts with technology experts is a great example and adds real value. Watch out thinking these 2 important experts are the same - they are not!
There are many approaches to enabling digital in an organisation. It is easy to fall into the trap of assigning a willing team member to develop the skills to become your inhouse technology expert. The problem is, to become a true expert you need to develop deep fundamental knowledge/expertise over many years of dedicated work and research on the topic. Assigning someone to become an expert is fine, if you have years of mastery development built into the plan, before they contribute as an expert! In reality we create, generalists who have a broad general knowledge of the topic (but not a deep expertise). To digitise your business successfully and drive great results, you need to identify and leverage true functional experts (construction, technology, culture experts etc).
At Evolve8 we love helping organisations, digitise their business, through creation of a digital culture, which increases engagement and productivity.