In this rapidly changing world, it is often easier to follow the shiny new toys and forget the basics required to get the most from them.
The way people live and work; how people interact and engage and even how countries interact and engage is changing. This period will be seen by history as the greatest change-event to occur since the Industrial Revolutions. For the IT industry, it is a double-edged sword, both a phenomenal opportunity and also a profound social responsibility to get it right. The decisions made by public and private organisations now will reverberate in our societies for many years to come.
Here are some ideas and notes to provoke thought about your digital journey. Firstly, users need problems solved not new toys. Secondly, start small and build upon your successes. Pragmatically, analyse your abilities to deliver major projects versus your history of not doing so.
You aren’t Digital
Map your business processes because despite the prevailing belief in your IT team and business, you will see that about 80 percent or more of your daily work life is manual and paper-based (hint: Check your Recruitment and Expenses processes). The moment your business process requires a human it stops being digital.
It is highly likely that your manual processes and corporate paper-fetishes are a result of poor infrastructure. Staff repeatedly authenticating when mobile or needing a Sherpa to lug around their laptops means IT must reassess their expenditure profile. Counting the technology on the table at your next meeting is a good barometer for this.
Get the simple things right. Without mobility and connectivity, there is no digital. How well does your new app work without 4G/Wi-Fi?
Take charge of your organisation’s data by removing the shared drives from your SOE. Ban the email attachment too. Use a tool such as SharePoint, or an open source equivalent, for all working documents and use links instead of email attachments. Save on storage, manage your information and fundamentally move towards becoming a data-driven organisation. It’s not as crazy or difficult as you probably think.
Staff take paper to meetings because it’s easy. FollowMe printing with a user pays regime will help clear up the paper waste.
The biggest technology challenge facing us is not technical. It is ethical
Instruct your assistant to stop printing your meeting materials. Lead from the front.
Be Analogue First
Governments and private industry don’t actually communicate that well. Sure we send billions of emails daily, most of which aren’t read and in government, we write memos, most of which are read only by the person they are sent to-hardly wide spread effective communication.
Move off into the public-private partnership space and the communication doesn’t improve. Different skill sets with different methods and success indicators attempting to derive undisclosed value from another party who has different reasons for being at the same table. What could possibly go wrong?
Executives spend most of our days talking. Remember to listen. Really listen. Don’t listen to reply but listen to understand.
Data Breaches – Australia
Australian legislation is leading the way in management of data breaches. Companies will no longer be allowed to hide breaches where sensitive information has been accessed, in order to protect their reputation. Introducing the legislation, Australian Member of Parliament, the Honourable Mark Dreyfus QC MPalso said;
“Corporations, or indeed, public service departments, must not be allowed to delay reporting of a serious breach of personal data because of the fear of the damage it might cause to the reputation of the company or organisation.”
This is an interesting step in the management of data security. Australian owners and managers of data now have a legislated responsibility to manage data break-ins, the same way we manage public health.
Are our data guardians and our organisations ready for that? Time will tell.
Leave Your Bubble
It is generally accepted that culture starts at the top. CIOs often say we lead by example yet our work habits ensure we don’t do so in a positive way. Our diaries are overflowing, it takes days to respond to an email, there’s no chance of anyone getting through on the phone and staffs just don’t see us as very approachable.
Spend one day each week with a free diary, call it a paperwork day, Friday or whatever suits but use it, in an unplanned and unstructured way, to spend time with your team and business to find out how you can help them. Coffee and a chat work wonders.
Let your entire business know that you will have a monthly ‘ideas and innovation’ day. Leave your diary clear. Take the phone calls direct and invite people to wander by and talk about their ideas or challenges.
If nothing else, you might meet some interesting people but you might also just find that diamond of an idea too.
It’s not Technical
Ironically, the biggest technology challenge facing us is not technical. It is ethical.
What do we hand down to the future generations?
What kind of information ecosystem do we leave for them?
How will they think of us?
Finally, would they have done, retrospectively speaking, what we will do?