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Posted on August 18, 2014 by

Organisations pursue the complete solution

Technology is playing a much bigger role in customer’s lives, and is changing the way senior management view the IT department. Historically the CIO’s role was to keep the lights running, now however, IT is considered to not only be the key to unlocking new revenue, but also a way of keeping up with the competition. This shift is almost causing management to expect IT to build the perfect solution, which will solve every problem vs. the ones which offer the most value.

Information technology and business are becoming inextricably interwoven.

Late to market

Organisations that mount technology projects hope to achieve some significant results never before achieved. Management look to successful technology companies as the benchmark, but only focus on the end product or services rather than the minimal viable steps they took to get there. Very quickly, assumptions are made and the sheer size these projects grow to results in severe delays. This causes significant brand impacts, and in some cases results in the loss of customers and overall market share. Read More

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Posted on April 14, 2014 by

Designing for Emergence

The world around us is becoming more complex, it is almost accelerating away from us. Being able to plan in this ever evolving world is becoming even more difficult as time passes.  New technology, and approaches almost appear daily, which makes planning for these events, almost impossible.

Linear approaches to design are no longer the right thing to do in this ever moving world. Human needs are changing almost daily due to the changes in the economy, and advances in technology.

The irony is that organisations have stayed static, the business, which is exposed to the customer through the various engagements needs to be agile, but yet the organisation, which delivers the abilities still appears to be static.

We don’t want to be late to the party with a solution, when everyone else has already changed

Organisations still attempt to force best practices, and approaches, almost forcing constraints in the system, which hinders innovation, and forces organisations to be linear. Read More

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Posted on January 6, 2014 by

Taking the right path

In 2013 we saw the rise, and in some cases the rebirth of analytics and were told of the importance of using data to get closer to our customers.

The growth of social media and the birth of the omni channel has meant that understanding your channels and the related data is going to be the major challenge for organisations in 2014.

The ability to analyse and act on this data is becoming increasingly important to businesses. The pace of change requires companies to be able to react quickly to changing demands from customers and environmental conditions.

Due to this complexity we have seen the rise of new technologies such as Big Data.

“Data is the new science. Big Data holds the answers”

The term “Big Data” became the buzz word of 2013 it almost seemed the answer to all our problems.  The ability to manage all our data, report on it, and present it in various different ways. Read More

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Posted on October 7, 2013 by

Taking new steps

As the world becomes more complex and interconnected we are told more and more, that we must become innovative.  We must try and break new boundaries and almost make the impossible, possible.

Without creativity, there would be no progress, and we would be forever repeating the same patterns

We need to think outside the box, create new offerings, new business models and continually grow.

Why is it that so many organisations fail, regardless of how good the idea is, and why do our teams struggle to deliver no matter how clever they are.

Is this because we don’t have right mix of people, is management failing us, or is it just that the wider business does not get it, and we should just accept it. Read More

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Posted on September 10, 2013 by

Bridging the IT Gap

Over the last 10 years and possibly longer there has been a goal of achieving business and IT alignment.  In some respects this has become a core comptency in some jobs which are advertised.

As someone who works in technology I always ask why?

Technology now plays a significant part in our lives

The intent of technology was to make our lives easier and help us achieve jobs much more efficiently. However as technology has become more advanced it seems to have become its own organisation, within an organisation. You start to hear technology teams use terms such as “the business“.

Management also look at technology as the nerdy people who make things work, as long as they are happy, we are happy. Read More

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Posted on August 12, 2013 by

Bringing order to complexity

Design is all around us.  The products that catch our eye are driven by how they look and also how they make us feel, the complexity is hidden away from us as consumers. We are presented with something that is so simple that we almost forget how hard it must have been to define this level of simplicity.

“There is a profound enduring beauty in simplicity, in clarity, in efficiency”

The organisations that harness this simplistic approach are able to deliver products which seem to have always been in our lives and as users we are just able to use them, even if we have never used them before.

I always wonder why this same approach cannot transcend to business process and business design.

Why do we seem to make organisations so complex? Read More

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Posted on July 8, 2013 by

Communicating the value of your offering

Writing this post is somewhat a walk down memory lane for me.  Many years ago I started my career in a sales and marketing department for a small software house.  It always fascinated me how they were able to attract some of the biggest customers, yet they were no where near as big as their competition.

Some how they were able to tap into what made them different but then deliver exactly what the customer had bought. What was more impressive is how the sales and marketing team tapped into the data it retained on its customers and were able to bring this unique offering to a wider, but yet specifically targeted new audience, by spotting trends in data and identifying new prospects.

Anyone in the marketing field who is reading this is probably now shouting “this is marketing and its common sense” and I completely agree with you.

However lets fast forward many years to the current day.

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Posted on June 24, 2013 by

Consistently delivering the right offerings

As consumers we live in a world where there is now so much choice, we are offered products and services which many years ago were not even possible. Through all this choice we still demand a personal experience.

What is interesting is that regardless of choice and complexity, as consumers we know what we need to get the jobs done in our lives. When we look at something we are able to translate the offering into something of personal value, or can we?

Are products and services becoming confused? As organisations try to entice us with new offerings are the terms starting to become blurred?

Do the organisations themselves know what they are selling and is the offering really a product or a service and what are the implications of this confusion?

To add to the confusion are the teams which are designing and implementing these offerings working together to ensure what is delivered is consistent, and aligned to the rest of the organisation?

First let us explore the differences between products and services and focus on why it is critical to get these definitions right.

Products vs Services

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Over the years the term product and service has almost become part of one overall offering, which in some respects has added to the confusion.

For example if you had bought a car many years ago you would have just been buying the product ie the car.  Now a car buyer buys a comprehensive bundle of service benefits, in addition to the tangible components of the car. However, there is a distinct difference between them and it is important to establish some working definitions.

While a product is something that can be measured and counted, a service is less concrete and is the result of the application of skills and expertise towards an identified need.

A product is something you can point at, whereas a service, as The Economist defines it, is any activity “you can’t drop on your foot”. This to me seems a perfectly sensible definition but has the digital age almost confused us.

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Posted on June 10, 2013 by

Softer side of change

Businesses have always looked at ways to improve, to either save cost or improve operating performance. The drive for improvement is even greater today due to the current economic climate we find ourselves in.

Traditional buzz words such as process re-engineering and process improvement are becoming part of every day language once again, as organisations try to become leaner.

The challenge faced by organisations when applying these improvement techniques is that the world we find ourselves in today is very different to when these approaches were first defined.  Organisations are no longer stand alone entities, most are now part of a large ecosystem with complex interdependencies, spread in some cases across the globe.

Has this complexity made us focus on the wrong areas and have we lost sight of our customer?

Should we still focus on the process or is another way of thinking needed to give us the competitive advantage we are all seeking.

To understand this a bit more we first need to understand the origins of process improvement and why it’s still considered an important discipline.

Business process

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Before we dive in we should explain what a business process actually is and what it represents in the wider context.

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Posted on June 3, 2013 by

Designing the business around the experience

When trying to start a business, you are probably going to focus on what your possible target market is first.  You will then start to look at gaps in that market and what the various opportunities and outcomes are, which can be achieved based on this research.

All that seems pretty sensible to me….

However if you speak to a business architect the likelihood is the word capability will come up first.  The architect will tell you how important business capabilities are and how they help define what a business does.

In their next breath they will tell you that the business capability model is the place to start.

You are told you need a capability model.

There is value in a capability model but when creating a new business model or a new product or service is this really the best place to start?

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