We believe that successful digital businesses understand the far reaching potential of digital empowerment. When we give front line employees technology that helps them collaborate and reshape the way they work we create a virtuous cycle of innovation and improvement.
Yet enterprise IT frequently disables, locking people into old ways of working that block collaboration or frustrate good ideas simply because they don’t fit or cost too much to implement.
Today’s businesses are seeing a rapidly growing gap between their appetite for digital change and the IT resources they have available to deliver it. Swamped by legacy systems, siloed data and locked-down budgets CIOs are often forced to maintain the integrity of the company’s traditional information systems at the expense of meeting its digital needs. In response many business people turn to ‘shadow IT’ such as spreadsheets, ‘quick and dirty’ application development or third-party cloud services – creating huge potential security and scalability headaches.
This requires a new kind of digital platform which empowers business and IT people to create applications in a shared, secure environment. By empowering more people to build simple solutions for themselves we free CIOs to focus on core technology challenges and the co-opting of successful innovations.
But creating a new collaboration framework for the digital business requires three interdependent capabilities:
Today many important processes at the edge of the organization are poorly served by back office systems and over-stretched IT departments. Successfully overcoming these challenges in the enterprise requires a new kind of business application platform, one which empowers non-technical people to safely build a range of simple solutions for themselves – helping them to fulfil unmet needs, address long standing inefficiencies and close collaboration gaps. By enabling business colleagues to build simple solutions for themselves we create a new army of developers well placed to drive business improvement beyond the scope of IT.
In many organizations the systems in use no longer reflect the way that work is actually done. This makes many important collaborations cumbersome, inefficient and overly reliant on email. To address this problem our application platform needs to extend beyond the empowerment of individuals and enable frequent collaborators to build applications that reflect the way they actually work together. Empowering networks of people in this way unlocks a broad range of benefits – from simply facilitating the informal relationships of frequent collaborators through to the creation of totally new ways of working that cut across organisational silos.
Empowering people to build solutions using a shared digital platform ultimately turns IT into a support structure for a whole new category of innovation. CIOs can allow innovation to happen anywhere before co-opting successful ideas for onward development and integration by IT. In this way digital evolution happens rapidly and dynamically, with many small improvements driving deeper transformation as they ripple through to core processes and systems. Over time, many small, low risk changes aggregate into a wider transformation, fuelled by a new digital culture where everyone is empowered to start a revolution.