Businesses, I believe, are being challenged in unprecedented ways to respond to market realities and demands. There is no play book available for some of the large changes that we are witnessing today both on the demand side as well as supply side. Newer technologies are constantly challenging the existing status quo and traditional industries are getting reimagined and disrupted. And all this is happening at tremendous pace and scale. This has put Digital Transformation initiatives on steroids.
At the heart of Digital Transformation, according to a HBR article are 4 main pillars:
1. IT uplift – means broadly mobile, data lakes, cloud, modernization, etc.
2. Digitizing Operations – It involves taking manual/ analog activities and making them digital and continuously improving them to meet customer demands and other business opportunities that present themselves
3. Digital Marketing – This involves Branding, Profiling, targeting, and selling and mapping customer journeys accurately
4. New Ventures – This involves new initiatives, seizing new opportunities, continuous experimenting, pivoting.
If we carefully think about this the pillars 2, 3 and 4 have the following common characteristics which literally make or break companies –
- Ability to create new digital activities, processes, methods
- These will outpace legacy enterprise tools and applications ability to respond
- Business will take ownership of these changes and de-couple from the IT departments to implement this
- This will keep evolving and changing and the application must adapt to it quickly
- Work about work must constantly come down given the demands of business
- More and more work will be initiative and project driven as opposed to steady lights-on operations of the past
On the other equally, if not more, important dimension of people and human resources, there are many monumental changes. For most of human history we have been more worried about being alive and putting bread on the table than thinking about our life’s meaning and purpose. Increasingly things like automation and technological advances take out the more mundane, routine activities from work and expect us to be conceptual, insightful, creative, and innovative. Soft skills have become more important than hard skills. It has moved from bringing brawn, to brain to emotions – our whole authentic selves to our work.
Workplaces have moved from very tough industrial conditions to nice and comfortable offices to virtual and remote. Companies have moved from having mostly employees to having a small number of sub-contractors to large numbers of independent freelancers and gig workers around the world intensely collaborating and playing key roles in the company. From mistakes and experimentation being very costly and undesirable behavior modern businesses must encourage them to experiment and provide enough psychological safety for their team members to remove the fear of failure.
In short, today we are being constantly challenged to be more human and yet deliver more. This is unchartered territory again with no playbook on the people dimension.
These new realities and challenges will create a new category of applications that will rapidly digitize work, workflows, allow for quick creation and changes by the end user to meet her needs, super easy and exciting to use and integrate seamlessly to connect the dots and data. It will mean the ability to quickly drag and drop with a low code/ no code platform. It also inherently means work will have to be visualized seamlessly in four dimensions – list, timeline, calendar, and board.
It also challenges us to create a work environment that can connect our work to key company objectives, thereby constantly making our work meaningful, keeping us connected to collaborate effectively both at the contextual level as well as overall situational awareness by communicating transparently what is happening more broadly, understanding team sentiments and valence, prompting, and nudging human values and behaviors like appreciation, respect, encouragement, joy, positivity, help, continuous learning, and overall well being.
With the launch of Nimble, we are making a modest beginning to deliver on a vision I believe will be truly revolutionary in helping individuals, teams and organizations perform in a truly differentiated manner to deliver significantly higher levels of improvement, innovation and business value!
Chief Business Officer