Are preventive measures really necessary?

Image with a question 'Are preventive measures really necessary?'

Is your Managed service provider a strategic partner?

Steve Ballmer’s quote challenges organisations to look at their technology investment as far more than a mere necessity. The organisation that views its technology requirements as no more than a cost centre does so because it cannot see its importance and its potential to create and achieve growth and change. The operationally mature organisation is one that understands its technology requirements and ensures they are met as effectively, yet efficiently, as possible. This in turn empowers their business growth.

I’ve recently spent a lot of time speaking about the operationally mature organisation – the one that has a clear understanding of its technology requirements and has a clear strategy to meet them. But the other part of creating an operationally mature organisation is managing its ongoing needs. Frequent technical challenges will undermine even the most mature organisation. At Majestic, we call this ‘Business As Usual Services’. 

So what does business as usual services look like? Well, it can be something as simple as taking a call from a user who’s having a particular issue, but more importantly, it’s working on preventing those issues from happening in the first place. And that’s really the essence of a managed, proactive service as distinct from a reactive service. We take a lot of the guesswork out. We have pieces of software and devices installed on our client systems that enable us to gain insight into the heartbeat and wellbeing of various systems that exist inside the organisation, be it hardware or software.

We try and stay one step ahead of problems by continuously monitoring and having people involved in our business that are always monitoring the health of our client systems. This means that we can be proactive about both identifying and rectifying issues before they become highly problematic, often before the client even notices their existence.

Majestic’s business as usual services are designed to reduce the downtime associated with technical failure. When business as usual services work as they’re designed to, organisations don’t even notice them, and that’s the way it should be. However, this also creates a temptation for organisations to cut back on those preventative measures associated with them because ‘everything is going well’.

A recent study by Gartner Australasia estimated that IT downtime costs business more than $46 million per year and that businesses often between $13,000 and $46,000 an hour through systems downtime, depending on their size. These losses include losses in productivity, time and resources but the lost reputation associated with those failures can be an even bigger, issue. That is why preventative measures, and business as usual services, are so critical.  

Forbes’ article ‘4 Hallmarks of a Great Managed Service Provider’, emphasises the need for your managed services supplier to be far more than just the people you call when something is broken. Majestic’s ability to look beyond simple technology needs, to assess our clients operational maturity across the 4 Majestic quadrants and then help them improve, deepens our relationship to that of strategic partner. It’s a key factor in the successful relationships we develop with our clients.

What does continual sipport mean for Majestic clients?

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What initial onboarding and then ongoing looks like?

Majestic continues its partnership with clients after the initial transformation phase is complete because best practice isn’t a destination, it’s a journey. We measure and test, continuously, to ensure that the solutions being utilised by your organisation are fit for your purpose and that you continue to reach your full potential.  

When our clients embark on a pathway to best practice, they can’t always articulate what they need or want, because they either don’t know what they want, or they think they do, but early into our journey together, they realise otherwise. To do the best for our clients, we often look beyond the initially stated needs and discover what is truly required.

Once we start working with a new client, there is generally a significant body of work that happens right at the beginning, and it happens for a number of reasons. It happens because they need to learn more about how we operate, and we need to learn more about how they operate. We engage an initial assessment process, during which we often identify a set of gaps or activities that need to be corrected or adjusted in order to bring the organisation to a baseline that will enable us to support them effectively. And so, we proritise those various projects at the outset.

Then at some point we get to a stage that we are comfortable that we can support the organisation’s business as usual, effectively. That doesn’t mean we’ve done all the projects that we intend to do, but rather that we’ve done enough in order to get to the point that we can start operating as we would ordinarily. That’s also where the real opportunities for improvement start. We look at their operational maturity and determine where we can create improvements. We also interact and engage with our clients in a manner that enables us to test and question and gain an understanding as to how what we’re doing is affecting and impacting them.

We look to identity repeating patterns in issues. Because we’re seeing patterns forming, that means that there may be a need to make changes to, or an investment in, a particular area – be it new technology, additional resources, or additional education. Whatever the case may be, by us continuously engaging and having these conversations with our clients we’re able to constantly improve on where we were at last month, last quarter, or last year.

A report from Cloudradar estimates that 1 hour of downtime often costs a business far more than you’d think. Regardless of how well configured and well maintained your infrastructure is, sooner or later something goes wrong. When it does, having a team like Majestic supporting your organisation results in quicker diagnosis, quicker resolution, and significant loss mitigation.

How does Majestic work with its clients to acheive best IT practice?

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What's the key to successfully implementing organisational change?

Client that wants to move towards best practice needs to know where they are now, where they want to go, and what they need to do to get there. Every client’s journey is unique, yet they also all follow a similar pattern. We’ve developed our own methodology for navigating the pathway to operational maturity that we use internally as well as externally.

Many organisations make the mistake of thinking of their IT team purely as the people who keep the internet up, the printers going and the emails sending & receiving. And while those roles are certainly all critically important, they only scratch the surface of that team’s true purpose – to allow the business to meet its objectives and deliver on its targets. The organisation that both realises and acts on, this principle, is the one that reaches high levels of operational maturity and then reaps the benefits that come from that. They do this by ensuring that their operations are assessed holistically, not just technically.

Although the path to best practice is unique to each client, there are patterns and similarities in each journey. We’ve been helping clients move toward best practice for a long time and in doing so, we’ve developed our own methodology that we use in-house as well as with our client base. It’s a reliable and accurate method that follows a set of a very well defined and repeatable set of steps to achieve an outcome. Part of that process starts with our assessment method, utilising the Majestic Maturity Model to establish where a client is at when we start, or even before we start working with them. We make that assessment by having a look at their technology, their people and their interactions with the market in which they operate. We blend those elements to form a view of how mature the organisation is overall, with the result being that we gain a lot of visibility into both where the organisation currently is and where it needs to go.

That’s a really important distinction because quite often, organisations simply go-ahead to address problems or issues they’ve identified by deploying some kind of new technology, but they do it without having a look at the organisation holistically. They then miss key factors and end up making the wrong choices. We take all that away. We remove the guesswork by using our framework, which then enables us to understand exactly what you should be looking at doing and when, with both short and long term goals. We do that because we understand that everyone has finite access to funds with which to make a change. As importantly, if not, more importantly, we also understand that too much change in too short a time can in itself break things.

Then, these changes are implemented together with the organisation with ongoing monitoring and quality improvement process backing it up. It can take some time, but we end up with a great strategic solution and an increased level of operational maturity for the client. So that’s the process we engage in to deliver specific outcomes, and ultimately the way that we support our clients as their technology partners.

This week we’ve been discussing how Majestic works with its clients to improve their operational maturity. A key factor in our success with our clients is our ability to help them manage change. There are precious few organisations that can truly claim to have implemented wide scale (or in many cases, even mid-scale) changes and have them run smoothly. When a change implementation project does struggle, many organisations will look at how they handled its resource allocation, timelining or budget, and adjust accordingly next time. However, something that many organisations fail to consider when implementing change, is that change must be implemented into a company’s culture and be inclusive from the top down. Helping to manage change from a cultural perspective and considering team members comfort is one of the key facets that make our client’s change process a much smoother, and ultimately, successful one.

 

Governance in Organisational maturity model

Last week we released a new article onto our LinkedIn company page “The 4 Critical Elements of an Organisation’s Operational Success” and in it, we introduced the Majestic Governance Meter. It allows organisations to identify themselves against the defined levels of maturity and identify where they are performing well, and where additional attention may be required.

What are the characteristics of an Optimised Organisation?

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How well is your organisation utilising digital technologies as a method of continuous improvement?

An optimised organisation is one where all the pieces of the puzzle fit together. The necessary procedures are in place, supported by the correct tools & equipment. Everyone understands the processes underpinning their roles and the ones adjacent to them. Staff are empowered to make decisions, supported by the framework of optimization that backs their day to day work. Is your organisation as optimised as it could be?

Automation is increasingly being deployed by organisations to help increase their efficiency and effectiveness. However, many businesses look to automation as a solution, when it is in fact, a tool. If an organisation’s processes are inefficient, ineffective, and fail to meet the needs of the business or its clients, then adding automation to them isn’t going to provide the solution it’s looking for. Indeed, automating a process built on inefficiencies often results in a worse outcome, as highlighted in this quote from Bill Gates.

The optimised organisation is characterised by a number of factors:

  • Their systems are fit for purpose and work together well.
  • Staff understand exactly what they need to do and when
  • Staff are well trained in the use of technology
  • Handoffs between different departments or different people are well coordinated
  • A program of continual improvement ensures that these optimised organisations continue to stay optimised as changes occur.

The optimised organisation has a clear understanding of who they are, where they are, where they are going and how they will get there. They have a well-internalised mission, vision and values. People are empowered, teams are empowered, and individuals are empowered, (within the framework of what the CEO or what the board expects, of course). So what we see in the optimised organisation is that all of the people know exactly what technologies they’re using for what purpose, how they’re going to deliver an outcome and how it will involve others. There is also an incredible amount of transparency between what different people are doing.

Everybody understands where a particular process is up to, who it came from, and who gets it next. There are very few, if any, blockages at all. When there is a workflow that requires multiple people to be involved in it or various approval processes, everybody understands exactly where it’s at. There are systems in place to support a process that gets stuck somewhere. If a particular individual is involved in a process and they’re not doing something when they’re meant to there are systems that will support them with messages, there are systems that will alert other individuals to take care of something so that a timeline doesn’t get missed. All of those things happen automatically.

The optimised organisation takes advantage of technology to really change the way in which they’re delivering processes, the way in which they’re doing things, the very way in which they perform their functions. All of those processes are by default, already dynamic, which means that they can be changed, augmented, modified, or shifted as the need arises. There is a process in place that allows us to improve and continue that cycle of innovation, and that’s how we end up with a really well operating organisation.

In MIT/Deloitte’s 2019 Digital Business Global Executive Survey, only 31% of businesses indicated that they were utilising digital technologies in their processes effectively. And although that percentage is growing year over year, it still represents a large volume of organisations missing out on the benefits that come when its maturity evolves to a high level of well-implemented automation. The way your organisation uses technology can be a key differentiator in your business, increasing your reputation and perceived value in the eyes of your clients. 

Forbes’ article ‘How Technology Could Impact the Workplace Over the Next Decade, attempts to forecast which digital products will be adopted into the workforce and how they will affect the employee experience, including the term ‘hyper-automation’. However, no matter how impressive any technology may seem, it will only ever be an effective strategic choice for an organisation if they first understand how implementing it would fit into, and benefit, the business as a whole.

What’s the best way for an organisation move toward IT best practice?

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Is your organisation implementing technology holistically?

Over the last two weeks, I’ve been speaking a lot about what IT best practice looks like. But how does an organisation move toward it? One of the most common errors is to think ‘IT’, and thus automatically think ‘Technology’. However, technology is not the answer, it’s only a tool. The organisation that focuses on business objectives and needs first then finds the solution to fit those needs, is the organisation that moves toward best practice.

Testing, if done at all, is almost always only completed when changes are implemented., either through the implementation of new solutions, or upgrades to existing ones. Testing, however, should be an infinite process because change is the only constant in any situation. Even if your technology doesn’t change, your business, your team, your clients and changes forced by external factors are all occurring around it. Through testing, you can identify inefficiencies and security risks and have a chance to address or amend them before they become problematic.

What’s the best method for an organisation to facilitate change from where they are now towards best practice? It requires very careful consideration of business and operational processes, and the level of maturity the organisation in question has currently achieved for both. It requires a deliberate focus on what the organisation does to underpin both the acquisition and retention of talent. It requires oversight of how the organisation ensures that it continues to retain its clients or its members. At the same time, it requires insight and understanding into what the organisation needs to achieve in order to grow. Whatever that kind of growth or whatever their objectives happen to be, how do we ensure that we keep all those pieces together, working in unison to achieve the right outcome at the right time? And how do we ensure that making an investment in a certain area is not going to undermine earlier investments or future prospects in another area?

We can only ensure this by looking at any organisation as a living whole organism. That means more than just looking at it as a sum of the parts and making sure that the parts stay together. It needs a holistic view and an equally holistic solution. When we do implement a solution, we need to ensure that we don’t just test it at the outset. Instead, we should continue to invest in testing those solutions over the course of the life of the technology and the life of the organisation. Why? Because regularly testing, not once every twelve months or every two years, but as frequently as appropriate, means our chosen solution can continue to be measured against the organisation’s objectives to ensure it’s still meeting its needs. We need to periodically ask ourselves:

  • What was the benefit we were expecting to get out of that particular investment in a particular technology?
  • Did we deploy it successfully? Are we managing it well now that it’s live?
  • What were its anticipated values and benefits? Did we get the right outcome subsequent to implementing it? What could have been done better?
  • Have any operational or organisational changes occurred since an implementation that requires adjustments to ensure it’s still providing maximum benefit?  

Following those steps on an ongoing basis is absolutely critical to achieving the maximum outcome from technology investment and to ensure that ultimately the organisation heads towards best practice.

The implementation of technology solutions to businesses isn’t new. In fact, it’s as old as the technology industry itself. And yet, we continue to see large scale failure across all industries when it comes to the purchase and implementation of technology. Why? Sharmila Chatterjee, MIT-based B2B marketing expert, states that this is because organisations don’t consider their business as a whole when making these technology investments. By considering all aspects of your business, even the social aspect, you can generate far more impactful technology outcomes. This is what will take your organisation to the best IT practice level.

This article, ‘10 principles for modernizing your company’s technology, published in ‘Strategy-Business’, highlights the key principles all organisations need to address when looking to achieve a best practice level with their technology approach. It emphasises the importance of understanding strategy first, designing for future as well as current needs, and ensuring that the business needs are prioritised ahead of the tech itself.

THE 4 CRITICAL ELEMENTS OF AN ORGANISATION’S OPERATIONAL SUCCESS

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Is your organisation fully optimised for success?

Over decades of experience, we have come to see that there is a range of behaviours that characterise the way organisations operate. This range is often indicative of the level of maturity they show in terms of their own organisational governance, their management structure and systems, operating processes and integration of services used to support the organisation’s growth and development. The Majestic Organisational Maturity model allows us to assess an organisation’s overall level of maturity against the 4 critical drivers or quadrants of success that enable organisations to achieve their objectives:

  • Process
  • People
  • Customers
  • Growth

The process quadrant measures how well the work systems and operational processes are being followed, how well are they automated and how effectively they support the business’s operations.

The people quadrant relates to how the organisation’s people are conducting those operations, how effectively they are empowered to deliver outcomes, and ultimately how engaged they are and happy with what they are doing as a result.

The customer quadrant is measured in the context of customer (patient, member, etc.) retention. It measures how well they are being provided with the outcomes they require and how satisfied they are with the results.

The final quadrant is growth. We measure an organisation’s ability to consistently reach goals, aspirations and what they are looking to achieve over a given period of time.

 

The aim - best practice

The ultimate aim of the model is to measure how an organisation is performing across every one of these quadrants and identify how close (or far away) they are to being optimised to best practice levels. It helps highlight the areas that require more improvement or investment to greatly increase the probability that they will achieve their objectives in the time frame they desire.

The best practice approach requires a holistic focus rather than just a systems-based one. An organisation that has achieved best practice, has ensured that they have an appropriately balanced approach to all 4 quadrants, and it’s backed by a process of continuous improvement.

When a holistic approach is taken, each part of the organisation is getting what it needs. Tasks can be performed more efficiently, which reduces costs, staff are less frustrated, which reduces employee turnover, and client satisfaction increases, which is ultimately the primary purpose of the organisation.

How well does your organisation measure up?

 

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In order to gauge where an organisation sits within each quadrant in relation to best practice, we also created the Majestic Governance Meter. The Governance Meter allows organisations to identify themselves against one of five levels of maturity as applicable to each quadrant. This helps to identify the areas where the organisation is performing well and those where additional focus is required.

So, how well does your organisation measure up?

This is a question that all key leaders should be asking because until an organisation has achieved, and can sustain, a level 5 in every quadrant, there remains the fact that your organisation continues to perform sub-optimally, but on the flip side, has the capability to achieve greater impact in the future, by improving the maturity levels in each quadrant.

What happens when an organisation operates at IT best practice level

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Majestic's CEO Tal Evans explains the benifits when an organisation operates at IT best practice level

There are multiple benefits when an organisation operates at the IT best practice level. The organisation sees better client retention as well as more interest from new customers. The reputational and financial benefits that come from this, resulting in great benefits for the organisation over time.

There are some very obvious positives to operating at a best practice level. I’ve previously discussed Majestic’s four quadrants:

  • Process
  • People
  • Customer
  • Growth

I’ve spoken a lot about the operational impact of your organisation’s technology environment recently. I’ve touched on the associated staff retention benefits that come with a solid operational strategy because most people are obviously happier to work where everybody knows exactly what’s going on. But operating at that level has an equal, if not greater, amount of impact on client retention strategies – whether you call them members or constituents etc., and no matter what your organisation is about. Because they’re getting far greater value out of their association with, and investment in your organisation.

Because things are happening faster or moving faster, there is far less friction in delivering an outcome, and they are far more inclined to continue to engage and continue to buy or whatever it is that they’re doing with you. That then, in turn, has a significant impact on an organisation’s reputation. We all know that when things are going well, and people share praises, that word of mouth has a significant amount of currency value in promoting growth and ultimately success. If we have happy clients and members, we are far more likely to grow and have more happy clients and members. We can achieve a better outcome as a consequence of that. When we don’t, we potentially end up with reputational damage. It’s far more costly to correct the mistakes associated with that than to prevent it by continuing to invest in organisational maturity underpinned by technology.

Steve’s quote encapsulates the need for an IT strategy in one sentence. Technology is not a solution in and of itself. If not applied strategically, it can no more solve an organisation’s problems than randomly waving around various power tools that could construct a house. Before investing in and implementing an IT solution, the organisation that operates at a best practice level really understands what its expectations of it are.

When was the last time a leader (or anyone for that matter) in you organisation, used the term “Our customers”, or “My customers”? It’s a common turn of phrase, but it’s also potentially false. They may be “Your customers”, but they’re also your competition’s best prospects, especially when you’re not providing what they need. The customer that isn’t getting their needs met will look elsewhere. It’s incumbent on every organisation to ensure that they’re meeting the needs of their clients and stakeholders. And technology is a big part of meeting those needs. Keep up with your competition and meet the demands of your customers by having your organisation practice at the appropriate IT level.

No organisation likes to make major investments without a solid look at the ROI (return on investment) involved. But how many organisations actually understand ROI principles when it comes to technology? Physical or human assets are an easier concept to explain to a board or other stakeholders. We understand that if we put on more salespeople, we can generate more sales. If we move to a bigger building, we can put on more staff. If we pay more rent to be in an energy-efficient building, it may or may not pay off in savings on utilities etc. These are all ROI concepts that are easy to follow, partly because they’ve been around for years.

When it comes to technology ROI, however, it often seems far less clear cut. The difference between one hardware over another, one software over another, cloud vs on-premises solutions, the type and structure of your network – all of these decisions must be made, but calculating their ROI is nowhere near as easy as the earlier examples above.

CSO Rebecca Waterman’s article “ROI 101: Making the Business Case for Technology Investments” breaks down some of the key complexities around ROI from a technology perspective. It’s a great read for anyone looking to understand more about how ROI is calculated.

What are organisational benifits of IT best practice

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Majestic's CEO Tal Evans discusses what do organisations avoid when operates at best practice level

The organisation that operates at the best practice level sees multiple benefits. Not only does their IT infrastructure run at an enhanced ROI, but their decision making across the board is also decentralised. Decisions are made faster, allowing for faster and more effective reactions to changes in the environment. This advantage allows organisations to perform far better than if they weren’t at best practice IT level.

Carlos Salinas de Gortari’s quote clearly isn’t aimed at SME organisations, and yet, the parallel exists. The centralisation of decision-making power does not result in better decision making. A bureaucracy often places limitations on human interaction and greater emphasis on policies and authority. Decentralising those decisions, allowing your organisation’s people to do the complex thinking that their expertise provides, allows for better decision making overall. By utilising technology in the best practice manner, necessary information is no longer centralised. By giving power to your employees, decisions will be made in a more efficient and effective manner, providing benefits all around.

Fundamentally, organisations that operate at the optimised level in terms of their operational maturity gain a lot of benefits that we don’t see in organisations that aren’t as mature in that context. As a consequence of that, they avoid all of the challenges that exist with a lack of policies and procedures, which result in ambiguous process flows. In an immature organisation, people are not sure where they need to go, what they need to do or where they need to enter information into. They don’t know how it flows and how it relates to others. Mature organisations don’t have those problems because they’re operating at a level that allows those things to be visible and transparent.

It’s not just a lack of process that holds back organisational maturity. The lack of being at that level is also underpinned by a leadership style that is often reluctant to release control to other people within the organisation because of their innate fear that if people are left to their own devices they’ll end up with a series of mistakes, which will be very costly for the organisation.

That fear-based thinking creates an almost paternalistic mentality in managing activities, managing the actions and the decision making within an organisation. It also then means that decision making is highly centralised. It relies on very, very few individuals, and it’s very easy for the majority of the people in the organisation to defer to somebody else in the making of those decisions because they don’t want to take responsibility for an outcome being the wrong one. Eventually, people stop making decisions and there is simply no accountability. Nobody is taking responsibility and that’s obviously a problem.

In cases that are perhaps not quite as bad, but still not desirable, we see that decisions are made by committees. It’s far easier when a collective makes a decision about anything and everything together because then the decision is not attributable to one individual who is going to take a fall if something went wrong. But as a consequence of that, the organisation can’t move forward fast enough.

Invariably committees don’t meet every day or every hour, they may meet every week or worse every month. If all the decisions that an organisation needs to make, even some of the really rudimentary ones, need to be made by a committee all those decisions are left to be made at a time when it’s perhaps already too late to make those decisions, leading to missed opportunities. Whereas in an operationally optimised organisation, with the right technology underpinning all of those processes with the right level of visibility and the right amount of trust, leaders are able to delegate better and things happen at a far faster rate, without the fear of negative consequences.

A recent study by publisher Industry Week looked at the financial ROI for companies that have adopted a decentralised approach. It found a consistent 33% increase in growth across key performance indicators over 5 years. With organisations increasingly seeing and adapting, to the benefits of a decentralised operational maturity, is this something your organisation has, or is, adopting?

This article titled ‘Navigating the brave new world of Decentralised IT’, published on CIO talks about how decentralised IT is discouraging bureaucracy and opening the lines of communication between different teams. This is really empowering organisations by increasing the impact of business processes and improving organisational culture.

Not considering Process Automation a business imperative

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Is your staff stressed because of repetitive tasks?

Contrary to an often-expressed opinion, process automation is NOT an effort to replace the workforce. Rather, it’s there to support it. Automation increases workforce efficiency and accuracy of output, resulting in increased productivity. It also reduces the need for your staff to complete repetitive tasks, giving them the flexibility to explore new ideas, complete more complex jobs and overall, focus on the core requirements that fulfil your business objectives.

Automation is an increasingly popular term for SME’s, to the point where it’s almost the new buzz word of workplace process. With the increasing amount of technology and services available to SMBs, automation is now more accessible and easy to implement than ever. However, as Bill Gates points out, not all processes are worth automating. Before you consider automating a process, consider both its efficiency and its impact. It may be that before automating it, there is a business case for the process to be overhauled.

Organisations understand that they need to have computers for people that are working in an office environment, and team members that need some level of mobility will have a laptop rather than a desktop. There is also a wide understanding that servers and/or cloud infrastructure is required for the different software products that the organisation employs to be able to do various things. But that’s where organisations tend to stop – with the purchase of hardware and software tools that people can use to perform tasks. At that point, a big mistake is made, and a great deal of potential is ignored. Because nobody looks at the manual operations being performed within their business, and what could be automated or replaced by a computerised process, rather than constantly having people involved.

The intent behind that is not to replace people. That’s a critical point to understand. The intent behind automation is to enable the organisation to have their staff, the core knowledge base in the organisation, deliver a higher impact. Tasks that can be put into a sequence of steps, that are done repeatedly, should be automated. Then your people can concentrate on doing better things. As a consequence of that, you’ll be able to continue to grow as an organisation. You will be able to continue to offer services into the marketplace without necessarily having to linearly grow the number of people in the organisation commensurate with the amount of services that you want to deliver. This aspect of automation is a very important and necessary one to realise to remain competitive as an organisation.

The next thing that we see is a fear associated with investing. Automation is sometimes seen as a lump sum investment, distinct from the hidden cost already borne by an organisation by having a bunch of processes that you’re paying salaries to be completed. The question is asked “Where am I going to find that budget to invest in that particular piece of automation when I’m already paying all those salaries?” Instead, we should be asking “What could our people be doing if they weren’t doing these repetitive tasks?” Because then our potential ROI becomes clearer.

People are not simply going to do less work, they’re going to continue to do as much work as usual. But with automation in place, they’re doing more impactful work. It’s really important to understand that. The final thing to realise is that not all automation is very expensive. Sometimes we can find a really simple solution that might cost a few hundred dollars and the impact of that particular automation could be in thousands, tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars over a period of time.

A 2021 Zapier report revealed that two-thirds of knowledge-based workers would recommend automation to other businesses. Of the ones that worked in environments with some level of existing automation, 65% indicated that they’re less stressed because their manual tasks were automated. Automation is about far more than merely reducing manual handling.

Why accuring a technology debt is a false economy?

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Is your organisation managing your technology debt effectively?

Deferring investment in technology is a tempting move for many organisations, particularly during times of stress. The immediate ‘payoff’ of not having to invest in technology means that resources are freed up to be deployed elsewhere. However, there is a hidden cost in the organisation’s growing inability to perform effectively in terms of providing services to existing clients and acquiring new ones, frustrated staff turning over at higher rates because they’re tolerating outdated equipment and unplanned replacement of equipment when it finally breaks down. Performing well in these areas is the key to organisational success, so investing in technology is a necessity in today’s market.

Technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace, and the market with it. Customers have new demands, enhanced expectations and they require services to be provided in a particular way. By making suitable, strategic investment, commensurate with the objectives of your organisation, you can meet these demands.

I think it’s important to understand that technology is going to cost money one way or the other. There is no way to avoid technology investment, but there is a way to ensure that it’s strategically managed. You can choose to ensure that you are keeping technology up to date, in line with the needs of your organisation. And yes, as a consequence of that decision, it’s going to cost money because there is a regular investment in the technology.

Or you can choose to continue to try and sweat those technology assets, making them work harder for longer than they were intended to. It seems attractive in the short term because there’s less investment. However, the hidden costs come from the lost opportunities, lost productivity and the impact on your staff. In addition, there’s also the impact it has on your current and prospective clients. Essentially, it’s a false economy to assume that by not investing in technology on an ongoing basis, you end up saving somewhere else.

Now the amount of investment varies from industry to industry, but typically what you should expect to see is a technology investment as a percentage of the revenue of the organisation, and that amount varies depending on the organisation and sector. But fundamentally every industry, and every type of business, and every business size has some metrics that are publicly available that we can help guide as to what is the appropriate level of investment for your type of organisation in relation to other organisations in your marketplace.

A recent US based study by OutSystems revealed that a shockingly low 15% of SMBs assessed themselves as managing their technology debt effectively, and only 35% believe they can manage it in the future. Is your organisation managing its technology debt as effectively as it could be? And if not, what is it costing you?

Anthony Mittelmark’s post on LinkedIn, titled ‘The Seven Deadly Sins of Tech Debt’, elaborates on the result of using outdated technology due to avoiding technology investment and development. These include key functional, cultural and managerial issues that highly impact an organisation’s processes.