This month one group decided to explore internal processes and again we discovered we had more in common than most would think. It is amazing how many times we see the same challenges in different business. The details are different but the concepts are shareable learning experiences and that creates value in the groups.
What was instantly discovered is that the need for tight policy and procedural control was in direct conflict with the need for creative business solutions in a world of rapid changes. Every organization in the meeting had a different mix of the same challenges. As the level of the person increases the need for tight procedures declines and becomes a restriction on the business but without the procedural processing the business struggles to deliver a consistent quality level. Giving executives tight procedures is as wrong as giving entry-level employees procedural latitudes.
This has always been a balancing act for CEOs but today it is tougher because the systems are changing at a rapid pace and often the change is outside the control of the CEO. In automated systems businesses that used to have one update every two years we are now seeing several updates per year and in the case of cloud solutions the pace is moving even faster. With some solution providers several updates per month is not uncommon.
Cloud computing was especially challenging for many businesses because the system changes are outside of their direct control. The challenge is that every system change has the potential of creating both an immediate employee training problem and a maintenance issue for existing data. Cloud computing is moving our systems from a fixed desktop to every interface device everywhere. With this comes a procedural and employee training nightmare. Service providers in the cloud are releasing new functions and features at a pace that challenges all the businesses that use or have contact with that system.
• Have we reached a point where technology change is outpacing the organization’s ability to adapt and leverage?
• Are we creating a situation where our ability to train employees, modify our policies and procedures, and deploy the function is the critical path item stopping us from moving the organization forward?
Ultimately the value of system changes is only realized when the organization can leverage that to create competitive advantage. The process of develop, release, test, fix, repeat or what some call rapid prototype development does get development done in a hurry but maybe it’s too fast. We often see changes to systems that have unintended consequences.
While every business in the Roundtable had a different combination of challenges that were unique to them we also shared very similar stories of the balancing of this part of the businesses. This is one of the unique values of this program.