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Blog March 01, 2016

Digital Acceleration – Measuring the effects of new ways of working

Performance and business development have always been factors for success. Today these abilities are very the lifeblood of successful organisations.

We cannot afford to stagnate or underachieve. By developing the way we communicate, collaborate and get things done, we become a more responsive, agile and high-performance organisation, that is faster, smarter and more durable than the competition. This is what we call Digital Acceleration.

”Digital Acceleration is powered by the Digital Journey – a proven methodology that turn your investment into tangible business value”

To be successful we need time, resources and durability. A broad internal collaboration is important since to enable a holistic approach. Why? Simply because Digital Acceleration is about embedding new ways of working in the organisation to create tangible business outcomes. Adoption is key, and to drive adoption we must focus on both technology, office environment, processes, culture and people’s behaviour. Technology is important but it will not take us all the way. 

To continuously increase the business value, we focus on the Digital Journey, a proven method of incremental developments, tracking and iteration. The Digital Journey helps us define and prioritise our ways of working to align them with the overall business vision and key objectives. And by measuring the Digital Journey and the adoption progress we 1) make sure the investment stays on track, 2) is optimized and 3) create desired business outcomes. C-level support and commitment are very important, as well as appointing a team that drives the journey forward. Often we as an expert partner work alongside your in-house team and vendors.

”Digital Acceleration is powered by the Digital Journey – a proven methodology that turn your investment into tangible business value”

However, how efficient are our meetings? And do we need all of them, or are there other ways of working? And what happens after a meeting? How do we make a decision? What can we do to make meetings more efficient, and, perhaps most important of all, how do we ensure that they deliver result?

Streamlining meetings is a capability organisations should develop to become more productive and to create more business outcomes. To do this we must define a vision and measurable goals that include technology, office environment, processes, culture and behaviour. The right office environment and digital tools are of course requirements to make meetings efficient. However, an efficient meeting culture and the right behaviours are also necessary. As well as good processes. 

"To succeed, we must measure two things; effects and progress."

The effects are the business outcomes we want to generate with our new way of working. This could be productivity, engagement, innovative power etc. However, introducing new ways of working takes time and requires incremental developments and iteration. By measuring both these perspectives, we increase the value of new ways of working, both for the business and the end user.

Defining a vision for a working scenario is important to accelerate our Digital Journey since it points out the direction for us and help us set the goals that will takes us in that direction. An example of vision for the "more efficient meetings" working scenario, could be that "each meeting must value our time and should develop our business goals". Examples of goals can in this case be that "no meetings should be held without defined objectives and goals" and that "meetings should, as far as possible, be available digitally".

"A goal is measured with Key Performance Index (KPI), which enable us to follow the progress of each goal. We increase a KPI by focusing on prioritised Use Cases. This will give us a measurable ROI."

In order to create value (increase KPI) for a working scenario, we must embed it into our working life in a natural way. Technology itself does not create value; it’s when we use technology the correct way we create value. However, to develop company culture and people’s behaviour takes time. In the Digital Journey, we divide these changes into three phases; Adoption, Engagement and Autonomy. The value of a working scenario will increase with higher level of autonomy.

The Adoption phase

In the adoption phase, we help the organisation understand and embrace the new way of working. We focus on communication, training and leadership development. In this phase, activities are measured quantitatively since it is more important that we "do something" than doing things the right way.

The Engagement phase

In phase two, managers, teams and employees begin to understand how the new way of working should be performed. We start to take more initiatives and in the Digital Journey we now start to stimulate more correct behaviours. This phase is critical to reach to make the new way of working “stick”. If we lose momentum people often return to their old ways of working. By measuring activities (quantitative) and how we use the working scenario (qualitative), we can follow the progress and are able to focus on the best suited Use Cases to drive adoption towards autonomy.

The Autonomy phase

In the final phase (Autonomy), the new way of working is fully integrated in our daily work life and processes. The work scenario is completely automated and we can now measure tangible business outcomes delivered by each specific working scenario. In this phase, we focus on activities that drive business outcomes and helps us maintain continuity in the working scenario. We measure quantitative and qualitative values in order to identify the next step in the Digital Journey.

”The Digital Journey keeps us up to speed with important changes both inside and outside our organisation and helps us adapt and evolve with them.”

The Digital Journey is also about evaluating the way we work in relation to changes both inside the organisation and outside. It’s important to keep up to pace with rapid digital evolution, since it continuously creates new possibilities for improving and refining the way we work. To increase the effect and to analyse the Digital Journey we focus on Use Cases –defined and measurable goals.

"A Use Case is a small development in the Digital Journey that drives us forward in our Digital Acceleration program."

Use Cases for "more efficient meetings" can be to increase knowledge about the technology in a conference rooms or increase knowledge concerning formal meetings (agenda, notes, decision techniques, etc.). It can also be that we need to implement new technology and/or redesign the office. And more.

We focus on a Use Case for 3-6 months then we measure the progress and evaluate the next step. This creates an agile and responsive capability where incremental changes steer the Digital Journey in the right direction stated in the Digital Acceleration vision.

In conclusion, Digital Acceleration and the Digital Journey have much in common with how sports teams work. In a business, we also need a vision, goals and clear leadership. And we too need to develop our strengths and smartness, and learn to collaborate better than the competition. We also need motivation, patience and to have fun together! And, if we don’t win this year, there will always be a new season to try again. 

Joakim Berg Enfo

Enterprise Social & Cloud Productivity Advisor