Unstable processes life force of digital business

Bold action and inventive business models will be required to achieve success in an increasingly digital business environment, American information technology research and advisory firm Gartner Inc has predicted. By 2017, 70 percent of successful digital business models will rely on deliberately unstable processes designed to shift with customers’ needs, it has stated.

“Many organizations are either beginning or in the midst of digitalizing their businesses,” said Julie Short, research director at Gartner. “Only 30 percent of these efforts could succeed. To be part of that 30 percent, business and IT leaders must be willing to rapidly innovate their business models, processes and technology.”

Such innovation could make businesses unstable. Therefore, processes that are deliberately unstable must be designed to dynamically adjust to the needs of customers. They would play a vital role in differentiating a business from its competitors as they require ad hoc decision making to enable larger, more stable processes to continue.

“It’s imperative to break away from linear business processes and deploy a spectrum of standardized and variable processes to reap the benefits of digital business. The need for this shift is intensified by the introduction of many types of internet-connected ‘things’ into the business environment,” Short said.

Business processes must be designed for change to enable organizations to exploit real time information that smart machines generate for other machines. According to Short, large, stable processes that cannot dynamically change according to new information will not enable organizations to deliver on the promise of digital business.

Through 2017, 80 percent of organisations will be stopped from achieving desired business outcomes for their digital business strategies owing to a lack of maturity in business process management (BPM).

According to Marc Kerrmans, research director at Gartner, such deficits will prevent individuals who lead changes from delivering game-changing business outcomes. “Digital business investments require process reinvention — that is, significant innovation in how products and services are created, priced, distributed and serviced across the entire value chain — to deliver expected returns,” he said.

And one-time process reinvention is not enough. Organizations must become more resilient, adaptive and creative in order to master and sustain sudden, disruptive changes, as well as longer periods of transition — and even radical transformational changes that will be more frequent, unforeseen, varied and often unavoidable. Because organizations cannot control such changes, they need to sense, recognize and quickly respond to them.

“With adaptive change, the goal is not to try to tackle big change on every front. Rather, the focus is on coping with the external nature of major change and its impact on organizations, cultures, governance, technologies and metrics,” Kerremans said. “Change agents may need to employ several change response types to advance BPM maturity to the point where traditional business process improvement initiatives can turn into big change initiatives capable of supporting sustainable competitive advantage in a digital world.”