Does Your Digital Transformation Need a Tune-up? Don’t Leave Operational Tasks Behind


Despite well-intentioned efforts from the c-suite, a key part of digital transformation is often forgotten. Neglecting to prioritize the automation of operational tasks can slow your progress. Dinesh Varadharajan, Kissflow, shares what you need to know to get back on track. 

Imagine: you are a Grammy Award-winning rock star ready to embark on your first stadium tour—a hallmark of entertainment industry success. The process of planning and executing a spectacular series of performances involves many stakeholders. What the fans see on stage is not possible without laborious operational effort behind the scenes. 

In the enterprise today, total digital transformation is the pillar of success. But like a stadium tour, it’s impossible to pull off without an efficient and seamless method of executing all of the operational tactics. Only when you support a wide range of collaborative internal functions with technology is full digital transformation made possible. So what is holding things back?

Why Many Digital Transformation Initiatives Stall

Despite well-intentioned efforts from the c-suite, digital transformation fails more often than not—70% of the time, according to McKinseyOpens a new window . A difficult process to endure, digital transformation fails for several reasons. At a high level, there is too often misalignment between IT and business leaders. Digital transformation gets over-indexed on back-end infrastructure with little to no focus on front-end, forward-facing business value. Adopting new technology, software, or core IT modernization without defined business outcomes is not a recipe for success.

Additionally, as with any process deemed transformational, digital transformation requires a culture shift. To optimize this change, a company’s culture must adopt and foster an environment that embraces continuous learning. Leaders need to set the standard for internal communication initiatives that encourage cross-departmental collaboration, where both IT and business teams work together. The relationship among these teams should be developed, nurtured, and examined regularly to ensure synergy is not lost. Also, as change happens, business leaders should consider the longevity of the systems and processes they build. Are they adaptable in an even more digital future? Can they be easily taught to the next generation of business leaders?

Another reason digital transformation efforts fall short is that operational transformation is neglected or never optimized. CIOs and other business leaders frequently focus on building or buying core solutions to beef up their CRM, ERP, or data analytics capabilities. However, more granular, operational-level applications fall by the wayside and are never developed because IT fails to see them as a priority. Digital transformation is not possible without operational transformation (OT), but what underpins OT?

Addressing “Long-Tail” Tasks – the Key to Operational Transformation

Neglecting to address OT as part of your journey to comprehensive, end-to-end digital transformation results in many manual processes for internal operations that sap valuable time and resources. When ignored, these “long-tail” operational applications become that missing part of true and complete digital transformation. This is like running a concert tour without operational support for contracts, lights, sound, ticket sales, etc. In terms of operational transformation, what do we mean by long-tail apps?

At Kissflow, we call all of these operational projects together the long tail. If we visualize an organization’s work as a parabola skewed right, many operational tasks in the “long tail” jam the system with inefficient manual processes. Long-tail applications include approval management, creative requests, incident management, customer onboarding, IT helpdesk, etc. Neglecting to support these long-tail tasks can prevent your organization from true operational efficiencies (and subsequently, digital transformation), but how can you build and execute these long-tail applications?

Achieve Operational Transformation with Low-Code & No-Code Technology

Operational transformation can be realized when long-tail operational tasks are automated or enabled through a collaborative app. However, the key to this step is including the most valuable assets: People. When employees have command and control of operational tasks, they are empowered to contribute to operational change. The roadies and sound crew make that rock show a success. 

Traditionally, building solutions to automate work processes were cumbersome because they added to the IT backlog and required near-constant management. Today, C-suite staff and IT leaders can allow their business users—citizen developers—to own the creation and implementation of custom applications that fit their use cases. Low-code and no-code platforms open the door for business teams in the trenches to build apps for long-tail operations, which frees up IT teams to focus their efforts on higher-level strategy and helps to scale applications once the power of no-code has reached its limits.

Low-code and no-code tools allow teams of people without specific coding language expertise to contribute to real operational change. Platforms that utilize pre-built templates within a design environment that doesn’t require advanced skills allow citizen developers to aid an organization’s overall operational transformation initiatives. With custom configurations available, teams will also feel empowered to use these tools to the maximum benefit for their specific use cases.

See More: 3 Reasons Why Companies Must Be Prepared for Digital Transformation

Where Digital Transformation Meets Operational Efficiency

Digital Transformation cannot exist in silos. For a successful digital transformation, enterprises should transform their operations. Operational transformation can be only achieved by eliminating and actively managing long-tail processes. LCNC platforms have become a key tool in enabling business users to manage the long-tail bottleneck. 

These employees take ownership of these processes and are invested in the outcome, making transformation more collaborative and complete. The unintended consequences of using LCNC platforms may be quite surprising, too. Non-technical employees who aren’t bogged down by laborious manual processes will be happier and more fulfilled. They will feel satisfied knowing they are contributing to their organization’s transformation without relying on the IT department to get the momentum going. Affecting real change happens when everyone is involved. 

Operational tasks are the leg work required to put on a great show. Whether you’re a marketer or an IT specialist, your contribution can be valuable. At the end, the whole is bigger than the sum of its parts. When the operational transformation is the structure supporting a larger digital transformation initiative, your transformation “tour” is bound to be a resounding success!

Which best practices have you considered to tune up your digital transformation strategies? Share with us on FacebookOpens a new window , TwitterOpens a new window , and LinkedInOpens a new window .

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