The automation of routine, complex or dangerous activity is an inevitable and logical path forward for New Zealand businesses. We should be increasingly looking first to a digital solution for any problem or opportunity and always one that is easy to use and maintain.

For instance, there is a vast amount of software solutions that are easy to buy and use, and if we have done well the software will even integrate with other software to digitally enable an end-to-end process. Therefore, we can make our working life much easier if we understand our business processes and therefore our requirements. Many of us in business are getting quite practiced at this new and necessary skill set.

Right now, depending on your role you are doing a good proportion of your work without having to think too hard. You, and NZ, would be better off if a larger proportion of our working time was spent thinking hard, solving big problems, dreaming up new designs, creating rich content, crafting a chair, and writing songs. For most of us we would need that harder work compensated for with more rest and leisure time.

So, this might seem like a logical and forgone conclusion of increasing digitisation, but the journey and destination are not certain at a company level. It would be best to prepare well to approach this increasingly digital future with more confidence.

Firstly, start by educating the company as you should always be trying to improve your digital knowledge. But be selective, you cannot possibly be an expert across all digital domains. What is important to your role, your interests, and your capacity to absorb the knowledge? In any business there are three levels of digital education.

  1. Operational level, where a good level of understanding is required for digital devices that are being used in the workplace. From laptops to machine control units, through to a level of understanding of how to maintain and repair digital devices, with the latter being an activity that can be outsourced.
  2. Tactical level, who need a high level of digital understanding in order to best select and implement digital solutions, by effectively retrieving business requirements, evaluating digital options, and to project manage their implementation and then to get most out of the digital solution.
  3. Strategic level, with accountability for the business direction taken, measuring performance, principles, values applied, and governance enacted.

Secondly, digital enablement is a form of business transformation, or at least a really good excuse for one. Preparation will include focusing on what the business is passionate about, so as to keep on track with that vision in order to reduce the noise, the convoluted and the unnecessary.

If it is to have any chance of success the first thing to focus on is the people, why do they work here and what will the company need to look like to keep them engaged?

Then understand the current process state to address the gaps to achieve a desired future state which will have improved connectivity of people, process, and systems including data.

Lastly, a digital enablement plan that reflects the nature of the company.

Scott Adams

Managing Principal, New Zealand

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