Sunday, 7 February 2010

Demystify, Democratise and Deliver

For my entire career I've had this three D's principle. Don't worry it won't take long to explain. Basically, I think everyone's role in digital within large corporate environments is to demystify, democratise and deliver (basically, complete their jobs in that order).

So, at first we should make the rule that if something is described in jargon or in a confusing manor then the person describing it should be addressed and told to explain it properly. If digital professionals do this then other (very smart) people can get involved in the conversation and start to make a real contribution.

Whilst this simple approach to demystifying things helps democratise digital a little there are many other things that then need to be addressed. Digital teams have business processes and functions which are unfamiliar to others. They process insight and make decisions in different ways, often a lot faster than other teams. Equally, the test and learn capability of a digital team is far greater as it is a lot easier and cheaper to do this in a digital environment compared to a physical one. This needs to be aligned to the rest of the business and 'educational' seminars held to ensure everyone understands and can be a part of it. Equally, the pace of the digital world and the rate at which opportunities are identified and acted on needs roles that actively ensure these are understood by all relevant parties.

Once this is all happening we can get on with the process of delivery. Here is where the digital world still falls massively short. Delivering is not really about the code or tech. It's about understanding the requirements and needs of customers and business operations & people, completing business practices, like business case development, selling ideas and making sure that innovation coming from all aspects of the business has a voice and a robust change management process to make it happen. It's about research and gaining insight into customers’ needs and behaviours. It's about creating a full multi-channel perspective and P&L representation. The list could go on and on. The digital practice needs to start to mature. By tapping into the entrepreneurial, passionate and enthusiastic characteristics of digital people this doesn't mean these practices are just learnt but they need to be considered, understood and evolved in collaboration. Then digital won't just be an output or production function but one that drives the strategy of organisations and gains the focus and attention its contribution deserves.

This principle still forms the single biggest focus in my career. And if you think about all the really successful projects and the one's that have gone on to turn businesses around they usually have a massive component of business process and function re-engineering or corporate cultural change and/or a massive impact on the business strategy (maybe they have even set a new strategy).

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