Why operations should lead the charge on organisational change and innovation
Lounarda David, Chief Operating Officer at IFM Investors, explains why companies that rely on IT to drive innovation are setting themselves up for failure and why ops should be leading the way instead
Lounarda David, Chief Operating Officer at IFM Investors POSTED ON 4/8/2020 7:01:23 PM
It does depend on the organisation, but I feel that the new world does look very different from the old world of operations.
In the old world, innovation was primarily seen as an IT initiative and typically IT staff would drive a lot of it.
The development and changes were also dependent on the IT team’s interpretation of the business requirements, rather than the business driving the technology requirements and operations being the core and champion of the changes.
"In the old world, innovation was primarily seen as an IT initiative"
Comparing that model to today’s model, you will see a significant shift in thinking and approach.
Those organisation who differentiate between business innovation and IT innovation have created similar models to IFM where there is a dedicated business transformation team and capability.
This is the hub that plays a very significant role in transforming an organisation’s business, operations and practices.
Technology definitely plays an important role in these models, but more as an enabler than a driver.
The other attributes and capabilities that a transformation team brings in include increasing business efficiency, effective change management, designing optimal business solutions, product developments and strategic focus of the operating platform.
"Technology definitely plays an important role in these models, but more as an enabler than a driver."
This team sits alongside the IT team and collaborates closely with the IT team.
In these models, the IT team is more focused on the implementation of the new requirements and projects; whilst also ensuring the business engine operates efficiently every day.
The Transformation team, on the other hand, has a business and enterprise focus, forward thinking and inspiring innovation.
We deliberately created our model this way because the skillsets and experience you need for IT and business transformation are different.
"The transformation team has a forward-thinking focus, preparing the organisation for the future and embracing the new technology developments"
Recognising that innovation is not just about getting the best technology system, but also around effective operating models, capabilities, skills sets, practices, processes and governance arrangements.
More importantly, the transformation team has a forward-thinking focus, preparing the organisation for the future and embracing the new technology developments such as block chain, robotics and Artificial Intelligence, etc.
Adopting changes and such technologies can be challenging when you have a global organisation such as ours, operating in different jurisdictions and markets which are at different stages of their business maturity and technology evolution.
"I have seen a lot of innovations and strategic projects that have failed as they have been driven as an IT project"
Operations plays a very important role in transforming an organisation, by leading the charge.
I have seen a lot of innovations and strategic projects that have failed as they have been driven as an IT project without the appropriate collaboration and engagement from the business.
As a result, the developed solutions have not been robust or developed to address the business needs and deliver value to the business.
I have seen transformation projects that somehow lost the focus of the problems that they were trying to solve and by over complicating the issues, ended up building complex and sophisticated solutions that the business could not use, so the business continued to opt for their old practices and processes.
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