We tend to think of organizations as a collection of silos, as seen in the the front-office and back-office distinction. However, with the advent of digitization and automation, it becomes possible to break down silos with better access to data and insights. What would such an organization look like?
- In the world of work, we've been fixated on our silos. Why else would I have just covered front and back office in a way to describe areas within an organization where automation could play a role? We design in silos, we hire in silos, we invest in enterprise technology in silos. Furthermore, we also serve our customers in silos. But recently, some people have started to foresee of a future where, by using platforms and automation technologies, we can create better access to organizational data and in so doing, we can break down those silos within the organization.
So picture this, in the future, after a customer speaks with a front office customer care agent, that interaction and the insight generated would be shared with for instance, a supply chain professional trying to ship the good to the person that the agent just spoke to and also with the finance and accounting department that collects the money for the shipment. You see, silos no more because silos throttle data creation, stifle insight, and just generally create a bad experience for everyone.
You feel this every time you try to book that holiday we mentioned or interact with your bank or try to navigate the health care industry. Having to fill in numerous identical forms or tell that next agent, I've already given you this information. It's just not acceptable anymore. The new generation of digital native customers will leave you faster than you can say, the computers are being slow today. And with increasingly digital levels of operation infrastructure, the hope is we can move from the feeling of many offices to a reality in which there is effectively just one, one office, one integrated enterprise connected by data, underpinned by intelligence, designed with the science of service to be absolutely focused on the end result.
One such framework that highlights this concept is actually called one office and was developed by HFS Research. In their model, there are five fundamentals of the digital one office. First, that it fosters genuine digital customer, partner, and employee engagement. Second, that enterprises leverage design thinking techniques to achieve continuous digital outcomes. Third, enterprises create a digital operations foundation able to automate, digitize, virtualize, and secure.
Fourth, that enterprises establish an intelligent, digital, support function free from the silos we mentioned and the hierarchies that often accompany them. And finally, fifth, all business processes should be intelligent, designed as such to create the data that will promote predictive decision making. And the end result should be, no matter what sort of customer you are, be it a customer of your company's HR department or an account holder at a bank or a patient in a hospital, the integrated organization of the future should be able to help that customer one caring interaction at a time.
But I'd chance a guess that organizations like yours are far from this integrated, one office reality. To get there, you'll need technology, design thinking, capable change management and a strong mandate for change. Let's move on now and talk about putting together that mandate.
- Understanding the digital operations landscape
- Where digital ops fits in your business
- Digital ops front-office and back-office use cases
- Drafting a strong, top-down mandate
- Investing reasonably in digital transformation
- Managing expectations for AI projects