The transition to digital has been part of most companies for years and has only accelerated as the pandemic has driven more businesses towards an online model. As organisations attempt to adapt, the complexity of their technology and processes can make it very difficult to implement change and drive innovation.
Complex technology creates challenges
Expense can be high when managing the operating costs of a complex technology environment. Retiring outdated and inefficient applications that hold decades of data can result in huge dependency management issues and disruption. Small adjustments can quickly spiral into expensive efforts with long time frames. Retiring one application can cause a ripple effect and require attention further down the line. This added cost can often lead a business to question whether it is necessary and they may ultimately decide to leave things as they are.
Accepting complex technology within a business has its’ risks. For a company that operates a variety of platforms, databases and applications as well as end user tools such as Excel, implementing changes can be difficult. Without a clear and concise technological process there may be a higher possibility of data leaks, cyberattacks and money wasted on managing the operating costs of multiple platforms.
Start by analysing complexity
The first step in managing complexity is to figure out how to analyse the current state of the business. Important factors to consider are:
- Identify applications that perform similar functions
- Measure the numbers of copies of data
- Tally the number of reports used
- Discuss the tech processes with different people at different levels within the business and hear their views
Reduce complexity of your technology and engage business leadership
Many corporations use several similar reporting and analytics products, with only slight differences in capability. But scaling back to a single, standard platform reduces the complexity and can reduce costs.
Many larger companies have technology teams who are responsible for deciding which different systems and products the company will use. Encouraging these teams to consider complexity and allowing them to steer the business decision-makers towards reducing that complexity is a good starting point. Both business and technology leadership need to align their vision and agree to make the necessary changes.
Technology teams also need to ensure that they take the time to educate business leaders on the impact that their technology-related decisions can have on the business processes as well as the cost and risk associated.
The challenge of updating technology and system processes is one we see often within the interim market. With companies frequently hiring interim managers specialising in system change and implementation, we see first-hand the overwhelming complexity and cost these changes can bring to an organisation. Reducing complexity cannot be solved instantaneously and needs to be thought of as a length process, taking many months but more likely several years to complete. Start by analysing the existing challenges then define the steps required to reach a more streamlined technological environment. Gains may be modest at the beginning but could be beneficial – if not crucial – to the resilience and agility of the company.