Tech success hinges on the participation of your people.

It came as no surprise that digital transformation and automation took center stage at the recent IT Summit in Western Australia. We caught up with Troy Sweeney afterwards to hear more about what's top-of-mind for people in the tech industry.

1. Based on some of the conversations you had at IT Summit WA recently, what seems to be keeping IT specialists awake at night?

It’s clear that while standard IT issues like tech security and digital transformation are top-of-mind for many technology specialists, it struck me that there is a growing awareness of the need to focus on people and culture. Both of these are key to the successful adoption of software and IT platforms.

As a result, some organizations are attempting a more human-centered, holistic approach to the way they integrate technology into their organizations. For some IT specialists, the skill to foster people engagement is not a natural one, which is lending credence to the opinion that change should be driven by business teams rather than IT teams.

In my work with teams that introduce process improvement software into their organizations, businesses enjoy a far higher uptake of the new platform when the change is driven by business teams. Many of our clients, like La Trobe University, can vouch for that fact and have created a strong process improvement culture.

2. Are IT teams alone in the challenges that they face?

No, not at all, which is funny because often there is an us-versus-them mindset in organizations. One of the main challenges for both IT and business teams is to continually upskill, to remain relevant.

Coupled with the demand for innovation and agility in the technology space, IT specialists are expected to continually realign so they can adapt to ongoing changes, while arming their organizations with the tools to navigate these murky waters, too.

Also, the demand for efficiency won’t disappear in a hurry – organizations are constantly trying to find better ways to do things in a bid to become lean, high performers. With the promise of how automation can add to the efficiency piece, organizations are turning to technologies that can give them the edge, making them smarter, faster, better.

IT teams certainly play a big role in identifying the most relevant platforms to take on the automation challenge. But it’s the business teams who are best placed to comment on the as-is state of existing processes, a critical step in preparing for automation.

3. Tell us more about the role of people in preparing for automation.

People are key for two reasons. Firstly, teams don’t come to work to do a bad job. Most of us want to make a meaningful contribution to our organizations and to feel that we add value. Execs can use this to their advantage by enabling their teams to do their best work every day.

Secondly, people are at the heart of process, and process is key to successful automation. That means the contributions of your teams are critical if you want to automate those processes that are actually being used, not the outdated versions sitting – untouched - on a drive somewhere.

I think W. Edwards Deming said it best: ‘If you can’t describe what you’re doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing.’ Be sure you know exactly what steps are being followed by getting input from the teams who execute the processes.

Creating, capturing and reviewing processes has helped many of our clients to identify shortcoming in their processes, before they automated them. It’s simple: rubbish in, rubbish out. Make the effort to capture your processes before automating them.

4. As a business improvement specialist, what have you seen organizations do to successfully enable change?

Recently, the impact of organizational change impacted me personally after Nintex acquired Nintex Promapp. Typically, the level of change that comes with mergers and acquisitions results in a time of uncertainty for people, and adds complexity as teams integrate different processes and systems.

Of course, no change is ever perfect, but at Nintex we’ve seen real success by acknowledging that people are at the core of successful change management.

Enabling change requires effort, but with the right approach it is possible to get collaboration and do change well. In my experience, I’ve seen the following ideas get teams onboard with change:

  • Recognize issues and iron them out fast.
  • Get teams aligned on the values of the organization.
  • Communicate! Teams can’t move forward in a vacuum of silence.
  • Capture what people actually do every day.
  • Get buy-in from your leadership team.
  • Be open and transparent, even when ‘we don’t know yet’ best describes the current situation.
  • Hold frequent question-and-answer forums to share news, whether it’s positive or not.

Guest blogger bio.

Troy Sweeney, Nintex Promapp account executive, is passionate about helping teams simplify process management and create a positive improvement culture.

He holds globally-recognized accreditations in Lean Six Sigma and Prosci Change Management, and has a successful track record in improving business performance and customer satisfaction. Since joining the organization, Troy has been responsible for helping hundreds of organizations across Asia Pacific, EMEA and North America to discover the benefits of business process management.

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