Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Opportunities for Digital in Your Business Model

A business model is how a business makes money, however the devil is the details. With the advent of new market disruption by upstarts with new or unique business models leveraging digital capabilities, there is a surge in activity inspecting business models. It is more important today to evaluate your business model for digital opportunities in a proactive mode. This is an imperative in a shifting sands world where there are technology advances plus environmental, legal and competition changes. In this writing, I'd like to highlight ten areas of your business model that could benefit from an inspection and the potential application of new digital methods and technologies.

Customer Segments:

It is pretty obvious that organizations can't survive without customers. Targeting the right groups to serve is crucial. Digital can assist organizations to reach and serve new groups with new and lower cost alternatives

Value Propositions:

The bundle of products or services is why customers select your organization over others. Digital can make your bundle be more attractive and compelling. In fact, digital can make your bundle appear more innovative and could be a disruptive force in your market place.


The way your organization reaches customer segments with your value proposition is a channel. Digital offers new ways to reach awareness of your organizations products and services. Delivering your value proposition in a unique and helpful way is something that digital can do.

Customer Relationships:

If you treat your customers like gold and they feel you are interested in their needs and perspectives before and after the sale, you are likely to retain customers and sell them more value. Digital can go beyond customer data to real customization around their journeys; not just your profits and standard interfaces.

Revenue Streams:

Pricing your products and services is always a key activity. With the advanced analytic capabilities that digital delivers, accurate and real time pricing is now available. These one time payments can be made into reoccurring revenues with the help of digital.

Key Resources:

In order to make a business model work, resources have to be selected, managed and optimized. With the advent of digital, existing resources can measured and optimized in real time. In fact resources can be optimized in the light of all the contexts they participate in to create a balanced optimization. Digital offers new connections and new digital resources (bots & sensors). This brings benefits and complexities.

Key Activities: 

These are the important activities and tasks that must be managed well to make the business model work. This requires a dynamic assemblage of resources, data and sequences to accomplish important outcomes. The proper orchestration of resources can be enhanced and optimized by increased digital presence.

Key Partnerships:

Partners are essential participants in creating desired outcomes in the business value chain. These relationships can be enhanced by digital through shared control over policies, resources and instant visibility for all parties.

Cost Structure:

The cost structure describes the important costs incurred through operations of the business model. Today cost structures are pretty brittle. With digital, not only can there be cost savings in the cost structure, but the structure can by dynamic and predictive in new ways.


If culture is a way of life of a group of people that includes behaviors, beliefs, values and representations they accept, live and communicate in their actions, then it is important to inspect it as a multiplier of your business model. This can be positive or negative when digital change is added to the mix. Just selecting a portion of the business model that gets a digital assist or makeover isn't enough. Assessing your culture for implementing business model change and how digital can help, will be an important step.

Net; Net:

Not checking your business model for digital impacts is a risky proposition. Selection of business model components to change can also be risky, if not managed properly. Making digital a positive force that can be exciting and fun is the way to attract the people in your organization that like or can deal with change. For those who can't or won't, additional incentives may have to be considered.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Digital: Is the C-Suite Asleep at the Wheel?

I heard from one of my avid readers, the other day, when I posted on building digital competencies and adding the right skills to the mix to transform to digital. His statement was:

The one key thing which needs to happen is Upper management has to start becoming more more digitally savvy and ask questions as to "how we can do insert function digitally?"

Was this a question based on his observation of what he saw happening in companies? I think so. I would also add unless there is a visionary at the top of the organization leading the way or there is the pain of competition eating away at revenue and cost structures, management doesn't want change. This is not the kind of leadership we need in organizations right now. So what can be done to wake up our slumbering management? 

Import Outsiders:

The one thing about being in an organization is that your opinion is not as important as the person who comes from outside your organization. Even if you say the same thing as an outside consultant or leader, it just doesn't count. The more you pay for the outside education or consultation, the better it is to most C Level folks. Even if it costs much, educate the C-suite about the opportunities and threats of going digital. 

Competitive Study:

Look at what others inside and outside of your industry are doing to leverage digital to serve their customers better, optimize operations or have new business models. This is not just mental gymnastics, but a search for how to deploy digital advantages successfully. 

Scour Success Stories:

Find examples of organizations leveraging digital. There are emerging examples in the financial and healthcare industries, but you can find examples in all industries. Here are a couple for you:

Give a Voice to Savvy CIOs: 

Often the business folks do not want to hear technical gobblety gook, but CIOs with a track record of innovation that can communicate with business folks are great assets to your organization. Many organizations are giving CIOs a seat at the business table. If you have a CIO that runs an operational utility, maybe you need a new CIO or a digital visionary. 

Experiment and Grow:

Find a business visionary below the C-level and let them lead a pet project that can leverage digital capabilities. This is a way to show that digital can add value over time. Innovation can be fostered by trying projects in a "model" way and deliver results that you can build on over time.

Net; Net:

The only time cities act to put up new traffic signals is after someone dies. We can't afford this kind of backward thinking in organizations that are trying to survive, thrive and capitalize in today's emerging digital world. There will be more "Ubers" rising 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Managing Energy with Real Time Demand Response

A leading provider of cloudbased energy intelligence software (EIS) and services to thousands of enterprise customers and utilities globally leverages BPM well. While this company sells EIS for corporate energy management, part of its solution uses discrete software to drive a service called “demand response,” which enables companies to curtail energy usage in exchange for payment from energy suppliers. Examples of curtailing include dimming lights, adjusting the temperature in a store, or shifting a production line schedule to a different time of day.

The Challenge:

As part of its digital transformation, this company needed an automated system to help make the notifications and curtailment process run smoothly and efficiently during demand response dispatches. Using BPM software, they created a callandanswer mechanism to notify providers when they need to start curtailing that triggers a notification back to this organization from the customers’ site that indicates, "Yes, we heard you." This starts the curtailing process: customers reduce their energy use according to a preset strategy, and this broker monitors the reductions and calculates the resulting payments. Once the dispatch window has passed, the broker sends another notification, alerting providers to stop curtailing and resume normal operations. Anytime a new technology is introduced, there is doubt and resistance. To overcome natural resistance to change, the broker developed a proofofconcept and used it to show employees that it was a much better solution than the previous practice.

The Solution:

Implementing a BPM solution provides an automated process with manual overrides if needed. This changes the human involvement from actively executing the process to monitoring and addressing occasional exceptions through manual overrides. This has eliminated the need for employees to set selfreminders and has reduced the human error element from the curtailing process. It has also increased the scalability of the brokers demand response infrastructure. Employees now focus on monitoring what’s going on and dealing with exceptions to process automations. Productivity has improved as a result. Employee adoption has been excellent, as the tool itself is an enabler for doing efficient work. Internal demand for BPM is high now as the broker further integrates the software, the company is building an internal program to help define current processes, identify problems and develop new processes.

The Benefits:

The automation and streamlining of the endtoend demand response journey resulted in several levels of benefit. This first step in the digital transformation has set a great precedent for embracing digitization across the board. The operators that are running BPM are able to easily handle more of the traffic that goes through on the days when curtailing takes place than they were prior to the deployment. The company is able to scale better and there is less human interaction in terms of monitoring, reducing human error. The system manages itself. Set it up in advance of an event and it runs through specific programs that previously set up – easy.

The elimination or reduction of human interaction within the orchestrated workflow has reduced the human error that can sneak in. The quality of the curtailment event has improved in that the broker has predictable and wellexecute curtailments during the day. The quality has improved and it is consistent. The BPM has reduced human involvement from active to passive – which is a positive thing.

Net; Net:

BPM allows organizations to scale with lower risk and to grow the business. BPM has helped this broker to stay at the forefront of innovation and deliver on more scalable and efficient promises to its customers.

This is an anonymous and highly summarized case study from Bonitasoft
For more Detail See the Video Here

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Top Skills that Build Digital Competencies

In the last post I identified the top competencies that digital organizations had to build over time. In order to jump start the progress towards these competencies, there are top skills that business professionals, technology professionals and entry level workers would ideally posses. Even if the skills are not complete, effort to acquire them is what most organizations will be looking for in the future. Here are the top seven skills by category:

Business Professional Expertise:

User Experience Design
Data Leverage
Business Architecture
Domain Knowledge
Business Analysis
Project Management
Application Specification or Development

Technology Professional Expertise:

Logic & Creativity Combination
Mobile & HTML5
Android Development
IOS Development
Social Media
Project Management

Entry Level Hire Expertise:

WiFi Setup & Operations
Cloud Back Up
Photo Editing or Video Editing
MS Office or Google Drive
Website Configuration
Basic Coding
Individual Branding via Social

Net; Net:

Organizations looking to compete in the new digital era will be picking people that can get them there, so this is my initial shot at the skills that will be valued today. Over time these are likely to shift as the race for digital differentiation intensifies. Security is the one area that supersedes and is one of the primary needs in the digital world we are creating

Monday, January 11, 2016

The Top Seven Digital Competencies for Organizations

When you move technology from a supporting role in business to a leading player in innovation in business, it requires deep competencies plus more and different skills. I think there will be a change in what organizations will be looking for in new hires, technology professionals, business professionals and business leaders. This is primarily motivated by organizations having to anticipate and respond to opportunities and threats from traditional and non-traditional sources. Here are my top seven digital competencies that organizations must posses as we progress in the digital age. There are a number of new base skills, values and performance targets that help build these competencies:

Constituency Engagement:

Customer relationships will be a big area of focus through better digital engagement designs, journey mapping, customer input and realistic feedback loops. This is the start of digital, but better engagement needs to be expanded to include employees, partners and value chain participants. The skills here are about listening and acting on what's best for all parties not just the organization and will require a much better "give and take" balance in relationships.

Hyper Awareness:

Organizations are no longer playing in a static world with simple business models. This puts a premium on not only being aware of traditional business contexts and simple business signals, but understanding emerging patterns. This requires skills in big data analytic capabilities that leverages algorithms and new / large data sources for emerging patterns of interest.

Complex Problem Solving:

In a fast paced and complex world, the kinds of problems that will surface will be compound in nature and have more dimensions. This means the skills around complexity management will play a bigger role for organizations over time as measured actions will have to be thought out over time in many arenas of impact. Organizations are ecosystems that play in and around other ecosystems and potential interactions will need to be considered.

Creative Digital Design: 

Knowing how to best combine digital capabilities with traditional capabilities in not only an attractive way, but in a compelling way is where most organizations are headed. This requires knowing the kind of user experience and man / machine interfaces that will compel an increase in business activity.

Anticipatory Decision Making:

Not only will organizations have to be acutely aware of what is happening in their own and neighboring contexts, they will have to be able to predict trends and new areas of  impact. This includes predictive analytics, simulation and cognitive computing capabilities. Driving organizations by looking through rear view mirrors is not the way forward, so there will be a premium on fast and future decisions

Innovative Productivity:

While the traditional productivity leavers will still work at times, there will be a demand to increase the leveraging new technologies such as bots and cognitive services (cogs). Resource optimization will go beyond simple creating stretch goals with punitive enforcement approaches. Resources will be considered in all the contexts they participate in at any moment in time and will be given assists both temporary and permanent.

Operations Agility: 

The will be a premium on change management and technologies that respond quickly to change. This means that resources that are flexible will be desired. For people, it means that they might have to have incentives to take on risk. For software and hardware, dynamic configuration features will be a necessity. There will be pressure for rapid development through composition and configuration.

Net; Net:

The digital world will be different requiring additional competencies over and above the base competencies of an organization. This will require new skills that will be prized in the future.  These skills will be shaped by the competencies that organizations need to build to survive and thrive in the digital world.

Monday, January 4, 2016

2016 Digital Business Priorities

A new year is an opportunity to set priorities and focus resources in ways to create desirable outcomes. In 2016 businesses will continue to focus on better customer interactions as the first major step in being a significant digital organization. In tandem, organizations will be focusing on making their operations better as we enter the second phase of digital transformation. The third phase of digital will be about changing business models which may or may not occur in 2016 depending on the number of upstart business models emerging in their industry usually driven by threats.

Enhancing Customer Interactions:

A large number of organizations have taken customer interaction and relationship management beyond just collecting simple customer relationship management (CRM) data and creating a mobile experience. Now the serious work around customer journey mapping, process visibility, customer customization and a better experience that knows the customer in the context of what they are trying to do commences. This means that putting a pretty face on traditional business transactions is not the way forward, but maybe only a first step in this emerging journey that might end up in an advanced visual interactions.

Leveraging Operational Capabilities:

There will be a premium on ever improving business operations by leveraging existing existing organizational capabilities or building new capabilities. The digital organization will be marked by ten key actions:

Encourage Keen Collaboration
Enhance the Business Experience for All Constituents
Innovate Through Experimentation
Intelligently Measure, Analyze and Predict
Nurture a Variable Speed Organization
Intelligently Leverage Resources to the Max
Build the Agility for Business Change
Grow Knowledge Augmentation Methods
Mitigate Risk with Policy and Constraints
Govern with Optimum Visibility

Changing Business Models:

Organizations may find out during the digital journey that they create capabilities that could spin off new products or services. This may eventually change the business model or not, but through incremental digital transformation new opportunities to raise revenue will emerge. For those industry segments that have upstarts, the gradual transformation may take an acceleration at some point. Business model change could become critical in some instances.

Net; Net:

Setting digital priorities for 2016 will be a major challenge for organizations while they plan their normal priorities. These three areas of priority have been consistently mentioned in research, books and by clients I talk too. You might also want to read my digital predictions and my predictions on work