The OneOffice Data Cycle: Data is your strategy, automation your mindset, AI your autonomy


We’ve been trying to define automation and AI for over a decade now, and – let’s face it – they’re heading for the mush-bucket of sexy technologies that promised a lot, but most people failed to understand what they really did… or how to exploit them. And not all of them actually worked. Plus, when I recently heard a Wall St analyst discussing the stock performance of UiPath’s “automation equipment,” I realized even the money guys have zero clue what automation in the workplace really entails; yeah, we’re in big trouble…

So how do we define how to create a nimble, autonomous organization in today’s post-hype market?

When HFS coined OneOffice in 2016, we inadvertently defined how businesses would have to operate… we just didn’t realize it would take another six years, a pandemic, rampant inflation, and a catastrophic European war to create the burning platform where enterprises have to be virtual, autonomous and much more cost-conscious, with capable talent and partners to help them function in these emerging business ecosystems:

“HFS in 2016: The onset of digital and emerging automation solutions, coupled with the dire need to access meaningful data in real-time, is forcing the back and middle offices to support the customer experience needs of the front.  Consequently, we’re evolving to an era where there is only “OneOffice” that matters anymore, creating the digital customer experience and an intelligent, single office to enable and support it

Today’s college graduates are simply not coming out of school willing to perform mundane routine work: operations staff proactively need to support the fast-shifting needs of the front office. So the focus needs to shift towards creating a work culture where individuals are encouraged to spend more time interpreting data, understanding the needs of the front end of the business, and ensuring the support functions keep pace with the front office.”

By 2022 all we have really done is understand better how to align your employees with the needs of your customers – and your employees have also become your most important customer.  To be a truly autonomous organization, the principles of OneOffice hold truer than ever: workflows need to execute in real-time between customers and employees – and engage partners in your ecosystem (you can download our OneEcosystem vision here).

We need to understand that data is the strategy and how the data cycle works to get us ahead of our markets. Here are five steps we must take:

  1. Get data to win in your market. This is where you must align your data needs to deliver on business strategy.  This is where you clarify your vision and purpose.  Do you know what your customers’ needs are?  Is your supply chain effective in sensing and responding to these needs?  Can your cash flow support immediate critical investments?  Do you have a handle on your staff attrition?
  2. Re-think processes to get this data. Then you must re-think what should be added, eliminated, or simplified across your workflows to source this critical data.  Do your processes get you the data you need from your customers, employers, and partners?
  3. Design your new workflows to be executed in the cloud. There is simply no option but to have a plan to design processes in the cloud over three-tier web-architected applications.  In the Work-from-Anywhere Economy, our global talent has to come together to create our borderless, completely digital business.  This is the true environment for real digital transformation in action.  This means you can’t migrate processes that don’t get you the data you need until you’ve fixed them first.  If you move your existing crap into the cloud, you end up with even worse crap and just wasted a lot of time and money into the bargain.
  4. Automate processes and data.  Automation is not your strategy.  It is the necessary discipline to ensure your processes provide the data – at speed – to achieve your business outcomes. Hence you have to approach all future automation in the cloud if you want your processes to run effectively end-to-end.  This is where you need to ensure connectors, APIs, patches, screen scrapes, and RPA fixes not only support a digital workflow but will scale in the cloud.  Many of these patched-up process chains become brittle and fall over in a scaling situation if the code is weak.  We’ve seen billions of dollars wasted on botched cloud migrations in recent years because underlying data infrastructures were not addressed effectively, and bad processes became even less effective or completely dysfunctional.
  5. Apply AI to data flows to anticipate at speed. Once you have successfully automated processes in the cloud, it is easy to administer AI solutions to deliver at speed in self-improving feedback loops.  This is where you apply digital assistants, computer vision, machine learning, augmented reality, and other techniques to refine the efficacy of your data.  AI is how we engage with our data to refine ourselves as digital organizations where we only want a single office to operate with agility to do things faster, cheaper, and more streamlined than we ever thought possible.  AI helps us predict and anticipate how to beat our competitors and delight our customers, reaching both outside and inside of our organizations to pull the data we need to make critical decisions at speed.  In short, automation and AI go hand in hand… AI is what enables a well-automated set of processes to function autonomously with little need for constant human oversight and intervention.

Bottom-line: You can’t get the data you need if you don’t have the people, partners, processes, technology – and desire to change – to make this possible

You can lead a horse to water, but can you get it to drink? OneOffice is about understanding and discovering the data you must have to win in your market – right now in real-time – and in the future – as the market environment keeps changing. Then you need to make your data ubiquitously available, accessible, and mineable – embedding a mindset into your leadership to inspire your people to work together to create an organization that can flip its business model to exploit these seismic market changes. You can’t get the data you need if your critical data is not in the cloud and you don’t have the people, partners, processes, technology – and desire to change – to make this possible.

And perhaps most importantly, you need to accept that your star employees are your biggest customers.  Without them, you won’t stand a chance of dragging your decrepit processes and data infrastructures out of the dark ages.

Posted in : Artificial Intelligence, Automation, Buyers' Sourcing Best Practices, Cloud Computing, Data Science, Design Thinking, Digital OneOffice, Digital Transformation, intelligent-automation, OneEcosystem, OneOffice, Robotic Process Automation, Sourcing Best Practises


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