Technology Complexity is the enemy of productivity

Complexity is the enemy of productivity

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Your IT group is increasing complexity, not shrinking it. But it’s not their fault.

Companies contain a large number of departments and divisions, all with their own specialized teams. Processes are set up as efficiently as possible, often at the expense of flexibility. And information is collected and analyzed to a level of detail that would have been unimaginable just a few years ago.

In the midst of all this complexity, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that businesses exist to produce something — whether it’s a product, a service, or just plain profit. In the quest for efficiency and productivity, companies sometimes forget that the goal is to produce results, not just to follow a set of rules. When companies ask IT to build new apps, it increases complexity and often hard-codes rules in the process. Then tomorrow you may find yourself bogged down in your own bureaucracy and struggling to reach your true potential.

App explosion adds complexity

Building more apps to support new business needs adds complexity, not less. Apps, SaaS, low-code apps and automation have created a more complex landscape than ever before. And while some argue that this complexity is a necessary evil, it carries more risk and can lead to problems later on.

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One of the biggest problems with having so many apps is that it makes it harder to change things. Adding a new feature or making a change to a business process that runs in an app involves going through a lot of code and figuring out how everything fits together. Often the processes are hard coded in the app, so you can choose between innovation and stagnation.

When you add an app to avoid its inherent complexity, you add more complexity for tomorrow. If you customize an app or automation to avoid IT waiting to build another app, it still takes a long time to edit and test your new processes. You left yourself with two bad choices, both because they have too many apps for too few developers.

More apps means more work

Companies are already struggling to keep up with the sheer volume of their apps. Therefore, it’s hard to imagine why anyone would want to add more to the mix. CIOs are already stretched thin and their IT teams are spread even thinner. Can you imagine a CIO saying:

“My company has 65 apps on the desktop of the average knowledge worker. By the end of the year I want to have 75 apps.”

No.

More apps simply means more work, and businesses can’t keep up with demand.

But low-code platforms are changing the game. With low-code, enterprises can quickly and easily build the apps they need without investing in dedicated developers. That means IT teams can focus on more important tasks and CIOs can reallocate resources. Right?

Error.

Low-code platforms build more apps and more apps mean more complexity. In addition, low-code platforms are not that simple. To build an app, one must have JavaScript, SQL, API and SDLC skills – the same skills that a software developer has.

Companies impose complexity on their people

It has been said that the most difficult part of any change management initiative is the people. And it’s true – humans are naturally resistant to change, and getting them on board with a new process or way of doing things can be a daunting task. It’s in our DNA. Change brings risks and we want to mitigate risks to avoid failure.

But what if we looked at things from a different perspective?

Instead of trying to force people to change to accommodate a new IT process, what if we changed the way we deliver IT capabilities? Instead of asking people to learn a new system for the sake of data entry, or memorizing a series of tribal knowledge process steps over a complicated infrastructure, we guide them and ask them to communicate only when necessary. In other words, we could make change easier – not harder. Don’t ask people to change. Change your IT delivery mindset to put people first.

Build enterprise IT that puts people first

The role of IT has never been more important. Unfortunately, enterprise IT development and delivery models are often complex, inflexible and slow to respond to change due to all the legacy dependencies. As a result, they often hinder innovation instead of accelerating it. Fortunately, there is a better way to innovate and transform your business, one that puts people first.

Use software to orchestrate processes instead of relying on people

Track a business process throughout your organization and you’ll discover it’s part software and part tribal knowledge. There are certain steps that a person knows or understands because they are exposed to them through practice or because they are a critical point of integration. This should not be the case. You need to merge this work with software such as automation fabric. An automation fabric automates automation instead of relying on humans to do it.

Make it easier to change things

Change is inevitable and we must embrace it. However, it shouldn’t be as difficult as it is. You need to make things easier to change so that your business can adapt and evolve as your environment changes. To accelerate change, you need to reduce skills requirements and decouple business needs from IT constraints. That means finding a way to help your people optimize the business without relying on limited IT resources.

Relieve your people

Your people are your most important asset. Unfortunately, they are also the ones who are asked to do the most with the least. They are asked to remember a lot of information, juggle multiple tasks and use a variety of tools and technologies. This is simply too much. We need to find ways to reduce the burden on our people so they can focus on what matters: the business.

Move more work to software and AI

As you move more business processes to an adaptive platform and away from brittle adaptations and tribal knowledge, you achieve two major goals. First, moving more work to software removes human limitations and allows you to capture tribal knowledge and data. Second, this data can learn how your processes work and help your people optimize business results using artificial intelligence. This way people can focus on what they are good at: interacting with other people and making decisions.

You can add or remove complexity

To innovate and make change easier, IT must focus on delivery models that put people first. This means using software to orchestrate processes rather than relying on humans to do it, and making it easier to change things so businesses can adapt and evolve. IT must relieve people by shifting more work to software and artificial intelligence.

So ask yourself: are you adding complexity or removing it?

John Michelsen as CEO of Krista Software

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