Unlocking the next phase of digital transformation with heterogeneous enterprise systems

As a user-experience driven company, we’re obsessed with designing systems that empower and inspire employees, candidates, and customers. Enabling these “systems of engagement” have been the driving force for enterprise digital transformation (Dx) for the last several years, as business and user demands required more than existing systems could provide. Now, increasing competition, intense pressure on enhancing profitability, and the need to build new sources of competitive advantage has ushered in the next phase of enterprise Dx – creating “systems of productivity”.

Utility vs. Empowerment – from Systems of Automation to Systems of Engagement

Early efforts in enterprise IT prioritized functionality over design. The primary goal was to automate and integrate the processes of different lines of business and functional organizations. This focus on process digitization created significant gains in organizational efficiency and remained the dominant marching orders of IT departments for many years. However, the urgency to deliver more and more digital services came at the expense of user-centered design as rushed workflows were often delivered on-spec. Inadequate consideration was given to creating a compelling experience for the user, or reducing the complexity of their tasks. In fact, many new digital systems were little more than electronic paper. Ultimately, this fixation on utility had to be balanced with the need to empower users. The exponential adoption of consumer technology, particularly the rise of mobile phones and user-centered innovations like the iPhone, redefined the design expectations of employees, candidates, and customers. Enhancing an organization’s digital brand, talent attraction, and culture are now the responsibility of technology departments.

New options for updating enterprise applications

Creating these ‘systems of engagement’, however, would prove to be exceptionally difficult using traditional means. Enterprise systems simply weren’t intended to support customization or compelling design. Targeted rip-and-replace initiatives delivered meaningful improvements, but also came at a very high cost and significant business disruption. Moreover, the accelerating speed of changing user expectations has quickly outpaced the ability to update even modern core systems – and the gap continues to widen. Of course, other alternatives have augmented these capabilities. Point-to-point enterprise applications have provided modern experiences for specific tasks where the need is urgent and outweighs the requirement to maintain control over the user experience. Conventional rapid application development platforms provide more control, when paired with proprietary assisted -design and -development tools.

InFlight powers transformation

We believe our open, standards-based approach to creating systems of engagement using an organization’s existing enterprise software offers significant advantages over these traditional methods – which we’ve covered in other posts like in this blog and here – and we’d love to show you how if you contact us or schedule a demo.

A numbered diagram showing the difference between 1. Systems of Automation, 2. Systems of Engagement, and 3. Systems of Productivity
Systems of Automation, Engagement, and Productivity

Building Systems of Productivity – Collaboration and Performance

The new phase of enterprise digital transformation is characterized by business needs for powering collaboration and performance within and across teams. Business leaders expect new capabilities and processes that may not exist in the underlying systems – such as shifting communication from email and IM into integrated workflows, or adding chatbot interfaces. Performance expectations also include the ability to link workflows and measurement across disparate teams and disparate enterprise systems. A simple example would be an HR organization that wants to connect teams, workflows, and performance measurement across talent attraction and onboarding, and employee performance and development. A more complicated example might involve workflows that span multiple teams from different departments, as well as enterprise systems (ERP, CRM, etc.).

Deliver exceptional user experiences and new business capabilities with InFlight

The challenge for IT departments to deliver on these demands is substantial – the ability to deliver and rapidly update exceptional user experiences (systems of engagement), and provide the control to create net-new business capabilities between teams and heterogeneous infrastructure (systems of productivity). An adaptable business and technology strategy requires the ability to do both simultaneously, quickly, and free from the constraints of enterprise systems. If you are ready to empower and inspire your employees, candidates, and customers – and unlock new sources of productivity and performance – we would appreciate the opportunity to show you how we can help.  

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