In our offices, businesses, colleges and homes, barriers exist between people that hinder free and easy communication. Physics undergraduates rarely mix with the Philosophy students, our accounts teams tend not to lunch with our account managers, and I almost never speak to the lady who lives in the flat below mine. It's a natural result of living, working and studying in cities with millions of strangers.
However, Frans Johansson, author of "The Medici Effect", argues that at the intersection of different people - with diverse roles, experiences, industries, cultures and goals - ideas are exchanged from each of those worlds, and innovation is created1. So, are those barriers to communication also barriers to innovation?
Growing numbers of business leaders have identified this creativity cul-de-sac, and in response have sought to leverage transformation strategies to break down the silos within their businesses, liberating their innovation potential.
Liberal ideation champions such as Google create open and relaxed spaces for colleagues to casually meet and discuss challenges and opportunities2. Dr. Evans Baiya, author of The Innovator's Advantage: Revealing the Hidden Connection Between People and Process, says that effective leaders encourage employees to seek out discourse beyond job roles, teams, businesses and even industries in order to innovate. He calls it Cross Pollination3.
So, how is digital transformation being delivered across a range of industries? What are the benefits that have been realised as a result? How we might transpose that success for Life Science companies?
New digital technologies have enabled businesses across all industries to form stronger relationships with their customers, empower their workforce, and bring new innovations to market faster. According to recent IDC and 451 research, digitally transformed companies are sixteen-times more innovative, they take 83% less time to complete business extensions, and are 73% faster to bring initiatives to market. What's more, 81% of business leaders agree that if they don't embrace IT Transformation, their companies will not be competitive4.
How should Digital Transformation be approached?
Whilst Digital Transformation is an often over-used and a rarely-understood buzzword of the moment, the fundamental changes a business goes through aesthetically and practically, can only really be effective when it is embraced strategically. We can concisely define DX as a business approach which leverages digital technology to overcome traditional challenges. It promotes a cultural shift: breaking down the walls between teams; allowing employees' expertise to be applied across the business and empowering collaboration. DX should eliminate low value tasks through automation, and free up internal resource to add value to the business. Not only does this increase productivity, it streamlines businesses' processes, increasing efficiency - a direct return on investment.
For example, a major accountancy firm asked us to help them digitally transform in order to make a mega-merger possible. By migrating legacy data and platforms to the cloud we homogenised the IT estate, allowing perfect integration of the two companies' systems post-merger. Not only would this have been almost impossible without this transformation, it also provided a unified platform which boosted productivity and freed up precious internal resource to focus on driving the business.
In the construction sector, we transformed a global network and security architecture to connect and protect 20 sites – including mobile and temporary sites – as well as providing a multi-cloud environment, allowing them to comply with regulatory standards. The solution also added flexibility and scalability to their global deployment, increasing collaboration and efficiency.
With this in mind, and a growing number of Life Science companies beginning their own digital transformation journeys, it's clear lessons from different industries can be learnt and utilised to help them on their way.