A clear information structure is the foundation for good processes and for successful digitalisation. Most companies strive to become more efficient and increase productivity. A part of that work often requires a digitalisation of the whole or parts of the business.
To rely on manual and analogue routines is risky and can lead to a point where the company is falling behind the competition. This article is about the importance of a clear information structure and processes when you digitise a business.
A key aspect when transforming to a more digital and automised business is also to revamp the most important KPIs. How do you measure success in a digital business?
In a digital and automated business, you can deliver more productivity with fewer people. As an example: The number of employees is no longer synonymous with success as it has been historically, since you can and must achieve results with fewer people.
In the digital business, it’s rather how much value you create per employee that is relevant, i.e to measure result/profit per employee is a much more relevant KPI.
It is only a matter of time before the trend shifts from a state where it is status to have many employees to how many results you can deliver per employee.
There will simply be a focus on working smart, process-oriented, and profit-focused.
However, in order to succeed with the digitalisation, one needs to keep track of the processes. This in turn requires that you have a good information structure, to begin with.
A good information structure creates efficiency
When digitising the operations, it is of the utmost importance that you have the right digital tools. These should support the processes and working methods that the business performs, preferably as automated as possible.
To succeed with this, it is required that colleagues use the tools. Many who acquire new digital tools of course want them to be as easy to use as possible.
However, the tools are never easier than the information structure and processes they are meant to support. A complex operation cannot be reduced to a one-click operation.
To succeed with the usage of the digital tools, it is necessary that there are solid and documented processes that support the business.
It also requires a solid information structure covering : what should be documented and when. For example, customers should be documented and why this documentation is required by the company.
You can’t expect your colleagues to streamline themselves as a manager. Without support and instructions, it becomes easy to passivate the colleagues instead of creating a context where they get increased focus.
You have to take the time and give energy to the information structure and processes so it becomes clear who is doing what, when it is done and what is to be documented at different stages.
Without structure and rules, the information will remain as unstructured as it is in the analogue world. unstructured data works for general searches on Google but not for drawing smart conclusions into a business.
Even Google require an information structure to be able to rank your page high.
Running a business in the digital world simply does not work very well if you only rely on unstructured information.
One example is people’s titles, people can call themselves anything but internally you need to map the different titles against a structure that provides value to you.
It is simply not possible to group people on their own titles because one is not the same as another one (unstructured).
The usage of the digital tools will probably also decrease and you will begin receiving comments like “the tools do not provide any value”, “The tools are time-consuming” etc.
If you do not understand the connection between clear instructions and easy usage, you will lose a lot of energy and money on different system changes and a frustrated staff who will not be able to deliver at full capacity.
In other words, everything begins with the information structure and processes.
The digital tools should only support and preferably automate all or large parts of these processes.
It is not until that is achieved you get an easy to use set of tools and a high degree of usage of your digital tools. Which in turn leads to efficiency and that you deliver more with less.
Most people actually stop using things they don’t understand how to use, that goes for everything from instructions, remote controls to digital tools.
Many customers and / or colleagues require a good information structure
Anyone who wants to be able to see trends over time needs to create a structure for this. One important thing many companies are struggling with is to get more relevant leads.
Some use tools to search the Internet for potential customers that match existing customers.
Unfortunately, it often becomes very superficial if you do not have a good information structure at the bottom that tells about what qualifies someone to become a dream customer.
Developing a good dream customer profile is therefore a prerequisite for becoming more efficient in sales.
However, many people settle for a too basic levels and everything is usually based on a company profile (industry, size, geography etc.) and only in some cases on people related segmentations.
For example, do you look at what role a person has, what behavior it has, age, education, gender etc.
The more complex the business you run is, the more important it is to go in depth with the dream customer profile.
You simply have fewer leads to choose from in the market and therefore need to understand which ones are right for you.
One big challenge we all live with is the fact that we live in an analogue world that we are trying to digitise. Unfortunately, in many cases, this leads to over-simplification of the reality.
Why you do business with some people and companies can depend on many different parameters and most of them cannot be found on the web, not by humans or softwares.
How to identify things like personal chemistry, trust, courage to make decisions, creativity etc. It can only be done in dialogue.
However, it is crucial that such information is documented.
A good information structure and process can therefore facilitate the qualification work of potential customers and create the conditions for us people to focus on the communication that actually requires a human touch, ie everything that has to do with creativity and confidence.
A good information structure is also required to see trends over time, without structured data you have to rely on your own and the colleague’s gut feeling.
Many people talk about information like the new gold, and then not taking advantage of that gold is really pure madness.