Is competition with process heating up?

Is the pace of IT-enabled process change accelerating? Are any IT-driven business initiatives on your CEO’s agenda?  Are IT-driven business initiatives higher, the same, or lower on the agenda of your top executives than they were 5, 10, or 20 years ago?

On the one hand, it seems that process changes driven by IT are more pervasive and critical to enabling the way any business is run and competes. Social and mobile technologies are pushing this trend. For example, I see healthcare organizations moving to implement electronic health records systems so they can share patient data, and I see a retailer replacing its home grown systems with enterprise package software.  Leaders like FedEx continue to push the envelope of IT-enabled process change.

But is it new?

On the other hand, I can make the case that we’ve seen all of this before. In the early 1980s an article on “IT Changes the Way You Compete” talked about the airline reservation systems, in the early 1990s there was “Don’t Automate Work, Obliterate It” using IT, in the late 1990s we had the dot-com boom which made every organization look at its online presence, and today we have social, mobile, cloud, and big data. Each wave has put IT on the CEO’s agenda. Is there a trend here?

Do you think we can make the case that IT-enabled process change is different now and deserves more CEO and C-Suite attention, or is this the traditional perspective of IT people, and nothing has really changed? What are the implications for C-Suite behaviors and governance if cross-functional teamwork and IT system implementation skills are more critical? Can this be managed as “business as usual”, or do organizations need management system changes?

Question: Can you share any stories of changes you’ve seen?

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Categories: BPM, Process Management

Author:Brad Power

Brad is a consultant and researcher in process innovation. His current research is on sustaining attention to process management. He is currently conducting research with the Lean Enterprise Institute.

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