We live in an era of incremental and transformative innovation. Companies large and small across all industries and sectors are going through cultural, structural and technological change. While it is clear that digital “disruption” is the defining challenge for today’s business and IT leaders, many are still stuck on the “how.” – How to architect new technologies; how to affect lasting change.

  • Only 27% of today’s businesses have a digital strategy* The State Of Digital Business, 2015 To 2020 – Forrester, Nov 2015
  • 52% see IT leading the digital strategy but see their capabilities as fragmented and immature. ** Accelerating the pace and impact of digital transformation – Harvard Business Review and GenPact Research, Aug 2016

Making big and bold bets on a complete enterprise overhaul in the midst of uncertainty may seem unrealistic or daunting at best. One of the emerging truth of digital disruption is that “… you need to actually develop the capabilities to guide the organization through not just one change, but ongoing changes over time, as technologies change. *** 7 Emerging Truths Of Digital Disruption – Forbes, Feb 2017

Change is a constant in the corporate world, and the evolution of digital business activities, processes, competencies and models is, by now, old news to most. In many respects, digital transformation is merely the latest wave of a nearly 30-year-old trend that began when we first started to computerize and connect business processes. The drive to achieve competitive advantage through the alignment of, or new investment in, technology and business patterns was as true in the late 1990s, and the mid-2000s, as it is today. What is unique and noteworthy though is the speed and scale of change that is taking place.

As previously announced by IDC and echoed by Maureen Fleming, VP Business Process Management and Middleware: “We are at an inflection point as digital transformation efforts shift from ‘project’ or ‘initiative’ status to strategic business imperative.” This trend will attain macroeconomic status over the next three to four years and “success depends on the ability to invest in relevant digital capabilities that are well aligned with strategy—and to do so at scale”.

How to Scale Innovation and Digital Transformation

Adapting to an era of self-disruption requires a structure approach for continuous innovation. The following dimensional model provides a framework for thinking and operating like a digital company.

  1. Digital Strategy:  As with any core initiative, it is essential for business needs to set the direction for your digital strategy. The goal is increased agility and decision making so leadership can spot trends faster, adapt to industry and marketplace shifts, and out maneuver the competition.
  1. Digital Platform: Depending on your industry and business needs, the digital platform needed to support your strategy will vary. The key is to reduce your infrastructure costs by eliminating the burden of installing, updating, and maintaining software and managing hardware.
  1. Digital Culture: Forging a culture of collaboration that enables knowledge sharing within, and beyond, natural work groups is risky. Information flow and use must comply with your organization’s policies and industry regulations. The key is to support adoption of the right digital skills and tools with balanced governance structures and best-practice guidance.
  1. Digital Experiences: Creating a more connected and satisfactory experience for every customer, regardless of where they are in the journey, is the fourth cornerstone of business transformation. Reinventing service operations to produce digital experiences that keep customers engaged and loyal to your brand, ultimately leads to competitive gains.

Next Generation Workflow Capabilities 

In addition to the industry analysts’ research on digital landscape and trends in the workplace, many speakers offered informed perspectives on the connection between automation and digital transformation. Evidently, process automation is a core component of business transformation. Workflow accelerates execution and enables new ways of doing business. However, the specific processes and technologies at play depends on the digital maturity of your organizations. Companies that are new to workflow automation are encouraged to target easily-defined flows and that have wide impact. Nintex provides an intuitive, browser-based, drag-and-drop workflow app for SharePoint and Office 365 that makes it easy to connect the right content, at the right time, to the right people.

Nintex is widely known as the world’s leading SharePoint workflow company. This longstanding reliance on SharePoint for starting and managing business processes has left Nintex confined to the rules and regulations imposed by Microsoft. Recognizing the need to harness the transformational business benefits of workflow automation and a seamless way to seamless way to bridge customer’s investment in cloud to on-premises technologies, the company recently launched Nintex Workflow Cloud (NWC).

Born in the cloud and built on cloud standards, NWC is tailored made for designing and deploying sophisticated workflows that are highly available, reliable, scalable and secure. Whether it’s starting a workflow from an opportunity in Salesforce or Dynamics 365, to working with Box or your backend ERP, Nintex Workflow Cloud yields enterprise-wide efficiency, performance and innovation by putting “people at the center of any workflow, intelligently connecting them with the content and systems that are at the epicenter of your business”.

For digitally mature companies looking to focus their automation efforts on designing transformative future-state process, unconstrainted by current constraints and legacy protocols, the Nintex workflow platform offers limitless potentials for extending and connecting line of business applications, content, and systems of record. In addition to the breadth of powerful connectors (Adobe Sign, AWS, Salesforce, Zendesk, and Google Drive to name just a few), NWC includes native capabilities to create custom actions that can be used to drive additional business value by automating unstructured tasks at the enterprise level.

The correct application of workflow automation can break down barriers that are related to disparate sets of people, content types and data repositories. Furthermore, additional blog posts in this series will explore ways to extend the power of the Nintex platform by leveraging advanced technologies including real-time analytics, IoT sensors and actuators, microservices running inside of containers, and enterprise mobile apps, to automate the full digital infrastructure stack.

Having said that, the final word goes to Peter Coffee, Vice President for Strategic Research at Salesforce who reminded us during his keynote presentation of the often-quoted idiom “culture eats strategy for breakfast”. Point being, digital transformation is not just about technology and it requires a company-level commitment to innovative change over a sustained period of time.

Interested in learning more, register for our upcoming Nintex Workflow Cloud webinar.