Business as usual? Or go digital.

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Many organisations have called themselves digital before Covid19.
The pandemic identified all our camouflages.
These organisations had some of their marketing in digital but all other aspects were stuck in analog.They had the shock of their lives in 2020.Going forward now, we have the question in front of us: are we going back to what it was ?
Are we stepping back on the digital initiatives we have taken because we were forced during the pandemic?
Are we going to cancel the work from home because now we can come to office ?Nothing will make us prepared for the future, if digital is stuck in marketing. We need to move digital from marketing to the business model.If digital is not rooted in the business model, we can safely say, we are doing business as usual.

The best UX hotel balcony and SPRINT

Room with a view is what we hope for when we book hotels for vacation. A balcony makes that view a lot more attractive. Yet a balcony that makes you comfortable is a very very rare thing.

There are balconies with views of roof tops, construction sites or in some cases blind walls :). Let’s remove them from this discussion.

The ones with good views, have balconies that are mostly useless. What you will find:
– dilapidated chairs. Birds made it their toilet. Cannot sit on them.
– Small space. You don’t feel good to be there.
– No roof or the blacony is covered partially. It gets wet in rain and burn in sun.
– Next room people can see you directly, it is awkward to relax. So you go back in the room.

Then I experienced a balcony that can be best described as almost perfect. No, let me not be mean, it was ‘the perfect’. Here goes.

-Let’s get the ‘view’ part away. It was wonderful, though this picture does not justify the real thing.

-Very comfortable chairs. Spotless clean. A round table: not large, not small either . A compact towel rack ( if you can see on the wall) for wet swim clothes to dry in the sun.

-A bed recliner with a cushion. Once again clean. That designer sensed what a person coming on a vacation needs from a balcony. Absolute privacy and loads of comfort. As you can see, people next door has absolutely no view of me. I loved this recliner. I have never enjoyed a hotel stay like this one. I slept, meditated, read, and repeated.

-The roof ! Protects you from heavy rain. Sun cannot scorch you. A bit of sun trickles through, yes, but you can stay the whole day with no issues.

The hotel is Cinnamon Bey. This post is not paid content.

Most of digital transformation projects in organisations are like most of the balconies. People spend lot of time in defining the project, yet forget the ultimate users: the business user ( employee who will use the solution daily), and the customer. We tend to think we have both of them in our best interest. Unfortunately it is not, most of the time.

In my work at aucterra, building AI solutions for organisations and as a business consultant on digital transformation, I meet a lot of business users. Some of their experiences are horror stories. So much money and effort spent on mega projects that business users find hard to use. Sometimes the new technology have complicated their processes. A frustrated business user will hardly make a customer happy.

That’s why we at aucterra use SPRINT framework developed by Google Ventures, before starting any project. It is a process that has customer at the heart of innovation. It starts with customer and ends with customer. The process : Map the problem, Generate a lot of solutions, Select the best 3-4 solutions, Then select one critical part of the solution and build a prototype with in a quick time. Then finally test the prototype with 5 actual customers. Yes, all these with in just 5 days.

Will elaborate on this process in future posts.

Ignore this and digital projects fail

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There are many reasons for failure, which I will explore in posts later. But one thing stands out and cuts through all of them.

Human emotion.

Project leaders tend to think that digital will solve all their problems where as the business users ( staff who will be using new digital ways to serve the customers) are skeptical from day 0.

Will I lose my job?

Will I be replaced by a new young staff ?

Will I be seen as old school ?

Gosh, I need to learn so many things…

Though people don’t say these things openly, these doubts are circling their minds and hearts every time a digital project comes in. Are they to be blamed ? Absolutely not.

The problem lies with leaders who do not see it through to the end. I heard this from one of my friend, who knew of a leader who said below at the project initiation meeting.

“You will not lose your jobs. If someone goes home, I will also go home”

That is a leader who knows how to rally a team around a cause. It is so simple on the print, but takes so much preparation and empathy as a leader. One can fake it, but it is not sustainable.

Update: I completed 9 online courses.

Yesterday I completed Digital Transformation, my 9th course online. It is on LinkedIn Learning. 

It is an amazing journey. With in last few months I was able to get tutored by world class experts with in my own terms. That is, whenever I had free time, from the comfort of my home, at an insanely low cost. Learned from Ram Charan ( the leading business coach in the world) about how to coach high potentials. Learned from John Maeda ( a world authority in design and tech) about business, design, and inclusion. Learned from Tony Schwartz why managing my energy is far more better perspective than managing my time.  

All of these courses have been life changing. It helps me and the people I work with in organisations. It gives me better insights and helps me to  build enriching relationships. It trickles down in to happiness of my family and other communities I interact with. 

Also this keeps me at the edge at all times. That I need to get updated. That I do not know everything. This isn’t just about getting a certificate tagged in to the linked in profile. (Of course it helps to be motivated and showcase my skills), it’s about using that knowledge in everyday practice. I can use that knowledge today, right now. This is the most liberating thing about internet for me. 

Eminem and Charitha – Music as a platform.

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Eminem has released ‘Revival’, his latest album on December 15th. I am listening to it now, alongside Charitha’s album ‘Galana Ganga’.

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I am able to listen to both albums in one app ( Apple Music) by Paying $2.99 per month. I am able to listen to them the moment they release their music. I am totally legal when it comes to listening to music now.

A song is now simply bytes of data packaged (in few Mega bytes per song) living in a cloud ( a distant server I have no clue about) waiting to be summoned by me and millions of other users in the platform. Music publishing has never been this easy. Charitha has the same platform Eminem has. That’s the magic of digital transformation. Although, selling on this platform or any other app, and making it to the top is a combination of multiple success factors, which is altogether a different story.

Yet, the era of music labels controlling artists is over. Anyone can ship their creations, no matter where they are.