Most individuals in today’s enterprises may only use a few pieces of technology; a transactional system (CRM, accounting, work order management), a communication system (typically email and/or a messaging service), Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint), and possibly a special purpose application (AutoCAD, etc.). While I have my “broad stroke paintbrush” in hand; I would bet that most people are using a small percentage of the functionality provided within any of these tools.

I must be honest with you, this has and continues to bug the crap out of me. To pile on to that frustration, licensing models have also changed over the last few years from a capital (purchase the software) to an expense (where you just rent the software … forever). If you have not already been asked, or woke up and realized; am I really paying all that money for just email and file storage? Ouch. And so our journey begins: finding a way to extract greater value from our digital assets.

Over the last several years I have been experimenting and testing different approaches to help folks and I do believe that a prescription exists. This will be one of a series of posts, building upon one another, to lead you and your organization to the land of complete digital adoption. Forget that! To the land of transformation where adoption is just a pebble in the rear-view mirror. This blog series is dedicated to those unafraid to travel past the horizon and discover that the digital world is far from flat.

Step One: Setting The Stage

Think about the amount of change which has occurred over the last three decades with business technology. Not just in the tools themsevles, but the change in the IT professional has also been quite dramatic. I suppose how this change has been accepted (or not) may be an illustration of how much you believe in the pigeon theory. Long ago, while with a fellow worker who was complaining about constant change, he shared with me the “Pigeon Theory.” Picture that you are a pigeon standing on a rooftop and, suddenly, a cat appears just five feet from your current position. You can feel the presence of the cat but refuse to turn your head, instead using your quietest internal voice to repeat, “the cat is not hungry, the cat is not hungry.” Our business computing environments have and will continue to change, regardless of your ability to adapt and see what is right before your eyes.

The real value of technology is generated by true adoption, as opposed to the multi-decade approach of implementation and deployment. Unfortunately, many of the technology professionals working within organizations struggle to change lanes, transitioning from the bytes to the people. An entirely different approach is required, and this is the motivation behind assembling this prescriptive series on my hierarchy of digital adoption. Without changing our approach, I fear that organizations will be content with simply moving workloads like e-mail and files to the cloud, failing to unlock the tools which can truly transform an organization.

Influenced by experimentation over the last few decades, I have assembled a four-step approach to succeeding in cloud platform adoption focused on extracting business value. This blog series will provide tactical approaches which influence behavior. If you have read any of my prior blog posts, you will discover that leveraging the Microsoft stack has been a part of much of my career. That said, the advice and insights discussed are technology agnostic; this is all about adoption and thus your employees, customers, and partners take center stage.

Like Maslow’s theory, I believe that a funnel exists compelling all to start at the bottom and work their way to the top. Realizing the full potential of your cloud platform requires you to travel through four stages, they are:

  1. Digital reputation | define das; available, consistent, and trustworthy. Once established digital habits will be formed. 
  2. Contextual computing | digital collateral without context to a customer, site, work discipline, is simply noise.
  3. Shared insights | collaboration creates 1+1=7 results; exponentially enhancing internal and external value.
  4. Predicting outcomes |differentiation, in any market, comes from producing unexpected perspectives which positively alter your course.

Now that we’ve set the stage, we’ll dig in next time to the strategies and tactics used in practice today, designed to help future proof your businesses in the Digital Age. My next blog will unpack the meaning and steps you may take to build a solid Digital Reputation, and you can read it here.

Greg Lush
Author

VP of Innovation at EMCOR Services Mesa Energy Systems