Tuesday, June 02, 2020

The Help or Hinder Solution to Complexity

Help or Hinder (HoH)
I have led many executive workshops over the years where a long list of digital transformation challenges and requirements were identified.  At the end of the session the overwhelmed participates often asked the question, “Where do we start?”  My answer to that question was usually to suggest developing a high-level master or doctrinal statement on what the company wants to achieve by digitally transforming, followed by implementing a simple “help or hinder” analysis.

A “help or hinder” (HoH) analysis involves working with the experts in the business and in IT to label systems, applications and business processes with a HoH label.  For example, does the 40-year old mainframe application help or hinder your ability to accept mobile payments in real-time?  If it hinders your ability to accomplish your goals, fix or replace it.

It’s important that an executive team have a clear understanding of the size of their challenge.  If 47 of their 186 applications, systems and processes hinder digital transformation and progress, then these should be acknowledged, and plans developed to fix or replace.  

Executives might argue that it is not as easy as HoH, but my response is you must start somewhere.  To overcomplicate the analysis means it is highly unlikely to ever get completed.  

The HoH solution to complexity can also be utilized for evaluating vendors or internal talent.  With a clear understanding of what a business needs to do to accomplish their goal, leaders can ask the HoH question in many different contexts.  Do my current vendors, partners or ecosystem HoH my ability to accomplish my objectives?

Kevin Benedict
Partner | Futurist | Leadership Strategies at TCS
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***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.