• Micha Veen

Is Operational Innovation not just another hype?


As a operational Innovation specialist delivering operational change and efficiency in global multinationals, I have come across numerous new "hypes" that organisations have introduced to deliver the impact to their customers with sustainable cost savings, revenue growth and increased profitability.

However, have you seen that these hypes deliver true operational impact? I'll share some of my views experiences;

  • Shared Services (SSC), Business and IT process Outsourcing (BPO) - various organisations have taken this out of context, as these organisations have even started to transition or outsource some of their core USP, e.g. telecom organisations started to outsource their customer service, finance organisations/ banks outsourced their finance activities, etc. I have, first hand, experienced successful and failed outsourcing arrangements. Key is to understand your organisational criteria and reasons for engagement in SSC/ ITO/ BPO initiatives. When these are driven by unrealistic expectations (e.g. broken processes, broken technologies, organisational models, data structures, etc.) that a SSC/ ITO/ BPO initiative should fix, it will quickly turn into a disaster.

  • Operational Excellence, Six Sigma, Lean, etc. - these methodologies allowed organisations to focus on optimising existing processes, systems, etc. Instead of focussing on the output, these approaches focus on taking complexity out of existing processes and further automating the existing environment. Unfortunately, I have seen individuals that were not fully familiar with these methodologies, spend thousands of dollars to automate or improve non-value added processes.

  • Big Data, social media, etc - large and small businesses have started to actively understand and influence their customers. This transition has allowed small organisations to compete with the big conglomerates and address some of the core deficiencies across the global landscape. However, unless your organisation can't even obtain their "small data" (internal data) or understand their existing customers, then these hypes will not support with the next level of effective engagement.

  • Robotic Process Automation (RPA) - even though RPA has become popular in the last year, most organisations have always used some type of RPA solution across their business, e.g. Macro Excel sheets, rule-drive business logic in their applications, etc. Unless you understand what you're trying to achieve, RPA will not resolve your existing bottlenecks and challenges. I have seen large multinationals trying to adopr RPA products, but ended with highly customised and difficult to maintain business rules. It's all about simplification before introducing RPA.

Many of you have used or experienced one or multiple of these hypes, and I bet that some of you are in the middle of introducing these hypes in your organisation. And although many of these hypes have assisted organisations to deliver some level of efficiency, savings or process effectiveness, it's often just a start.

If organisations are not adopting a long term operational innovative solution approach, none of these initiatives will be lasting. It's therefore imperative to take the next phase on the transformational journey towards operational innovation. This proven approach is not only aimed at innovation, but requires organisations to quickly and effectively translate these innovative ideas in operational innovative solutions.

Organisations that are able to deliver these innovative solutions effectively will be able to truly impact their customers!

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