5 ways to drive IT innovation and democratize growth
• New technology allows companies with little or no coding experience to get started in application development.
• This democratization involves risks in terms of compliance with expected user and legal standards.
• A nuanced innovation management must be put in place to minimize the risks.
As we emerge into the new reality of a post-pandemic world, it is increasingly recognized that digital transformation and adoption can make all the difference between the future and failure of an organization. KPMG’s 2021 CEO Outlook Pulse survey reveals that a significant majority of executives reported accelerating new digital business models and revenue streams (69%) and developing a seamless digital customer experience (56%). However, we see a growing gap between the growing demand for rapid innovation and the talent available to meet that demand.
Unlocking new technologies like low code / no code is one way for businesses to bridge the transformation gap. These platforms allow users with little or no prior experience to easily prototype, iterate, and customize applications. According to Forrester, software can be developed up to 10 times faster this way.
This democratization of technology is not without risks. But worrying about people in your organization going out and building solutions outside of IT doesn’t keep you awake at night. Here are five ways to support agile innovation to fuel your organization’s growth – while driving results you can trust.
1. Implement effective innovation management
It’s easy to think of innovation as a checkbox. But innovation today is much smoother, and endpoints continue to evolve. This makes continuous innovation activities and adjustments essential to the long-term success of an organization.
It’s important to establish a lean but effective approach to innovation management – one that allows you to be inspiring and agile in the face of ongoing disruptions without losing sight of potential risks. Such an approach will likely force you to change the way you make innovation and investment decisions.
Today, the focus is often on the desired business outcome: a new product or service to drive sales. A more efficient production process or faster service delivery to increase margins. We believe this goal will need to change to address how we can build digital trust from the start, not build it later.
Your decisions should take into account questions such as: who are your stakeholders and what are their reliability requirements? (Hint: KPMG survey reveals that most CEOs today think of purpose, not just profit.) What are your confidence metrics, such as the maturity of your privacy framework? And how do you measure them and turn them into a competitive advantage?
Developing what we call a digital trust compass will help you identify these trust drivers and anchor them in innovation processes. This creates a better alignment between stakeholder expectations, business needs and IT function deliverables.
2. Embrace “ trust by design ”
In response to the pandemic, many organizations have rushed to embrace digital solutions – without fully assessing them from a risk perspective. Today, many are working to close the gaps identified after implementation. This can have significant financial and reputational consequences, especially if they are forced to roll back changes or rebuild solutions from scratch.
When looking to accelerate innovation, it’s more effective to build trust by design into your approach to managing innovation early on, rather than relying on less agile governance policies. Trust by design means incorporating a risk-based approach to support rapid innovation, rather than simply focusing on general compliance with legal standards.
The first step is to understand the purpose of the application and its mission criticality, then to follow with a personalized mapping of controls with a specific risk profile. This approach leads to more fluid and efficient management of business and functional control monitoring, without compromising the safety and security of the application.
We recommend establishing a common understanding of end-to-end solutions and the complexity of different delivery models among stakeholders to guide innovation activities. You can also use Trust by Design to help manage the risks associated with empowering citizen developers, for example by facilitating easy-to-adopt guardrails and automating data governance.
3. Go from “ adapted to needs ” to “ adapted to governance ”
With the growing market potential of low-code / no-code platforms, we have seen an increase in the number of vendors offering technology solutions. When selecting emerging technologies, it’s important to check not only if a solution is working well, but also if it meets your reliability requirements across value and supply chains.
In our hyper-connected world, we rarely see more stand-alone technology solutions, but rather systems of systems interacting in real time. This forces organizations to monitor risk from an end-to-end perspective. Digital trust is not a static element, it is dynamic and constantly evolving, depending on the nature and context of your business. The ability to manage technology holistically can help you avoid potential ecosystem risks, while fostering stronger alliances based on shared governance principles.
4. Improve your organization
With technology fundamentally changing the operations of organizations, focusing on improving the skills of individual contributors is not enough to bridge the transformation gap. To innovate with agility, companies must find ways to increase the tide and upgrade the skills of everyone within their organization.
The democratization of technology is only a catalyst. To create value for your organization, you must also democratize the expertise of your staff.
This means creating opportunities for learning and knowledge sharing within your organization, such as creating communities of practice, facilitating hands-on experiences for your citizen developers, or providing integrated learning experiences so that your employees gain confidence in emerging technologies.
5. Foster a culture of agility
While it’s easy to commit to being agile, it’s much harder to foster a culture where agile innovation really thrives. To be successful, business leaders must be at the center of any cultural evolution. They must both lead by example and give their managers the tools and support necessary to foster agile innovation.
Start by adapting your own leadership approach. For example, learn to accept setbacks as part of the innovation process. It can be much easier said than done, but by giving your staff – and yourself – the freedom to fail, you’ll be able to foster a culture of fast-forwarding by failing.
Innovation with confidence
In the new reality, innovation is both an endless opportunity and an endless challenge. While the democratization of technology has the potential to accelerate digital transformation, executives know it could expose them to new risks as well.
The World Economic Forum was the first to bring the world’s attention to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the current period of unprecedented change driven by rapid technological advancements. Policies, standards and regulations have not been able to keep pace with innovation, creating a growing need to fill this gap.
The Forum established the Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Network in 2017 to ensure that new and emerging technologies will help – not harm – humanity in the future. Based in San Francisco, the network launched centers in China, India and Japan in 2018 and is quickly establishing locally managed affiliate centers in many countries around the world.
The global network works closely with partners from government, business, academia and civil society to co-design and pilot agile frameworks to govern new and emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), autonomous vehicles, blockchain, data policy, digital commerce, drones, Internet of Things (IoT), precision medicine and environmental innovations.
Learn more about the groundbreaking work that the Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution is doing to prepare us for the future.
Want to help us shape the Fourth Industrial Revolution? Contact us to find out how to become a member or partner.
Remember, your people are your biggest advantage. By rethinking your approach to innovation, embracing the principles of trust by design, making technology decisions that are not only fit for purpose but also fit for governance, and working to improve the skills of your entire organization. organization, you can foster a culture of agility and face the future. with confidence.