Digital Transformation Strategies 101: Intro to Rapid-Cycle Innovation

Written By: Mikaela Gluck
August 25, 2020
3 min read

For businesses vying to stay competitive during times of unprecedented disruption, digital transformation is at the top of their priority list.

With the success of the entire organization at stake, IT leaders know that their approach needs to go beyond traditional digital transformation efforts and empower innovation in every corner of the company. With many IT departments already over-extended, this is no simple task.

The solution is a new approach to digital transformation that takes all aspects of the business into account – meet dual-track transformation.

Whereas traditional digital transformation strategies only consider large-scale efforts at an enterprise level, dual-track transformation incorporates a second track series of efforts that address the gaps left by traditional transformation.

This second track, also known as rapid-cycle innovation or innovation at the edge, is what can make all the difference to your business.

Defining Rapid-Cycle Innovation

The technology to automate processes and eliminate manual steps exist, but companies often overlook smaller business-level processes when implementing these technologies as part of their digital transformation. For many businesses, even after a grand-scale digital transformation, many day-to-day workflows and processes still rely on outdated systems and cost-inefficient manual labor.

We know that rapid-cycle innovation, when utilized in conjunction with enterprise-oriented efforts, has the ability to address these shortfalls in company’s digital transformation strategy — the question remaining is how.

Rapid-cycle innovation differs from your other digital transformation efforts in one essential aspect: it can happen with minimal burden on IT. Instead, it relies on a resource that your company probably didn’t even realize it had – business professionals turned citizen developers.

Rapid cycle innovation with citizen development empowers business professionals outside of IT to propose and create new applications that modernize existing workflows and processes.

By providing those closest to the work with the tools for innovation, the result is a comprehensive collection of automated workflows created by the people who know the work best. Their hands-on, day-to-day involvement with the processes gives them unique insights about which modernizations will yield the best outcomes.

Low-code application development platforms like Quickbase are a prime example of how citizen development can be implemented to achieve rapid-cycle innovation.

While enterprise-oriented digital transformation may be a multiple yearlong undertaking, change at the business processes level can happen quickly and efficiently in a matter of weeks, if not days – achieving quick and targeted wins for your business.

Meet Your Business Goals with Rapid-Cycle Innovation

Even beyond your digital transformation efforts, rapid-cycle innovation can directly contribute to achieving your business goals.

The numbers don’t lie. In a survey by Harvard Business Analytics Services, over 400 business and IT leaders rated the importance of rapid-cycle innovation to their business goals.

59% of respondents say rapid-cycle innovation can be “very important” to enhancing customer satisfaction, 53% see it as important for more effective use of enterprise data and analytics, and another 53% see it as a factor for improved product/service quality.1

1 “Drive Business Success with a Dual-Track Approach to Transformation,” Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, 2020

Written By: Mikaela Gluck

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