Mike Ellis, Managing Director of Finworks, discusses the value of collaboration and configuration when creating a digital transformation strategy
Implementing digital transformation is challenging. The aim is to enhance operations and improve outcomes for the service and service users. Successful system change requires the embedding of new digital ways of working in daily processes as well as connecting with other IT systems, partners or third parties. Supporting the delivery of strategic objectives for a government department goes above and beyond the supply of software and needs a collaborative approach. We believe that strategic digital transformation can be enabled by a platform that can be configured to adjust to changing workflow that gives control to administrators and away from the vendor. As a result, information that is presented to users can be changed without coding. Dashboards, exports and reporting is completely within user control.
Who are Finworks and what do they do?
Finworks is the Big Data and Workflow division of Fincore Group Limited. Fincore is a privately owned company in business for 25 years, serving the government, banks, industrials, and health and pharma sectors. Finworks provides two software products on a low code platform that have a low cost of entry and are delivered via a SaaS delivery model. Both the workflow platform and the data management platform can achieve strategic digital transformation.
Collaboration is key to a digital transformation strategy
Transparent communication is a key to any transformation project. Having a nominated team that includes technical and leadership staff from the software provider working with project managers, end-users and other government stakeholders has been shown to aid communication when implementing new systems. Collaboration goes above and beyond a well-functioning project team. Collaboration involves actively listening to a variety of civil service stakeholders, at all grades, supporting them through the process and communicating technical ideas and concepts to a non-technical audience.
A few key aspects that make collaboration successful include involving stakeholders in all phases of the project, sharing information including feedback/insights, communicating openly and clearly, and motivation to meet shared goals. Our experience in transformation projects is that collaboration leads to the multiplication of contributions. Shared goals and mutual support lead to greater success than isolated work and individual focus. The most senior stakeholders should have easy and open access to each other so that any issues or concerns are communicated early.
Agile methodologies highlight the value and benefits of collaboration, working with cross-functional teams to encourage communication between stakeholders and IT. The ability to respond quickly to issues is a critical part of Agile methodologies. Pairing an implementation plan with a set sprint schedule gives the ability to respond flexibly to development needs essential to completing project milestones.
What is configuration?
Configuration is simply defined as the makeup of a platform. Taking the definition further, to “configure software” means the ability for users to select options that make the program function to the user’s liking. However, there is an important distinction between personalisation and configuration. Configuration goes much further to allow platform building blocks to be created without coding. This is vital in transformation projects because instead of adapting processes or services to the software, instead it is configured to the “to-be” or ideal workflow. To meet legal and security requirements, underlying a highly configured platform should be a flexible permissions structure that allows actions by individuals, groups, and organisations to be controlled in a granular way. Taking it as a whole, a configurable platform allows users to create workflows to match the processes they need to meet the desired digital outcomes and build records with fields or attributes that can be based on paper forms, but which are now stored, audited and easily reportable.
How to take a strategic approach
Choosing vendors that understand the value of collaboration and configuration can be important to meeting strategic goals because they allow platforms to be used long term and maximise return on investment. Implicit in the concept of collaboration is reciprocity. As previously described, to meet immediate project goals, collaboration in cross-functional teams can support users and stakeholders through transformation implementation. More broadly, strategic goals can be met by understanding the underlying needs of users and how they interact with the platform. Incorporating enhancements to the existing product or new product features ensure that the platform will meet the needs of the client long term. The trust gained in completing a project through collaboration can allow further discovery exercises to see how the platform can be applied to other processes within the organisation to meet strategic objectives. If done correctly, the enhancements and new features will also make the product more appealing for all users.
Platforms that are based on the ability for configuration fit a strategic approach as they are well suited to absorb more than one process or service within a government department. Configuration is particularly powerful because it means that a proven platform with measurable value, a known quantity that is invariably checked by third party security and accessibility testing can be used to automate and digitise multiple workflows. Combining highly configurable platforms with other software in the digital ecosystem through interfaces allows data to be a valuable asset and data flows to be reliable and cost-effective.
How can you make transformation succeed?
There are key elements that lead to success in transformation projects which we have found through Finworks project work. To be successful, platforms need to be able to be interoperable and easily configured to add additional workflows or data sources to create greater efficiency and insight with agility and cost-effectiveness. Through transparent communication and including true collaboration, many transformation projects can gain and hold the confidence of users and stakeholders.
Successful digital products for government organisations are configurable by end-users, remain agile over time, boost communication and monitoring and allow transparent collaboration. By taking a strategic approach, platforms can be digitally integrated and drive value for more than one process or service. This enables standardisation and automation of key processes and high-quality digital outputs that can be changed without coding. Adding more workflows to an existing platform is much more cost-effective than using multiple systems that demand more administration and management time.
Finworks platforms allow users to discover insights from their data which help them to identify efficiencies, improve processes and automate workflows. Our powerful, easy to deploy software enables you to continuously gather, manage, question, and learn from all the data available to you, and make significant ongoing improvements as a result. Finworks is pleased to offer our workflow and data platforms to the public sector via G-cloud and RM6100 (TS3) frameworks.
Please note: This is a commercial profile
© 2019. This work is licensed under CC-BY-NC-ND.
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