Using Technology to Drive Innovation

Euan McCreath explains the ways in which software can be used to help drive innovation within organisations.

Core business applications are typically good at doing what they do best. In terms of adapting with the ever-changing world, however, they are slow moving. They will store the core customer record or perform monthly billing and invoicing calculations. They are the heartbeat of the business and must exist to support the day to day operations.

Innovation is unlikely to form from within this core but more likely around the edges of these software applications and via the people who have the greatest insight into the workings of the business.

Developing new initiatives firstly requires the ability to spot areas of opportunity. After an opportunity is conceived it will need to be tested and validated with internal and external stakeholders and the vision of the value of the idea will need to be shared and understood.

Technology can assist with a vision where it can be used and adapted quickly to show stakeholders what the future might look like without the need for IT involvement or an expensive design and build cycle.

It is likely that any new innovation will require new processes and new or existing teams having a hand in those processes. This may be a process that spans the organisation or is simply being trialled in one or two departments.

A platform for collaboration is needed and a platform that will allow you to quickly create the supporting processes and bring them to life. As new ideas are formed or as more detail is uncovered, the process should be able to adapt and grow, supporting new tasks, new data and new states. This can be done using advanced case management where you can define, execute and report on newly created processes which are bespoke to you.

A single solution piece of cloud software will not necessarily provide a platform for innovation. For example, ZenDesk will be great for delivering a siloed customer helpdesk but will be trickier to define a new bespoke process or solution without a great deal of effort.

The ability to quickly provide new user interfaces which can be embedded directly within existing applications or can display data from the core platforms within the new process is often very important to help show how integration should be achieved – and is best done through the use of standard APIs.

Of course, introducing another piece of software into an IT stack may at first seem to be a step which will add more clutter. To mitigate this assumption you should be able to integrate with a single-sign-on to existing applications, existing logins to other applications or directory services and therefore the benefits of the new innovation will be free to be displayed with little or no objections.

Technology which can react to new ideas – at the speed of thought – will enable a business to experiment, learn and grow without barriers. Learning is essential – being able to report on progress and how well an idea is performing will help communicate the vision to stakeholders.

An advanced case management platform which enables ideas through technology can be the source of innovation within an organisation. It can allow ideas to evolve and allow a business to stand out from the crowd.