Elements of a digital core
Brian Devlin, Industry General Manager, TechnologyOne
A solid digital core is the underlying foundation of every successful digital transformation. Beyond the technology platform, a digital core encompasses the overarching mindset of an organisation and its people, including the existing and valued skill sets embedded in your team. When preparing for digital transformation, business leaders must first appreciate and accept the sweeping changes required to facilitate the process, which span across all areas of the organisation.
The technology platform that provides the basis for a digital core should support the full gamut of business functions within any property sector organisation including: financial management, supply chain management, human capital management, development management, facilities management, enterprise content management, as well as providing insights via business intelligence and reporting.
A truly integrated modern ERP SaaS solution spans that capability range while supporting the four underlying principles, providing the functionality to enable essential organisational change and deliver the accurate enterprise-wide visibility that today’s fast-paced business environment demands.
Siloed business functions that operate within discrete boundaries have no place in modern organisations, where an enterprise mindset recognises that each function is an interconnected part of the broader ecosystem with the common goal of delivering on customer expectations.
The move from a structure of siloed business functions to one that favours cross-functional teams forming and working toward the same end goal can be a difficult one. To be successful, organisations must adopt an agile mindset with change being outcome-based and affected at each level and across all business functions.
This mindset must be championed and driven from the top down, which means clear articulation of transformational strategies, objectives and advantages right at the outset. It must also be visible through the actions of business leaders actively signaling buy in to a new agile culture, continually emphasising organisational values and striving to engage and seek feedback from employees.
Platform for transformation
Transformation rarely happens overnight – development of a solid digital core should be viewed as a necessary initial foundational step in your transformational journey, not the entire evolutionary process. An enterprise platform must provide a stable core that offers room to scale, grow and build ways to continuously innovate.
An integrated SaaS ERP solution empowers that transformation by converting existing processes – such as procurement – into strategic and proactive operations, allowing existing organisation goals to be met while simultaneously offering scope for growth and innovation into the future. Utilising a modern SaaS platform means the same functionality should be available on any smart device, from anywhere at any time, providing the capability demanded in a mobile-first world.
Developing a solid digital core should be embraced as a vehicle for positive change, allowing for rigorous assessment of existing processes and practices. While you should pay homage to legacy, just because something worked in the past does not guarantee it should work like that in the future. The most successful organisations sponsor, drive and embrace a new mindset which mandates that only simplified, standardised and proven processes will be adopted and supported.
Developing a standardised data and reporting structure means accurate financial data is available in real-time, providing business leaders insights to drive the right action at the right time, drawing information from a single source of truth. As data is shared across other business functions, detailing precise numbers on things like operating costs and accurately forecasting both sales and revenue becomes a straightforward process.
Continual business efficiency gains
Digital transformation is not necessarily a process with a hard endpoint – it’s a pathway to constant improvement. A strong digital core can therefore be thought of as the evolutionary vehicle that propels your organisation toward an ethos of continuous innovation. The organisational adjustments that accompany successful implementation will continue to deliver positive change as efficiencies are gained, resilience is built and resources are freed up from expensive and cumbersome processes or areas of responsibility that serve to ‘keep the lights on’ rather than add measurable value.
Access to accurate information is essential in the development of ongoing plans. An integrated ERP SaaS solution features master data management that offers a single source of the truth supporting clean and standardised master data. Enterprise wide visibility of that data results in superior reporting and analytical capability, which improves organisational decision-making capability, as actionable insights can easily be extracted from accurate data sets.
Technology, people, process and data
Developing a digital core takes more than leaving legacy systems behind. While the underlying technology platform is crucial to the process, it must also support the necessary mindset, skillset and process changes required for an organisation to effectively digitise.
In complex industries like property, that means opting for an SaaS ERP solution that takes an enterprise approach to managing the entire development lifecycle, allows project owners to standardise processes, reduce cost and minimise risk.
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