Tag Archives: application

Digital Transformation: Path to Improving Your Business

This is an open letter to businesses and agencies attempting to transform their enterprise through the use of digital technologies. Each organization is at a different point along this path in an effort to engage customers, suppliers, and employees through digital technologies in order to remain competitive and profitable. I would like to suggest some ways to accelerate that transformation.

New Technologies

Management consultants Bain and Company suggested in a recent article that there are six basic design rules that can accelerate a company’s digital transformation. These include breaking boundaries, being open, inducing insights, and being user-friendly. I would like to add a couple of others that I think will help move you down the road to your destination.

Internal Partnering

Many companies are reworking their internal and external processes to achieve efficiency and build a digital presence that will hopefully draw customers. Even my local hardware store and ice cream shop have websites. They are for the most part static pages with information like location, phone number and store hours but at least that keeps me from having to dust off the yellow pages. They have taken the first steps towards moving to a digital world.

Whether you are moving back-end infrastructure, applications and software to the cloud or experimenting with a web presence for the first time, it is important to partner with your technology department. As a business, you know WHAT you want to do but the employees in your information management department know HOW to do it. Partner with them at every turn to combine business knowledge and technical knowledge. I suggest you even consider embedding some technical people in your business. This is a great way for them to learn more about your needs so that they can custom design a solution for you. We used to worry about technology people “going native” if they were embedded in the business, but now I think that crossover is necessary and will result in better and more effective solutions.

External Partnering

One of the design rules from Bain is to focus on the user experience. What better way to do that than ask users themselves? Sometimes this requires getting out of the office and asking customers their opinion of a new mobile app or a change to your website or even a new digital product that you are considering. I will be the first to admit that traditional surveys leave me cold. Every time I get near the local Home Depot store my smart phone asks me to rate my recent visit. I never comply. If a business I frequent were to put a device in my hand and ask me to try out a new digital product I would be much more inclined to reply. There are different ways of partnering with and surveying customers, but it is important in order to design a user experience they will accept.

Thoughts

Wherever you are on the digital transformation continuum, I hope you will consider these ideas to make your journey smoother. They can help you in implementation and customer engagement. How is your digital transformation progressing? Let me know your thoughts.

Author Kelly BrownAbout Kelly Brown

Kelly Brown is an IT professional and assistant professor of practice for the UO Applied Information Management Master’s Degree Program. He writes about IT and business topics that keep him up at night.

The Ideal AIM Candidate

Cheerful interviewer shaking hand of an applicant in her officeAIM Applications

We are starting to see applications to the Applied Information Management (AIM) Master of Science Degree Program for Winter 2014. In reviewing them, it got me to thinking about what it is that I really look for in an AIM applicant and who will hopefully become a successful AIM student and graduate.

Resume

At the heart of it all, I am looking for a clear record of an applicant’s professional and academic history. There is no need to add extraneous or superfluous honors and activities if they do not support your core message. Less is more. If you can explain your history in a shorter format but still convey your message, fantastic; if you can find a fresh format, even better.

Transcripts

There is not a lot you can do about your transcripts at this point; they are what they are. BUT, if you did go through a period of distraction and failed grades during your undergraduate experience, please find a way to explain the situation. If you don’t offer any detail about that time period, then I will assume that you are OK with your record, but usually I am not. It could be a prediction of things to come.

Autobiography

Tell me about yourself and some of the choices and influences that brought you to where you are today. Tell me about some of the experiences that shaped your life. Sell me on your life story and why you are a good candidate for the AIM Program.

Statement of Purpose

Elaborate on your autobiography and tell me what it is you are looking for in life and how you expect the AIM Program to further your progress toward that goal. How can the AIM Program help you grow and develop to achieve your vision? Conversely, how can you help the AIM Program and the other students that you will be working with? What experiences do you bring to the program that will further the understanding of your fellow students and help enhance their experience? Finally, tell me about your experiences with distributed learning and distributed teams. If you do not have experience in these areas, tell me about your plan to succeed as a student in a distributed online learning environment.

Recommendations

Choose people that can speak to your skills and your potential to succeed in the AIM online graduate program. Choose people who may already be thinking about your next role, post graduation. Mentors are great because they know your strengths and weakness and hopefully realize your potential to succeed in the AIM Program as well as your potential to succeed and grow with your organization.

Thoughts

In short, we are looking for intelligent, hard-working individuals who have had some life successes already and who show promise for even greater success with help from the AIM Program. We are looking for individuals who are open to learning and open to helping others be successful in their learning.

If you are in the AIM Program or have graduated from the AIM Program, congratulations! If you are thinking about joining us, I look forward to meeting you soon.

 

Author Kelly BrownAbout Kelly Brown

Kelly Brown is an IT professional, adjunct faculty for the University of Oregon, and academic director of the UO Applied Information Management Master’s Degree Program. He writes about IT topics that keep him up at night.