Digitization without vision leads to abundance. And abundance is uncontrollable, since decision making gets near to impossible due to the complexity. That is why I focus on the concept of Simplicity in all my visions for digitization. Simplicity thus becomes the strategy to which you can link decisions over time. With the right strategy for Simplicity, you quickly embrace new technologies, new products and new ideas.
Simplicity versus Complexity
To understand Simplicity, you must first also understand Complexity because Simplicity is the opposite of Complexity. Complexity is, in fact, the byproduct of major and minor changes over the years without any real clean-up action having taken place. It could be technical debt, such as specific software that has not been wholly removed, or a result of habits of people or management.
Complexity is the variations that remain or become available within the range of products and services within a company. Compare it, for example, with the snack bar where you want to get fries. As soon as you step inside and see a vast palette of choices at the top, the complexity means that you have to make several choices that you could not have foreseen in advance. On the snack bar owner’s side, this complexity leads to higher costs because he has to keep stock for each product.
“A simplification strategy must also be treated as a business imperative—not a soft, “nice to have” virtue but a key contributor to bottom-line success.”Ron Ashkenas Harvard Business Review
What are the key elements of simplicity?
Some of the strategic elements of Simplicity are:
- Lower vendor lockin
- Faster adoption
- Higher velocity
I will explain a number of those strategic elements further below.
If you look at the speed of change, you can see that it has increased enormously in recent decades. Christian Kromme depicted it as in the image below. You can see that the Industrial Evolution took almost a hundred years to reach maturity, but that the social media revolution took about a decade.
And that is going faster and faster. What does that mean concerning for your organization to reach Simplicity? I find that relatively simple. Suppose you see that developments are reaching maturity quicker and faster. So when embracing these changes, try to make it simpler so that you can move forwards as an organization.
The simplicity of this environment ensures that you can enter the next phase faster and keep your competitive edge.
Simplicity provides a straightforward story. Clarity, even if you are going to make very complex decisions. If the lines you draw are simple in design, then the way is clear and transparent for everyone.
The more complicated something is, the more work it takes to maintain it. For example, a fuel car is more expensive to maintain during its lifecycle than an electric vehicle. That’s simply the result that a fuel car has more parts for the engine then an electric vehicle. And therefore, easier to understand.
If you agree to work together based on a standard strategy, it will be easier to maintain. If you have multiple standards, you will first have to coordinate how to bring this to a common understanding, after which you will have to carry various standards.
Simplicity ensures efficiency by focusing on a pragmatic approach, but in practice, it is easier said than done. Just look at the steps that must be taken within IT to integrate two companies after an acquisition.
Why is simplicity so important for digitization?
The challenge of digitization is that the IT domain’s innovation is moving so quickly that you have to exclude complexity. By applying Simplicity from the outset within the choices for products, processes, and frameworks, you can innovate without knowing the outcome. What you use will be outdated within a few years. In two years, you will take over your biggest competitor, and next year there will be another pandemic that will turn your business model upside down.
That is why you choose Simplicity to quickly dispose of what is outdated so that you can easily connect to a new system, or so that you can easily switch to a new business model without significantly affecting productivity well-being within your company.
Read on in my next article
In the next article “The Simplicity Mindset“, make sure that you read some of the steps your company must take to achieve Simplicity. If you would like to know earlier, book an appointment via email@example.com or call: 064 808 6196.